The Roommate (w/ Ghosty)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Clirkus, Apr 5, 2015.

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  1. It had been a long three months, full of unwanted change, financial hardship, and burnt toast. Unwanted change in the form of two prospective housemates moving in only to move out again within a matter of weeks. Financial hardship in the form of late rent and utilities without enough of a paycheck leftover even for groceries. Burnt toast was just icing on the cake, wasting what little sustenance remained in the pantry and simultaneously setting off the ancient fire alarm which could only be shut off by calling 911. And there was the new girl. Moved in and stayed five weeks so far, a record. That was all right then, it meant split rent and so far she hadn't been too noisy or messy. Life seemed to be taking a break from screwing with Eli Strong, or so he thought.

    It was right about 3:34 AM, and within the decrepit kitchen Eli was cooking up a storm. Not a literal storm, of course, because that would mean he had absurd weather-bending powers and if he had weather-bending powers he surely wouldn't be living in this crapshoot apartment now would he? As a slab of ground beef sizzled deliciously in the frying pan, he hummed a simple made-up tune and tapped his foot to an imaginary beat. If only he had a few potatoes left he could have made some killer french fries to go along with the burger-in-process. It had been a stroke of luck finding ground beef on sale last week. Nothing short of a miracle.

    His giddiness over the meal was only accentuated by the fact that he hadn't had a proper night's sleep in about four days. Creativity kept him awake and he could only afford himself a short nap between pots of coffee, forgetting to eat altogether. This was the breaking point. He was starving and there was red meat in the freezer, God help him if he couldn't resist making a half-pound burger stuffed with cheese and whatever seasonings he could scrounge up in the cupboards. The heady aroma filled his nostrils and overwhelmed his strung-out mind. The hum escalated to a few sung notes to belting out the chorus of 'American Idiot' at the top of his lungs, flipping the contents of the pan and adjusting the touchy gas stove to keep it from burning. Stepping back from the counter he spun around in what could only be improvised dancing. His long tangled hair whipped across his face as he switched songs mid-verse from Green Day to Fit For Rivals: "One last time and one good story. Screamhallelujah! Screamhallelujah! … theeeeere's just noeasywayoooooout…"

    3:41 AM but he was oblivious. What was time but a mere human construct anyway? Another rule to follow. Screw it, he was hungry. His voice echoed around the bare brick walls of the kitchen/living area. The acoustics were too good to resist, it was the one redeeming quality of this poorhouse. Holy Mumford and Sons it was almost ready. There were two thick slabs of bread all ready and dressed with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mustard, just waiting to embrace that precious patty. Eli whimpered, impatiently testing the rare-cooked burger with a fork to be sure it was as done as legally possible. Still pink inside. Yes. It was perfect.

    He shut the stove off and lopped the patty onto the makeshift bun. A beautiful curl of steam rose from the glistening browned surface and Eli nearly fainted. His shrunken stomach growled angrily, demanding him to eat in one bite that which had already been designated for slow, bit by bit consumption, so as to savor all flavor. Honestly, eating was such a bother. Proper food took so long to prepare, and once it's finished it's too quickly gone. He had to make it last as long as possible.

    He picked up the plate. He turned toward the ancient wooden dinner table, ready to sit and feast. His shaking hand slipped. The corner of the plate cracked against the edge of the stove. The sacred burger slid dangerously close to the edge, and Eli Strong watched helplessly as it tipped over the side in slow-motion, flying apart in midair, and crashed to the floor with a sickening splat.

    "Oh. Oh God…" he stood in shock. Then slowly knelt to more closely examine the damage. The ancient cracked and dirty tile was not promising. The fixings were everywhere, and the patty itself lay like a soldier shot down on the field of battle, such was the level of tragedy Eli was experiencing at that very moment. "Oh God why? Why me?" Tears streamed down his cheeks. It was gone. Ruined. All his effort wasted. And two more slices of bread. Was he sure he couldn't eat it? Had he stooped to that level of desperation? Surely a bit of dirt wouldn't kill him, or mar the taste too badly. But he continued to simply stare through blurred vision. It was the only thing in the world he wanted right now, and by a cruel twist of fate had been snatched away. What was to be done? He wasn't sure he would feel this distraught if his mother had died, and that thought immediately made him feel worse. Oh God, why?
  2. The last five weeks were... well, they were uneventful to say the least. Lucille had moved in her belongings as soon as her roommate gave the okay and she spent no time dawdling in the apartment afterwards. Actually, if she were being honest with herself, she hadn't spent much time in her new place at all. She was usually out applying for jobs or torturing herself by hanging out with the very few--financially stable may she add--friends that actually lived in this dreary old town as well. She hadn't really conversed with her roommate, other than the brief introduction when she moved in, and he didn't really make any indication that he wanted a conversation to be struck up, which was fine with Lucille. He was quite strange (not that she had something against strange people) and had peculiar mannerisms that Lucille had yet to get used to when she was hanging around the apartment. One said mannerism seemed to be his inability to sleep on the weekdays; the young girl didn't know if he was an insomniac or he just couldn't get to sleep, but it was very bothersome when the male decided to blast his music at... What time was it?

    Lucille groaned, the pillow that had been pressed over her face an hour ago had slipped off and now resided on the cold, wooden floor. She flipped over in her large bed, lazily reaching towards her bedside table to turn the alarm clock she had bought her first week here.

    3:43 A.M.

    Another groan escaped her lips as the muffled music below reached her ears and the smell of burnt meat tickled her nostrils. Whatever her roommate was doing downstairs, it was not acceptable at three in the freaking morning. Lucille was a very calm girl, she usually let little disturbances, such as this, slide, but this sort of behavior had become a regular occurrence and sooner or later she too would become an insomniac. With that, the girl pushed herself out of bed and stomped down the spiral staircase that would lead her right in the middle of the kitchen. She had been so upset, that she hadn't really bothered to throw on a pair of socks, which was something that was necessary to wear if you wanted to walk around the apartment. The floor was either dirty or cold, never both, but socks eliminated both discrepancies. Upon entering the kitchen/dining room area, Lucille was awake enough to realize what exactly had happened between the time she left her bed and now. It seemed, no, it was evident that her roommate had dropped the only thing that was worth eating in their pantry. She suddenly felt guilty for coming down here ready to rip him a new one.

    She cautiously entered the dining room, clearing her throat so she could catch the attention of her roommate. The crime scene was horrendous; patty meat all across the floor, two slices of bread lying sadly upon one another, and... oh no, was he... crying? Now Lucille felt about ten times worse, all thoughts of putting her foot down were out the window. "Here," she finally spoke up, quickly walking over to one of the crappy dining chairs where her purse had been hanging up. Usually, she kept her personal objects that held all of her money in her room, but since she had no money she just left the artifact in the kitchen when she got home. She rummaged through the explosion of chapsticks and gum wrappers until she felt her wallet between her fingers, pulling it out she spoke again, "I know we don't have much so let me buy us a pizza. It won't be a good pizza because good pizza isn't cheap, but it'll be something." She pulled out her last ten dollar bill, the one she had been saving for a few days now, and set it on the table while she dived back into her purse in hopes her pre-paid cell phone was in there somewhere.

    "And hey, if we don't finish it we can save the leftovers," she hated when people cried, it always made her cringe and she wasn't a very empathetic person to begin with so she had no idea what to do when someone cried. She opened up her cell phone once it was found, knitting her eyebrows together when she read the message on her screen. It seemed she only had two days left of service before she needed to pay the new month's bill. "Damn." Lucille dialed the number of the pizza parlor that was just a few blocks down and sighed in relief when a boy answered on the third ring. It was her lucky night, the same couldn't be said for her roommate though. "Eli?" she questioned, "What do you want on the pizza?" She willed him to stop crying at this point, she felt very awkward (not like that was a new feeling though). The boy on the other line was getting impatient, most likely because of the time and the other things he could be doing right now, like sleeping, "Just hold on."
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  3. "I don't…well, anything really. Except pepperoni. And no anchovies. But yeah anything's fine. Mushrooms are good." Eli pulled himself off the floor, discreetly swiping his sleeve over his face and hoping she hadn't seen him cry, though chances of that were slim. He cleared his throat, composing himself, and began picking up the sad pieces of hamburger off the floor, mournfully tossing them in the trash. The waste… he almost couldn't' bear it. "You don't have to order a pizza," he added, "I'm not that hungry anyway." The lie only seemed to make the knot in his stomach worse. He poured himself a glass of water and downed the whole thing, hoping it would ease his appetite. Three days till Friday and his paycheck. He could last three days right? He was pretty sure, though it might have been easier if he weren't so skinny. Once a starving body had eaten up all the fat, it started eating your muscle tissue. So strange, almost like cannibalism of the self. Starvation makes your body eat itself until there's nothing left, and you're one of those little African kids in the poverty ads, skin and bones and hollow eyes...

    He shook the image from his head. If worst came to worst he knew a bakery that gave away most of its day-old bread and pastries. They knew him too, conveniently. Still.

    He glanced over at the girl ordering the pizza. What was her name again? Lucy? No that wasn't right… He dragged his sorry self over to the table and sat down, resting his chin on his arms like a sad puppy. He sorta felt bad, he knew she didn't have a lot of money. Stupid burger had to go all kamikaze on him and it was, what, 4 AM? Was the pizza place even open?

    Once she'd placed the order he was quick to apologize. "Look, sorry, you didn't have to do that. I'll uh, make it up to you. We should get dinner sometime." Wait, he didn't mean it to sound like that. "I mean, ah, I'll buy you a meal, doesn't have to be dinner…" Yes that was so much better. Idiot. The last thing he needed was his housemate to think he had a thing for her. Awkward. Not like she wasn't pretty, just not his type exactly, or something. It would be weird.

    Burying his sleep-deprived face in his hands, he sighed, rubbing his eyes. Everything caught up to him and at once he was desperately hungry, exhausted, and stretched so far he thought he might snap. Thank God though, that she went ahead and got them pizza.
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