“Where you going? A hotel?”
“Yeah. I moved out of my apartment.”
“I’m leaving town next week. I had a fight with my roommate, so I moved out.”
Shortly thereafter: “Recalculating. Turn left,” said the G.P.S., after leading us to a road that was closed due to construction. “Keep left. Keep right.”
“Shut up,” said the driver.
Soon enough there came a fork in the road. "Turn"—it paused, as if unsure of itself; I swear I heard an “uh—left.”
I hope that driver made it home.
This column was going to start this way:
Thanks for giving me the $14.50 for entrance to the Museum of Sex. It was money well spent. I especially enjoyed “The Sex Lives of Animals.” I really learned a lot about animal fucking. The bedbug exhibit, as you know, was of special interest to me. Did you know that the male bedbug—and so on.
Her impecunious son.
But instead I was (essentially) evicted from my apartment, and the money that I would have asked to borrow for entrance to the Museum of Sex had to be multiplied and then allocated toward hotel expenses.
I had been renting, since August, a hot room in a two-bedroom apartment in a building at One hundred and somethingth Street and Lenox Avenue, and when I told my roommate—now, finally, my ex-roommate—whom I’ll call Vince Chinchesteroides, that I would be moving out on May 13—well, he was sick that day with some supposedly tap-water-related stomach illness, so he didn’t say much about it. I was in the library, studying, and received a text, asking if I could bring him four lemons and some spring water, and, an hour or so later, I did.
If ignorance is bliss, Chinchesteroides has achieved nirvana. He has a simple life that revolves around bacon, protein powder, chat shows, workouts, and an endless series of telephone conversations. He attaches so little importance to worldly matters that he refuses, albeit always in a roundabout way, to reveal what he does for a living, although I managed to divine that he used to be a model.
In spite of his simpleness, he is a paradox: a homophobic homosexual. He even has the Spanish version of The Purpose Driven Life. (It should really be The Purpose-Driven Life. I guess editors are very lenient on spiritual mega-leaders.) Everyone on his bad side is “that faggot.” There was a time, when I first started loaning him money or paying rent early so he could do laundry or get his car fixed or pay a ticket for reckless driving, when it was all, “I got so lucky. I got so lucky. You the best roommate ever, etc.,” but it’s likely now that I’ve descended in his favor to “that faggot.”
A few days after I brought the lemons, when I gave him the rent, I mentioned that I would use my deposit to pay for my final week, so this would be the last payment. There followed a minor dispute wherein he asserted that I had always been paying for the week prior, and I maintained that, on the contrary, I, like everyone, had been paying for the time period forward, and used as evidence the fact that I had paid one week’s rent and another week for deposit on the day I moved in, to which he agreed and said, “Do you understand now?”
I announced I would get a calendar and show him, and we delayed further debate.
The debate resumed a few days later, but Chinchesteroides, not being a numbers man, was not persuaded by the calendar, and he soon enough cut short the discussion by making a dramatic departure to his bedroom, leaving me with a choice of paying rent for the week starting the day after I would be leaving (back to Colorado for the summer, by the way) or moving out on the instant.
I did what any self-respecting penniless author would do. I borrowed money. Then I enlisted my girlfriend to go online and find me a cheap hotel while I packed. And then I called for a ride.
My worldly possessions crowded the stoop. I was there too, waiting for the livery cab, talking on the phone with M., who was glad I hadn’t lost my temper and said, “Fuck you,” or engaged in ad hominem attacks. Over-muscled, volatile Chinchesteroides came strutting home after a quick trip to the grocery and paused in front of me.
“Yeah, I’m leaving now.”
“You got the keys?”
I proceeded to remove them from the chain. In his most soothing, concerned voice he said, “Alan you acting completely crazy right now.”
I proffered the keys, and, gentleman that I am, adjured him to “Get the fuck out of my face, man.”
“Oooh,” said Chinchesteroides, no longer concerned, “you don’t wanna go with me.”
Chinchesteroides is a very courteous person. He’s hard of hearing because he thinks his living room is a nightclub, and he spends his days with his ears connected, via those ubiquitous white headphones, to his iPhone. He always repeats things to make sure his listener hears him.
“Oooh, you don’t wanna go with me.”
He shook his squat owl head.
“Take the keys,” I commanded, “and go upstairs.”
His eyes turned white. A layer of film seemed to coat his eyeballs. I thought that only happened in horror movies. If anyone knows a good ophthalmologist…
“I’ll beat the shit out of you right now.”
“Take the keys,” I repeated, courteously, holding them toward him, “and go the fuck upstairs.” I’m not sure that’s proper usage, but we can’t all speak like grammarians.
As a courtesy, he added, “I’ll beat the shit out of you right now.”
He ascended the steps. As he fumbled with the lock on the front door, he muttered something like “punk-ass bitch,” which is not really something one wants to be called, but I let it slide—"All right, buddy," I said—because I knew it was just his way of thanking me for loaning him money so many, many times, and bringing him four lemons and a jug of Adirondacks spring water.
M. said, later, “I think he’s sad that you’re leaving and he just doesn’t know how to express that.”
Anyway, that’s how I’m able to report that Room 317 in the Ramada Plaza & Hotel outside of Newark, New Jersey ($45 a night through Hotels.com! Or the cost of three tickets to the Museum of Sex! My room had a stunning prison view!), does not (did not, during the four nights I stayed there) have bedbugs.