I´m Here About The Room
"I'm Here About the Room"
by Blake Lockett
Daniel was standing in his driveway watering his flowers when he saw the car pull up beside him. A man emerged from it wearing sunglasses and a T-shirt with an unbuttoned collared shirt dangling over jeans.
'Hi David, I'm here about the room for rent', He said smiling.
'Oh sorry, Daniel, right.'
'It's cool man we talked on the phone for like five minutes, Eric right?'
'Yeah Eric Matthews.'
'Two first names, I like it', Daniel smiled, 'I'll give you the tour.'
Inside, in the hallway that opened up to the upstairs, living room and kitchen on either side, Daniel directed Eric around. Upstairs Daniel showed him his room.
'And this is yours.'
'Nothing much yet but I'm sure you'll make it your own. It was supposed to be reserved for a baby but, we got plenty of time for that.'
'Didn't I say? I'm engaged, Last moth,' Daniel smiled.
'Thanks man. Look to be honest, you be secure on your rent and we can all get along.'
'I'd rather not be a third wheel, but thanks.'
Daniel thought this guy was kind of a dick, but he let it go. He gave Daniel money up front, three weeks rent plus power and water deposits.
Eric heard people shuffling around downstairs in the early morning so he shifted himself up, lit a cigarette and opened up a window as per agreement.
Downstairs Daniel and wife Sara were making breakfast. Sara looked at her watch.
'I gotta go now or I'm gonna be stuck for an hour on the freeway.'
'K, by hon.'
Daniel kissed Sara quickly on the cheek and she made her way to the door.
Daniel turned around and saw Eric standing in the doorway.
'Morning', Daniel said with a chipper grin.
'Got somewhere to be?'
'No...not today. You?'
'Ah...I work at home.'
Daniel began clearing off his wife's plate in the sink.
'I'm not married yet remember?'
'Oh yeah, right.'
Eric looked around the house one more time and began to make his way to the door.
'I'm a writer...trying to write', Daniel said.
'Really?', Eric stopped, 'Got a book deal or anything?'
'Yeah. I got a friend in town, owns his own publishing company. I pitched an idea and there you go.'
'Just like that huh?' Eric smirked subtly.
'What about you?
'Antiques. I sell them online, online store. I do a couple of shifts down at this furniture store in-between.'
'Hey as long as the money's on the table you could be a trapeze artist for all I care man.'
Outside, on the lawn Eric smoked another cigarette. He looked across the street to the neighboring windows. Pristine lawns and double story houses lined the entire street. He new he'd moved in to a much better neighborhood then his previous endeavors.
He sat in his car for a moment. He was Intending to get some breakfast but he felt the pit of his stomach start to bubble up. He started to sweat. He started to clamor around the car until he'd found the last of it. A flask half full of whiskey in his glove box, a cliché, he thought to himself and drank. Sure, he had made up a few details about his life but he new this fucker didn't really care, it's not like he was the one making the money in the household anyway.
Eric heard a knock at his window.
'Hay man,' Daniel said 'wanna smoke some weed?'
Around the back of the house the two shared a joint.
'What's your book about?' Eric asked, breathing in.
'It's kind of hard to give a synopsis man.'
Eric tried to envision this guy with longer hair and a goatee which he would have obviously had in his youth before the suited woman came and straightened him out.
'If you had to give a plot outline then, try me man. I read.'
Daniel thought for a moment and puffed out some smoke rings.
'Ahh..It's really about this guy, kinda trapped in a box, and his...his dreams are gone, he's got cancer...so one day he bumps into a friend he hasn't seen in years and this guy's kinda just floating around off his parents money but...he's living you know...like really living, not tied down.'
'Okay. Sounds like a decent read.'
'There's a lot of subtext I can't explain in a synopsis man.'
'How'd you pitch it then?' Eric did that same smirk.
Daniel laughed, a bit of a morning high.
'Are you fucking with me man?'
'You're a funny guy man.'
Eric smirked again.
'How the fuck am I funny?'
Daniel started to crack up.
'I think we could get along man.'
At the liquor store, Eric made his way to the whisky bottles. He picked out two and a few packs of beer.
In the car he drank one of the beers, hoping someone would pull him over for no particular reason other then to see what would happen. Of course no one did.
Eric had always preferred his own company drinking. Drifting in and out of conscious thought and alcohol fueled obscurity.
Downstairs Daniel and Sara ate dinner over the kitchen counter, Chinese takeout, the usual.
'What's he like?' Sara asked about Eric.
'He's kind of a dick but, you know not so bad. It's just...'
Daniel lowered his voice.
'I think I saw him drinking...in the car, from like a flask.'
'Not really our business is it hon', Sara sighed as she cleared her plate into the trash.
'Well no but...should we really trust a guy like that?'
'Maybe it was mountain dew', She laughed.
Sara made her way around the table and held Daniel's shoulders.
'I wouldn't worry about it. As long as he pays his rent.'
Sara made her way up to their bedroom. Daniel sat for a moment. If only she new about his own past. By the time he'd met her he'd managed the art of stopping after one beer.
At around 3 AM Eric woke up in a sudden fit of sweat. His heart pounding in his chest. He had been having the same dream/nightmare for a few days now. One in which he was standing at a cliff edge. He'd stare down at the dry cliffs below he'd jump and feel the impact and see his own blood splatter on the rocks, then he'd wake up.
Eric reached for his cigarettes and lit one, leaning against the wall on his bed. He felt a sudden looming loneliness in his stomach like an invisible presence. He felt like he needed to go somewhere, to drive or something. But there was really nowhere to go at three o'clock in the morning. He reached for a half bottle of wild turkey and took a swig.
Eric heard a knocking on his door at about seven the next morning. Then a voice.
'Hey, Eric, just letting you know, Daniel made some breakfast for you if you're interested?'
Eric cleared his throat.
'No, thanks...ah Sara.'
There was a pause, then, 'Alright, no problem.'
Sara had honestly thought the guy was strange when he moved in but really didn't care that much. She wouldn't be the one who'd have to deal with him for all hours of the day. Though she didn't know the man was jobless, or self employed. She didn't realize Daniel would have to deal with this guy all day. She let it go. She had other shit to deal with.
'I gotta go', Sara said rushing for her car keys.
'Well hold on a minute. Is Eric coming down?'
'Ah..no I think he's still sleeping. See you tonight.'
Daniel walked into his study, sitting down he stared at his computer screen. He skimmed past his writing sighing to himself. It was so uninteresting he couldn't even make himself read it. It occurred to him he'd just delete the entire fucking thing. But he'd gone too far.
Eric made a call in his room. Drinking a can of Stella, smoking a cigarette out the side of the window.
'Yeah Nick? It's Eric.'
From the other end: 'Yeah what's up Eric?'
'I don't know if my sister already asked you about the job you're offering. I'd really appreciate if I could...ya know come in and talk to you about it.'
'Like I told Karen you gotta come in for an interview like everybody else with my boss, Eric. Sober.'
'What the fuck's that supposed to mean Nick?'
'You know what I mean, come on. You know you drink a lot.'
'Yeah? So? doesn't mean I'm gonna come in for a fucking interview drunk now does it Nick.'
'I just don't think this is a good place for you. Look, I'll talk to Karen about it. anyway I thought you had a job what happened...'
'Yeah I did have a fucking job Nick! I was fucking fired! I told Karen and I need another job, I have a damn liquor license I worked in a bar before now what's the problem?'
The line went dead.
Eric threw the phone across the room.
Eric got in his car and drove. He drove until about five in the evening. He stopped for gas and a six pack of beer, then kept driving. It occurred to him through the maze of roads about three hours in, that he was lost as fuck.
When night fell he was pretty drunk and the road became a hazy mass in front of him and his mind wandered all over it. He saw from his rearview mirror, the flashing of lights and thought 'fuck'. He stopped his car on the side of the dirt road he was driving down, probably halfway to nowhere town. The cop got out of his car, lights still beaming a blur of colors on top. The cop approached the car and tapped on the window. Eric rolled it down.
'Do you know why I stopped you?'
Eric paused and thought.
'You've been driving in the middle of the road for the past five minuets I've been behind you, sir.'
'Really? Shit I must be tired.'
Eric swallowed a nervous ball of spit, throat dry from alcohol.
'Have you had anything to drink?'
'You know it's against the law to lie to me?'
'Could you step out of the car please, sir?'
Eric thought to himself: 'How the fuck did I end up here?' He was in a holding cell. He was going to have to face some kind of judge in the next few weeks. He was going to have his license taken away. He was fucked.
A day later he was in the car with his bail out: His sister Karen. Karen didn't say much on the ride home and Eric didn't want to talk. About halfway back to his place she suddenly shouted right in his face.
'What the fuck Eric?!'
'Jesus. Keep your eyes on the road will you?'
She laughed in spite.
'Like you care about your safety asshole, like you care about anyone but your fucking self. Nick told me you shouted at him on the phone were you fucked up then too?'
She turned back to the road and shook her head.
'Look I'll get your money back to you and you can drop me the fuck here. I can walk the rest of the fucking way alright. I'm not a fucking child.'
'Really? You sure act like one! Fuck!'
She stopped the car. Eric sat for a moment then got out of the car, slamming the door behind him.
Eric knocked on the door. Daniel answered.
'Hey man. You look like shit', Daniel smiled.
'What the fuck happened?'
'I was in a car accident. Lost my door key.'
'Holy shit man, you okay?
Daniel looked genuinely concerned.
Eric started walking up the stairs.
'Yeah, I'm fine. Minor accident'
'Okay...hey, I'll get you another key ASAP alright?'
'You sure you're okay man?', Daniel called up the stairs to him.
Eric didn't answer. He closed his bedroom door behind him.
Up in his room Eric crashed on his bed. He stopped giving a fuck all of a sudden. 'Fuck her', he thought.
At five the next morning Eric had packed up his things into a small backpack he found in the wardrobe in the bedroom. He walked out into the morning just as the sun started to rise. He lit a cigarette and started walking down the road.
When Daniel woke up at around seven. He found a note on the kitchen table. Enclosed in it was the month's rent and the words:
'I'm moving on, thanks for letting me stay, Eric.'
Daniel walked out into the yard. The sun was well in the sky by that time. Sara followed him out in her suit, ready for work.
'What's up hon?'
'Nothing...Eric moved out.'
'Just like that?'
'Yeah, didn't even say goodbye, left a note.'
'He was kind of strange, I'm kinda relieved to be honest.'
'Yeah...yeah he was.'
Sara pulled out onto the road and waved a casual goodbye to Daniel. Daniel looked down his street for a moment, watched her car disappear. The lawns across the street all clean cut, almost perfect.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Blake Lockett.
Published on e-Stories.org on 07/27/2015.