White designer shoes, faded blue jeans, a grey hoody with an Adidas logo on the front came running down the sidewalk with a book bag being dragged from behind. How did I know this? I didn’t. I was told it by the individual who was wearing it in the next five minutes. It was around eight o’clock in the evening. Half of the small town and campus was already closed. This kid turned the corner and came rushing towards the bookstore hoping that it would still be open. He had about a twenty second window to lose the three big guys who were chasing him. He ran to the front door and attempted to open the door but it was clocked. The sign said “closed at 7 PM.” The boy panicked. He looked upstairs to the apartments that looked abandoned. He quickly tried the first door that was locked and then went to the other door. It was locked as well but with some force he managed to open the door and quickly ran up the steps. Here is where I come in.
The boy in the Adidas hoody hurried upstairs and opened the wooded front door. He took a step in and shut the door putting his back against the door. He was then stared at by another man. The man was sitting at a small table eating a bowl of soup with an open book and a lamp on.
“I don’t know you”
“Uh… I’m Charlie.”
“Well Charlie you are in my home and I did not invite you in. So we have an issue. Why are you here?”
“I’m being chased by three guys.”
“Obviously. What’s to stop me from telling them you’re up here? If you can’t tell they are still down there looking around for you. I can hear them.”
“You wouldn’t do that.”
“Is that a challenge?”
“You would do that. Why?”
“Why not? I don’t know you. For all I know you’re a thief who stole some old ladies purse.”
“I am not.”
“Then what’s your story?”
Charlie, the boy in the Adidas hoody, was a freshman in college who was in his first semester. A month had gone by in school and he wasn’t getting along with his roommate very well but he couldn’t get switched. This weekend he told his roommate that he was going home and wouldn’t be back until Monday but he missed the bus back to his house. His roommate was spoiled rich and had all the connections he wanted. What Charlie didn’t know was that his roommate was also selling drugs. This weekend he had put together a deal in his room to make some cash that he desperately needed without having to go to his parents. When Charlie walked into the room it scared off the students from another college and they took off with their money. Charlie being responsible for the broken deal was soon chased out of his room and off campus until he ended up in the apartment above the bookstore.
“How are you living here? It looks deserted from outside.”
“Well if it didn’t, then someone would be coming to collect rent.”
“You don’t pay rent? Why not?”
“Is that really a question? Nobody wants to pay rent.”
“But what about heat, or water, or electricity? How does someone not notice these things?”
“Oh they do. The heat, water, and electricity are all connected with the bookstore. It took a while for someone to realize that the bill was higher than it was supposed to be. Three months and ten days to be exact.”
“And they don’t charge you?”
“Well the lady that figured it out was also having an affair with a grad student.”
“So you black mailed her?”
“I did no such thing! I simply stated I would not mention these things if she overlooked and did not mention other things. She didn’t have a problem with that.”
“And she’s the only one?”
“God I hope so. Or else I’d have to find dirt on someone else to blackmail, but don’t worry I’m already working on it.”
“You’re insane aren’t you?”
The man in the bookstore told Charlie his name was Marcus. He would not go into great details but the look of his apartment looked as if he had been there for a while. Dishes put away, laundry bin of dirty clothes, and lots and lots of paper put all over the walls. The apartment had three rooms and a small area that had Marcus’ table and space for the kitchen sink. One room was used as a bedroom; another was used as an office as the other just had a few boxes and some full garbage bags. His bedroom had a mattress on the ground and a clock and a book on a box and a dresser with two drawers missing. His office had a desk with some scratches on but he had a laptop and printer sitting on top of it with a full stack of books on the shelves. In that room he also had a two person couch against the wall with a brown coffee table. There was a hallway with shelves on it that had Marcus’ food and dishes. The kitchen area was a kitchen sink, a small foldout table, and one chair. Marcus did not give a tour of the place but Charlie asked if he could stay the night anyways.
“Do you snore?”
“I’ll make you a deal. If you take out the trash and go buy us from pizza from Pizza Hut, and clean the bathroom I’ll give you a week.”
“A week?” Charlie paused to think about it. He wasn’t sure what his roommate would do to him but he hadn’t exactly thought the whole thing through. He could probably stay the weekend and figure it out by then. Charlie nodded his head in agreement. Charlie walked to the room where he saw a garbage bag. There were three bags that he picked up and started walking towards the door he had entered.
“Wait. Wait. You can’t go out those doors until it gets darker. I don’t feel like drawing any attention.”
“There’s a backdoor up here?”
“There’s a fire escape and there’s a window to the roof. The fire escape will activate an alarm. Do not use it.”
“How am I supposed to get the pizza up here then?”