Monday, October 04, 2010

Freak of the Week: Round 3

This week's edition is a throwback and a double-whammy.  I'm naming the girl who subletted my roommate, Patrick's, room last summer AND her crazy friend as the honorary Freaks of the Week.  Patrick found Jess, the subletter, on Craigslist.  Red Flag #1.  She needed to sublet a room for a month because she was taking a summer class.  She told Patrick and I that her name was Jess, but her Email Address, friends, family, and Facebook account all referred to her as Susan.  In an attempt to retain some level of tact, I've changed BOTH of her names.  But I will say that her two actual names were equally unrelated, meaning that, just like the names I've used here, the name she gave us could, in no way, be a nick-name for her real (?) name.  The fact that she gave us a fake name and made no attempts to hide it was Red Flag #2.

To say that Jess had a lot of weird traits was an understatement.  She barely spoke at all, and when she did, she whispered.  I would have to lean in close and ask her to repeat everything she said at least three times whenever she spoke to me. Also, she functioned only in the dark.  I literally never saw her turn a single light on.  She made food in the kitchen in the dark, used the bathroom in the dark.  I would come home and turn a lamp on in the living room and as soon as I left the room for five seconds she would switch it back off.  She also wore long flowy skirts or pants, long-sleeved shirts or sweatshirts, tennis shoes and hats every day.  And this was a HOT summer, pushing 100 degrees daily.  The kind of hot that makes you miserable.  I guess Jess liked it that way, because she made it her personal goal to ensure that our apartment was hotter than it was outdoors.  By the end of the first week of her stay, we were on par with the Amazon.  Our apartment didn't have Central Air, and the only form of A/C we had were window units in our bedrooms.  Patrick and I developed a useful strategy of keeping our bedroom doors open and blasting our respective A/C units to circulate air flow.  Jess didn't believe in such practices.  She kept the doors to Patrick's bedroom closed at all times.  The only time she ever left the apartment was to go to class, so during that time I would open the doors to Patrick's room and turn the A/C down from the 80 that she kept it on to 60.  I wasn't paying for her to have heat in the summertime.  Once she came home, she promptly locked herself up in Patrick's room...A/C set back to 80 and doors shut.  I learned to bask in the glory of those measily 3 hours she spent in class daily.

Every time I ventured into Patrick's room, coated in sweat and grasping for the A/C knob as I saw spots--delirious from being overheated, I found something new and alarming about the room's condition.  The first time I went in, I was in shock.  Food and clothes were everywhere.  The clothes I could forgive.  After all, my desk chair is dressed for the week and a pile of skirts basically serve as my comforter, so who am I to judge?  But the food?  Empty Capri Sun packets, noodle packages, and juice boxes strewn across every available inch of space from the floor to the desk.  Three of my bowls, empty, laying on the bed, cuddled by two full bottles of Cranberry juice.  Doesn't this girl believe in a fridge??  And, to top it all off, two bags of grapes rotting on the floor.  Random grapes had escaped from the bag and were scattered about.  Runaway grapes!  They were smushed and red grape juice stained the hardwood.  Apparently Jess spent her evenings trying to make wine.

One day, I noticed a pill bottle sitting on Patrick's desk.  Yes, I may have been a little too nosy, but if this girl had some sort of mental instability, I needed to know.  So I checked the label.  It read: Take one every four hours as needed for claustrophobia and anxiety on planes.  There was only one pill left.  How many planes had she been on?!  On another excurision into unknown territory I discovered that Patrick's mirror had been taken off the wall and placed face-down on the dresser.  It was around this time that I started forming my theories about Jess.  The clothes covering her entire body when she went out in the daylight.  The dark apartment.  The turned-over mirror.  It was all starting to add up all too well: she was a VAMPIRE.  It made sense to me now.  And, I'm not ashamed to admit, I was terrified for my life.

It only got worse from there.  On my quest for A/C the next day, I found a hand saw lying in the middle of the bedroom floor.  I couldn't sleep at all that night, as I was convinced that Jess was going to burst into my room and saw me to death.  I had made a secret call for help to Patrick from the bathroom, telling him about the vamp saw and how he had put me in a deathtrap.  His response?  I'm sure she just likes to  I told him that I was blaming him if I went missing in the middle of the night.

Jess only had one friend; a guy from her class who she never actually introduced me to. He called her Susan and came to the apartment anywhere between 3 and 5 times a day to cook her meals and serve them to her while she laid in Patrick's bed.  I wanted to ask her where I could get a friend like that.  One morning I was reading a magazine and eating cereal in a tank-top and underwear.  Yes, I was pants-less.  Jess was already gone and I assumed she was at class.  Suddenly, her friend came bursting through our front door without knocking.  I didn't even realize it was unlocked.  He awkwardly started asking me all kinds of questions about where she was, when she had left, what she was doing.  I had no idea, considering I had only heard two whispers out of her all week.  I gave quick answers, trying to get him out of there so that he wouldn't have the image of me pants-less burned into his memory.  Shifting his eyes down to my legs, he screamed, "Oh! Oh, sorry!  Sorry I didn't knock first!"  He walked back outside the door and shut it behind him.  I thought I was rid of him.  No, no.  Things couldn't have been THAT easy.  Then, he knocked on the door twice and let himself back into the apartment.  He did a Make-Up Knock!! It was the weirdest thing I've ever witnessed and I started laughing at the absurdity of it all.  He proceeded to bolt out of the apartment...for real this time.

Jess came home a little while later, and greeted me with a whisper: "Wash your hands, I'm sick."  Naturally, I couldn't hear her, so I thought she had said "Watch your pants," assuming that her friend had already briefed her on what happened.  I screamed, "I will not watch my pants!  You watch your friends!"  She looked baffled.  "I have mono," she whispered as she shut herself in Patrick's room.  When she finally emerged to get a snack, I heard a loud thud in the kitchen, followeed by "Cabinet's broke."  She scampered back into the bedroom and I went into the kitchen to inspect the damage.  One of the cabinets was open and hanging by one hinge--the screws had fallen on the counter.  What did she do, I thought.  Go for a ride?  Why was she swinging on my cabinet doors?  The metal front to the door of the dishwasher was also dangling.  I placed the toolkit my Grandpa (Poppy) had gotten me for Christmas on the counter so that she could fix the cabinet.  Of course she never did, and the next day I found myself balancing on a step-stool trying to adjust the bottom hinge on the cabinet door, dripping sweat and thinking about how I should invest in some garlic or Holy Water.  And if that didn't work, I could always buy a chainsaw, which everyone knows one-ups a hand saw.