Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Legacy of Mr. Horrible, Part 1

(Note: Those of you who have read my other blogs may have heard parts of this story already. I promise I will have new ones up as well, plus any older stories will have new things in them. Like extras on a DVD. Except with reading.)

The apartment I currently live in has had it's share of problems; if you want to dry your hair you have to turn everything off, the bathtub is perpetually clogged, the whole thing is slanted at a 45 degree angle, etc.

But the very worst thing was Mr. Horrible, and the things that happened because of Mr. Horrible.

It was winter, I know because I had put some trash bags in the back porch area to be taken out once I was fully protected by one hundred layers of winter clothing.
I then got distracted by something (probably tv) and forgot about the trash.

A few days later I was headed out the back door and paused in my doorway to wait for the motion sensing light to click on.
When it did, a monstorous blob ran furiously in a circle, close to my feet and then through the newly made hole in the bottom of the staircase.

I screamed like I scream, which is not really a scream. It's too deep in register and it's more of a "Huuuuglah!".

This alerted the gay neighbor (or gaybor) who came rushing down the stairs to see if I was okay.
I told him that I had seen a rat but it was gone now and I was fine even though it had sounded like I was being stabbed. He not so subtly implied that the rat had come in to feast on the trash bags that had been in the back area for far too long.

I looked at the trash mess the rat had made and noted that he seemed to be eating through all of the Dunkin Donut coffee cups that had spilled about.

I assured the gaybor that I was taking the trash out now and I would call the landlord about the rat.

This presented a new problem, actually making a phone call. For whatever reason, making a call is an anxiety-ridden experience for me. I have been told this is a common problem for people with any variety of anxiety disorder. That does not make it any easier for me. Even thinking about it right now makes my stomach do back flips and feel like something is crawling under my skin.

Answering the phone is no easier. I usually let it ring several times before I work up the nerve to answer.
Even if I know you and love you, picking up the phone to talk to you is terrifying for me.
I mean, what if it's not you?
What if someone else is trying to reach me from your phone for a totally legitimate reason and when I finally pick up the phone it's not your voice, and I become totally disoriented and wonder if something is wrong with my ability to see what the phone screen says? Then I'll spend the first portion of this conversation not listening while I try to figure out what went wrong in my brain, and completely miss the fact that it's an emergency and that's why someone else is calling from your phone.

I did not call the landlord.

I avoided leaving through the back for a few days.
Then one night the roommate and I heard a noise, somewhere in our walls.
The terror of the noise beat the terror of a phone call and I called the landlord and told him the story of the back porch.

He was very sympathetic and sent someone over to deal with it.

The solution?
Boarding up the hole in the staircase.

A while later (maybe a week) I was cleaning the apartment and went under the kitchen sink to grab something, only to discover that under the sink had been converted into a classy rat apartment.

He had a whole set-up; bed, bathroom area, a make-shift staircase (an old dish rack) that led up to a drawer that held miscellaneous cooking utensils (balcony?).

Everything was covered with muck and grime. I could not deal with it at the moment because the thought of touching anything under there made me want to die. I informed the roomate of the rat penthouse, and we assumed, since the rat had been 'dealt with', that the undersink apartment was vacant.

This also explained the several overturned cups of coffee we had found in past weeks. Apparently the rat had been surviving on coffee alone.

It wasn't until late one night, as we were sitting in the kitchen chatting about our days that we heard it.
The distinct sound of something heavy dragging itself over the hole in the wall and the sickening plop of it finding the ground inside the cabinet. Silence. We sat frozen, mouths agape.
Then the sound of the same heavy thing dragging itself back through the wall, it's belly catching and scraping on the bottom part of the wall hole.

We stared at each other, horrified.
The landlord wouldn't be in til morning.

To deal with this trauma, we did what we always do. We made jokes about our rat tenant.
We named him Mr. Horrible and decided he looked like this:

But really, we knew he looked like this:

While we were at work the next day, the rat police came and evicted Mr. Horrible by repairing the hole he had made in the wall. We were assured traps of some kind had been set (Poison? Actual traps? They didn't say).

The noises in the wall soon became worse.
Mr. Horrible was trapped within our home and all exits had been cut off. Whatever means the rat police thought would kill him were powerless against him.

He tried escaping many different ways, the roommate noticed part of her closet wall where she often heard rat thrashings had been pushed out.
The wall on the other side of the rat penthouse had been pushed out as well.
The other side was in the bathroom, between the sink and the bathtub.

None of these holes were big enough for Mr. Horrible to escape through, but the noises he made were absolutely terrifying. I kept having nightmares that he was going to push through the wall and climb on my bed while I was sleeping.

Then one day the noises stopped. There was a strange smell.
We assumed that Mr. Horrible had died and that everything would go back to normal.

We were wrong.

To Be Continued...

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