This Is Fiction I Swear: Part 5

Part 5: Look Out! Monsters!

Hide! Monsters!

There’s knocking at the door. I’ve been ignoring it for almost ten minutes, and so has Angelica because she’s here with me. We’re in the back, in the kitchen sitting against cabinets whispering so my landlord can’t hear us. He’s here because he says I haven’t paid this month’s rent and it’s past the ten day grace period. He’s right, but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t have it.

Angelica is asking what did I do with the money? Shouldn’t I have enough? But ever since my last roommate moved across the country to go to school I’ve had to pay the whole thing myself and I barely make it. I often think about getting another one but I know I would hate whoever moved in. I’m serious I would hate them. We get quiet, and I can see the sun shining strong out the back porch window. I wish it would rain. Maybe if it rained he’d give up and go home, but Angelica says he’s not going to leave so I look at her and we’re thinking the same thing.

We know we have to be quiet or he’ll come after us in his truck and catch up to us because we’ll be on foot. We’ve got to be careful. Three. Two. One. We’re out the back door, across the yard, and up over the back fence. No time to unlock the gate because he’d see us from the front. Down the alley with our feet pounding the pavement we turn left at the first break and head south like it’ll save us. Like it’s redemption or freedom or something. People look at us as we dash by and it’s not until we get to 24th Street that we realize we don’t know where we’re going.

Eventually when it’s safe I begin to walk home. Angelica took the bus because she has class later so I’m going solo, and that’s when I see you. You’re walking, too, but you’re not walking alone. You’re with someone and she’s beautiful. She’s beautiful! Tawny skin and dark eyes and hair like cobalt cut to medium length, but not the boring-type medium length, the fierce kind of medium length that says I have my shit together. And she’s beautiful. And I can’t breathe. Everything is in super-high definition for a second and I’m praying praying praying that you don’t look over here. Don’t look over here. You don’t, but she does. She doesn’t say anything, though, because she doesn’t know me, doesn’t know what I look like or who I am or what we had at one point. The only thing she knows is how to iron a blouse and wear tights without holes in them. From what I can tell, at least.

You round the corner on the other side of the street, and the world comes back into normal focus. There are sounds again, and the colors aren’t so bright. I have a sickness—that must be it. I’m feeling pretty raw for a few blocks, like someone just asked me what my insides looked like and so I turned myself inside-out to show them. Like this. What did you expect?

But then I remember I have bigger problems to deal with, and sure enough when I’m back home there’s an eviction notice taped to the door. I wonder if my upstairs neighbors have seen it. They’d be cool about it because they’re middle-aged anarcho-syndicalists (whatever that means) who have probably squatted in more buildings during their lifetime than I have years to mine, but I still don’t want them to know. I rip the notice off my door leaving the tape marks behind and go inside to make some calls.

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