Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fish and Guests

"I think I owe you an apology. I think I forgot to flush yesterday. I'm sorry, I was just getting a ton of phone calls."
This was an actual sentence I heard from my houseguest this morning. I just stared at him. I didn't know where to begin; his sentence implied cause and effect.
Namely, due to his phone calls, he failed to flush a toilet.

Three weeks ago: we get a call from said guest. I'll call him William to protect the innocent. William called us because he needed a place to stay for a couple of days. He was moving back to the city and needed a temporary base of operations to find a place.
William is a good guy, but he's weird.
Trustworthy to a fault, and a great guy to have on your side.
But weird.
The police have mistaken him for homeless on more than one occasion, in more than one state. This is a reasonable assumption. William is a pack rat; he accumulates bicycles, owning three in Chicago pieced together from five found discarded in the trash. He is the man from Cormac McCarthy's The Road, living in a post-apocalyptic ruin where one must scavenge to survive. He creeps through alleys, picking through dumpsters for things of worth.
Let me stress again, he's weird. Not homeless.
My wife is going to be out of town the time he would need to stay with us. She tells him I'd be ok with it.
I love my wife.
Poor Richard said, "Fish and visitors smell in three days." Three days would have been perfect. Day 6 is a little strained.
Here's the adventures in weirdness thus far.
First night's pretty normal; he gets in late but not too late, I tell him he's welcome to the guest room. He says great, and falls asleep on the couch without sheets. This is funny more than horrifying to me, as it will horrify my wife when I tell her. Andrea's got a thing about people sleeping on the couch, regardless of who it is. So weird episode 1 is sort of a wash for me - it was entertaining.

Episode 2: he leaves for work the second day after taking a shower. I go into the bathroom, and toilet paper is caked to the bottom of the shower stall. Lots of it. I can only speculate. Did he dry off with the toilet paper? Did one of the cats unroll part of it and drag it into the shower? Did, God help me, he wash it off of his body and if so where was it on his body?! WHY WAS THERE SO MUCH OF IT IN THERE???? I'm too afraid to ever ask because it would be like reading the Book of the Dead: the knowledge would drive me mad. This is the second day he is at my house, and I chalk it up as a fluke.

Episode 3: the same evening he's home early, and offers to buy dinner. Sure thing! We order some Thai food. He falls asleep sitting up while eating dinner. In any other one of my friends this would be remarkable. After episode #2, this is minor league shit.

Episode 4: his phone rings at 6 AM. It's not the Macarena, but that's the song that gets stuck in my head. It rings again, ten minutes later. I should have put it together that he was using it for an alarm and it wasn't someone calling him at that hour, but it was 6 o'clock in the fucking morning and I wasn't thinking clearly. This one isn't so much weird, as just a visitor smell.

Episode 5: I get ready for bed, and lift the toilet lid to void my bladder. The smell punches me in the face, and the sight is like all of the shock-sites on the web combined. Tub-girl meets meets lemonparty meets meatspin. The stew that is floating in my toilet bowl immediately conjures an image of the asshole that poured it out (that's the only way this came into being - pouring) and it's one sick asshole. I can only assume he was eating beets and asparagus the day prior. The smell escapes like demons from Pandora's box and permeates the entire second floor. I'm surprised the carbon monoxide detector doesn't go off. I fall asleep/lose consciousness in a melange of Oust! and William Stew, neither quite overpowering the other. Anti-aromatherapy. This was day 4. Poor Richard giggled in my head.

Episode 5: as I lay unconcious from the fumes, William calls at 11 PM to let me know he's coming home, in case I was worried. He leaves a voicemail message where he suddenly realizes calling this late might be waking me up, and apologizes. This causes my phone to ring its voicemail chime, but I'm as good as chloroformed.

Episode 6: Day 5, 6 AM. His phone starts playing the not-Macarena that gets the Macarena stuck in my head (heyyy, macarena!), Ace of Bass just ruining any chance of having a tolerable day. It shuts off, and plays again ten minutes later. The youngest cat, Vlad, decides it's play-time and people are getting up, and begins playing with his noisiest toy. I'm consoled that this was five feet from William's head. I realize today his phone is his alarm, and later in the morning ask him to turn it off.

This brings us back to the beginning.
"I think I owe you an apology. I think I forgot to flush yesterday. I'm sorry, I was just getting a ton of phone calls."

I gibbered, and fled my house before the workers arrived.

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