It’s never easy the first night you sleep in a new place. The dust that irritates your throat, the smells that ache your head, the lights and shadows that terrify you. It’s especially not easy sleeping in a dumpster fire such as the one Chad found himself in.
But Chad was an adaptable guy. By the second or third night, he didn’t even really care.
With a paper bag under each arm, he returned from a trip to the store to replenish his beer, energy drinks, and protein bars. He was halfway to the elevator when he was greeted at the desk by none other than the blobfish guard, who was still watching the tractor-trailer parked in the lot.
He stopped. “What do you mean, roommate?”
Both eyes remained on the screen. “Told you you had a roommate. Roommate’s here.”
Chad didn’t even bother waiting for the elevator, but ran up the back stairs and threw his door open so hard it cracked the plaster when it hit the wall. He dropped both the bags on the floor and stormed in.
“Okay, whoever’s in here needs to get lost!” Chad screamed. He saw no one in the living room. He checked his bedroom, and then the spare. “I am going to—”
He stopped yelling when the greasy black-haired man standing in the middle of the room turned around.
Neither said anything for a moment.
“Oh God! I remember you! Uuugggggh!” Chad held his head and walked out and came back in. “Nope! We’re not living together. I’m calling the landlord—”
Mikhail stood as still as a post. Chad’s rage increased because there was no expression to wipe off Mikhail’s face. He paced back and forth like a fenced-in dog who can’t get at the mailman.
“You’re just as creepy and useless as I remember you! You probably can’t even lift one of my smallest dumbbells! You—”
“Your goatee isn’t doing you any favors.” Mikhail moved past him and into the kitchen.
Chad rubbed his chin and followed him out of the room. “Hey, what do you mean it’s not doing me any favors? My girlfriend likes it—”
Mikhail stopped in the middle of the room and faced him directly. “Do you suppose that if I had any inkling you were the roommate, I would have signed that lease?”
“If you didn’t have any ink, how did you sign the lease?” Chad asked suspiciously, scratching his head. “If you didn’t sign anything, then you’re trespassing. I’m going downstairs to call the guard—”
“Guard’s here, Mr. Chad.” They both looked to the door to see the security guard filling the doorway. “Got a noise complaint.”
They looked at each other and then back at her.
She trained one eye on Chad and one eye on Mikhail. “Landlord doesn’t like complaints.”
“Listen,” Chad said, stepping forward. “This guy is trespassing. I can’t help it if I get upset when I come home and find a guy who looks like a serial killer in my apartment.”
The guard turned both eyes to Mikhail.
“You know me.” Chad rolled up his sleeves and rubbed his biceps. “Can you please kick him out?”
The guard turned both eyes to Chad.
Mikhail pulled on his jacket. “If it’s such a problem, then I’ll leave.”
He put his head down and went to slip by the guard, but she put her arm out to block him. “Landlord doesn’t like lease-breakers.”
She turned around and shut the door behind her, leaving them to sort it out themselves.