Things I Sometimes Do: Real Estate Venture
Eric Lloyd Blix
Nobody ever listens 2 me, says Flowerpower420. Landlords chat in this chat room. It is a landlord support group, it seems. They go online to support each other as individuals. They share professional interests. They presume to understand each other.
My building has poor reviews. I did not do my due diligence before moving in, and so retroactively research my apartment building online. I read reviews. I observe the testimony of staff and former and current residents. Place has baby cockroaches, says anonymous. Not full-size. Baby ones. They eat the butter off my fancy bread. My kaiser rolls.
I ignore the mess of clothing and used bowls around my feet. The carpet smells like grandma's cigarettes did. I'd write this in a review. I’d write, The carpet smells like cigarettes that were smoked 60 years ago and now so do my clothes.
Flowerpower420 says, the maintenance man sez he saw a cat in #102. the place will stink like cat shit. that shit will get stuck in the carpet. steaming the carpet and shit costs seriously soooo much money. it fuckin pisses me off. the old lady in 308 smokes in bed. shez gonna die in there i kno it and im gonna have 2 pay to have her fat fucking corpse removed.
The orange cat thrusts himself into my lap. He purrs. He rubs his face on mine. I scratch his orange ears. I purr and rub my face on his. We speak the same language. I am synonymous with #102 in some circles. I am synonymous with this orange cat in the same circles.
Lucinda_thee_destroyer says, Throw all their asses out. Tell him to get that cat off ya fkin property and if he don’t, kick his ass out.
I search for alternative living arrangements. I have no intention of leaving. I do not necessarily fantasize about living elsewhere. It is merely my role as a conscientious resident of any rental community to know my options.
I tab over to the chat room in which the landlords chat.
It might be a therapy animal, says Watchtower. Flowerpower420 tells Watchtower to throw his or herself off a fuckin bridge—that it ain't no goddamn therapy animal.
The alternative property I view is an empty house in a suburb seventy miles away. It is rendered in 3-D. Its lines are clean. The siding is white. The eaves cast realistic shadows. There is a white pickup parked in the driveway behind several shrubs in a bed of tan. The tan stands for rocks. The truck has windows and no doors. It is a plane of color. The grass is a uniform green beneath. It contrasts with the sky, a blue darker than the real thing and without clouds or sun. The sun is implied. The windows on the house reflect the fake blue sky. I see the image as a camera sees it. There is no camera. The angles of the house are hinted at by shadows. I see it the way my computer sees it.
The orange cat nips my finger. I leave my chair and pour dry food in his bowl. I watch him eat.
Eric Lloyd Blix lives in Minneapolis. His writing has appeared in such journals as Western Humanities Review, Caketrain, Necessary Fiction, and others, and it has been reprinted at Longform.org. He is a candidate in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he teaches writing and serves as the managing editor of Blue Earth Review.
Illustrated by Meher Khan.