A story, utterly true, called
The Case of the Missing Roommate.
Ah, the start of the school year. The nervous eye of the storm before the inevitable outbreak of chaos and drama; yet there's something different riding in the winds this year, a more ominous presence than the wide-eyed innocence of 2010.
There are many obvious differences in my own life. The first being that I have friends and a girlfriend; how I managed this feat is beyond my own comprehension. The second being that I somehow found myself working two jobs, another very uncharacteristic behavior. But the third difference is even more palpable than the first few; I'm living in a two bedroom on campus.
There are two rooms in this dreary beat-up apartment building. The carpet stained with the memories of parties long past, and of fluids both unnatural and bodily. Cupboards perched about the kitchen are subtly agape, unable to close after over twenty years of use and abuse. And a broken couch faces the three-point living room window. Move in day was quite simple, I assessed the ridiculous amount of damage, wrote the necessary forms of complaint and spent about an hour or two unpacking all my boxes. All under the impression that the room was vacant, empty, and according to the U of C website without another roommate.
But yes, I have a roommate.. or at least technically. His existence is still in question.
A day after move in, I did my daily rounds on the internet only to discover the following under my residence application
OL-205A -- puremath8192 (Sep-07-11 - Apr-27-12)
The first set of numbers and letters indicate my room, and the following bit is the username of the new roommate and his move-in/move-out dates. puremath8192, Age 25. A quick review of his profile revealed he has no interests, aside from classical music. Everything was right down the middle; non-smoker who doesn't watch television or movies, dislikes friends and doesn't drink, and spends most of his time in the library or reading. My asian-radar was going insane at this point, but surely he wouldn't be a problem. A much better roommate than the average bro-idiot foaming at the mouth for tits, beer and flippy-cup..
I decided to head down to residence services, as it was already the 11th of September and four days after this mysterious individual's move in date.
"What room are you in?" the kindly bearded gentlemen in full blown argile looked up from the blue glow of his computer screen.
"Olympus Hall, 205"
".. huh.." he blinked inquisitively, "it seems your roommate has already checked in".
A young bespectacled strawberry blonde leaned over towards the screen "Is his name like.. international-y sounding-ish?"
The argile donning man shook his head at her, and glanced up back at me. "Nope.. seems normal."
They agreed with me that it was somewhat spooky that I haven't seen this individual, or any trace of him all weekend long. You'd think he would move everything in the weekend before classes, but no, nothing. Not a pair of shoes or a box of Pizza Pops. I made a crack that it was beginning to sound like a Stephen King novel, and went on my way.
I spent the night at my parents house, and drove back in the morning before classes. As I slid the electronic key in to the slot, a chill swam up my spine. Something was amiss, I could feel it. I swung the door open and immediately scanned the floor for a pair of shoes.. nothing. I peeked in to the living room and saw everything the way I left it. I heaved a sigh and went in to the kitchen for a granola bar. That's when I saw it.
An ancient toaster oven, encrusted with the charred remnants of bread and tomato paste. Surely not a strange sight, but sitting adjacent to my OWN toaster oven (a brand new Black And Decker Classic Line) it looked quite out of place. I decided to investigate the house further for any signs of life and found only a single roll of toilet paper in the second bathroom. Puzzled, I flipped open the mirror cabinet expecting to find a toothbrush or a razor.. nothing. Perhaps he has dentures at 25, I thought. Perhaps he simply hasn't moved all his things in, I mean, it's only the first day of school and he's only had 5 days to move in.. plenty of people who listen to classical music and read all day are chronic procrastinators...
A spark went off in my brain.. THE FRIDGE. Of course! No single human being can survive without subsistence, he must've brought something. After a quick scan of the empty a slightly agape cupboards, I opened the fridge door.. this is what I saw.
A jar. Lid slightly at wedge, full of what I could only assume to be milk. On the bottom shelf sat a very asian China-bowl adorned with flowers and dragons, and the contents were some sort of murky, chunky gruel-like substance.
Yes, roommate brought no food, no shoes, no bathroom supplies, no soap, no DVD's or a TV or movies, no posters or personal knick-knacks... but he did bring a jar of milk and a toaster oven from the late 1800's. A 25 year old mathematician whose only sole possession is a jar with which he drinks his milk. No dirty glasses, no dishes, no coats or sweaters, just this jar.
His door, dimly lit, beside me own. Perhaps he's home? Do I risk knocking on the door? The contents of the room remain hidden behind the oak and electronic lock, but undoubtedly he managed to move in the remains of the people he cut up sometime late last night. Surely he has to come home sometime tonight.. And unfortunately, your terrified narrator may not live to write the next chapter..