September 6, 2015 by RJ
“There’s nothing that can be done?” Imogene asked.
“Nope. He wants us out by Sunday afternoon.”
Misty handed Imogene her phone. Imogene scanned the landlord’s texts. She gave Misty her phone back and walked into the living room. She kicked the bean bag chair at the bookcase.
“D-FLY! YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!” she shouted, banging on D-Fly’s door. D-Fly’s dogs started barking. Imogene tried the doorknob. The dogs began jumping onto the door.
“I’M GOING TO BUST YOUR FUCKING DOOR DOWN!” Imogene looked at Misty, who was still in the kitchen. “Mist, get the sledgehammer!”
Misty ran to the basement. Imogene wandered away from the door, breathing heavily, hands on her hips. Misty came into the living room and presented Imogene with the hammer. She tapped D-Fly’s door knob with it. “Last chance, D-Fly, or I’m busting in.”
The dogs continued barking. Imogene stretched her arms, threw her dreads back, and positioned herself. “Oh shit, take these,” she said, handing Misty her glasses. She re-positioned herself, carefully lifted the sledgehammer, and brought it down on the door knob. The dogs yelped. Imogene grunted as she lifted the sledgehammer and again brought it down. She missed the knob and graced the door, taking some of the siding off it. She bent down and thrust the hammer at the spot. The wood gave away.
Imogene looked inside. D-Fly walked out of view. She heard shuffling and muttering. D-Fly’s stomach came into view. Imogene stood up and backed away.
D-Fly cracked open the door, letting Buster and Trick out. He slammed the door and re-locked the deadbolt.
“NO YOU DON’T, MOTHERFUCKER!” Imogene yelled, slamming herself against the door. She got down on her knees and peered through the hole. “We want our money back!”
Buster and Trick came up and licked Imogene’s face. She pushed them away. They started sniffing her dreads. Imogene watched D-Fly drag his dresser across the room. A book and an ashtray fell off as he jerked it. He put the dresser in front of the door.
“FUCKER!” Imogene yelled, banging the door.
“Come on,” Misty said, pulling Imogene by the arm. “I just saw Zachary pull up. Let’s go talk to him about this.”
Trick was trying to hop on Imogene. Imogene kicked her away. Trick shook her head and whimpered as Imogene, Misty, and Buster went outside.
“More like he took YOUR money,” Zachary said. “I told you guys to use checks or money orders.”
Imogene and Misty stared at the ground, smoking.
“Well, if he’s gonna boot us, I want my money back!”
“You can worry about that,” Imogene said, lighting another cigarette with her nearly finished one. “We gotta get our shit out of here.”
“You don’t want to battle this?”
“We’ve been fighting everything since that junkie motherfucker moved in here! I don’t care about my deposit or any of that shit. I just want out.”
Misty snapped her fingers. “Storage unit, again?”
Imogene pulled Misty into her and kissed her forehead. “That’s my girl! You want in, Zach? We all go in on the smallest one we can find. ”
“Thanks, but I got some people that’ll let me store my shit if it comes down to it.” Zachary took out his phone. “I’m gonna give it a shot.”
Imogene rocked Misty, who rested her head on Imogene’s shoulder. “If you wanna deal with the D-Fly too, be my guest.”
Zachary flipped her off and walked towards the fence, phone next to his ear.
“The captains going down with the ship,” Misty said, “so don’t be so mean to him.”
“He took D-Fly in.”
“No, Trent brought D-Fly over, and D-Fly wouldn’t have moved in if Trent didn’t fuck up.”
Imogene held the smoke in, turned her head, and blew it in Misty’s face. “That’s one thing we’re gonna do when we get our own house: fuckin’ screen the applicants. None of this ‘Oh, this guy wants to move in and we need another housemate ASAP’ shit.”
Misty sat up and rubbed her eyes. “I don’t ever want to live with someone like D-Fly again.”
“Does this mean that next time you see a strange amount of ‘dots’ on a person’s arm, you won’t think they’re just mosquito bites?”
“Bitch, shut up,” Misty pointed at her. “I mean crusties. And for the record, I thought they were bed bug bites.”
“But we’re crusties.”
“Not like him, though.”
“Oh, you mean junkie punks, then. Got it.”
“I’d be more than happy to settle this in court with you, mothefucker!” Zachary yelled. Zachary realized that Imogene and Misty were staring at him. He walked behind the shed.
“Now it’s gonna get good,” Misty said. “I’m gonna use the bathroom and get a beer. Want one?”
Imogene lit another cigarette. “Yes. I’m gonna enjoy listening to this.”
Trick slipped past when Misty opened the screen door. She tried to jump on Buster. Buster growled. She then attempted to take away the tree branch he had in his mouth. Imogene giggled every time Zachary raised his voice.
Buster and Trick stopped playing. They looked to the driveway, their ears perked up.
“Yo! Buster! Trick!” Imogene snapped her fingers. “Over here, now!”
They ignored her and walked to the driveway. They started barking. Imogene picked up two empty beer cans and threw them at the dogs. Buster and Trick stopped barking, looked at her, and came to her side when she snapped her fingers again.
Six teenagers walked up. Buster started barking again. Imogene slapped him alongside the head.
“Hi, ma’am, how are you today?” said the teenage who led the group.
“Could be way better, actually,” Imogene said, flicking away her smoke.
“Damn, we’re sorry to hear that,” one of the teens said, causing the others to laugh.
“FUCK! YOU!” Zachary yelled. The shed emitted a loud band, and shook.
“What’s going on back there?” the leader asked.
“Slumlord shit,” Imogene said. “Can I help you guys?”
“Yeah! We’re taking up a collection for our baseball team to get new uniforms.” Two teens behind him shook their garbage bags. “Do you have any empty bottles you want to part with?”
“No, but we have plenty of empty cans.” Imogene swept her arm around the yard. “You can have all the cans we got laying around back here.”
“Thanks, but we can only take bottles,” one of the teens said. He tapped his shoulder with the bat he was holding.
The group laughed. “We don’t know. That’s what our coach told us.”
Buster started to growl. Imogene grabbed him and Trick by their collars. Misty came out with two beers in hand.
“Can we have some money, then?” one of the teens asked.
“No, I’m broke as fuck.”
“How about the guy behind the shed? Or her?”
“No, he’s busy, and she’s as broke as I am.”
“How can you all afford to live here if you’re all bums?”
Imogene glared at him. “You can either take the cans, or you can fuck off.”
The group looked at each other and nodded their heads. “Perhaps you have some bottles in your house?” the leader asked.
Imogene stood up. “All right, get the fuck out of here!”
One of the teens tapped the leader on the shoulder and pointed to the basketball hoop that was attached to the tree. The leader grinned, held his hand out, and was handed an empty bottle from the garbage bag.
“Here’s the deal: I put this bottle through the hoop, and you give us twenty bucks,” the leader said, winding up.
“ ‘Gene, what’s he talking about? Misty asked.
The leader whipped the bottle at the tree. It smashed above the hoop. “Another!” he yelled.
Imogene walked up and punched the leader. The teen behind him rushed forward and pushed Imogene. Another one threw a bottle at her. It flew past, sailing over Buster, and smashed into the screen door.
The group started to throw bottles at them. Misty dropped the beers and covered herself, screaming. Buster and Tricked charged at the group. The leader kicked Buster and the teen next to him swung at Trick with his bat.
Imogene shielded Misty. She opened the door and pushed her inside. She called Buster and Trick. A bottle smashed against her leg. She grimaced. The dogs ran in. A bottle bounced off the side of her head. She went inside and locked the door.
The dogs were down in the basement, barking. Misty stood at the bottom of the stairs, wiping the make up from her eyes.
“God, what the fuck ?!” she yelled.
Imogene walked into the kitchen. She lifted her leg on the table and examined it. Blood covered her thigh, and started to drip on the table.
She heard the living room window shatter. Imogene watched as bottles flew into the living room. The group hollered and laughed.
The bottles stopped. Imogene heard another window shatter, followed by thumps in the wall. D-Fly let out a scream. Two huge smashes followed the thumps. D-Fly’s door burst open. He ran into the living. He stepped on the broken glass, howled, and fell onto the carpet. He got up, staggered the rest of the way, and fell to the floor.
“Fuck, fuck,” he muttered, getting onto his knees. “Please help me. Fuckin’ help me!”
Imogene waited until D-Fly steadied himself on the counter. She grabbed him by the throat and squeezed.
“YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” she yelled, shaking him. “WE’RE GETTING EVICTED BECAUSE OF YOU!”
D-Fly’s head dropped to his chest. Imogene grabbed him by the hair. He coughed in her face.
“ASSHOLE!” She pulled D-Fly down the hall. He walked along, banging against the walls. Imogene unlocked the door, and threw him outside.
“Is it over?” Misty asked.
“Keep the dogs downstairs,” Imogene said.
She went outside. D-Fly was curled in a ball, shaking on top of the broken glass.
Zachery ran up the driveway, shovel in hand. “Hey, you guys okay?”
Imogene pointed at her leg. “I’m damaged.”
Zachary pointed at her head. “You got a cut on your noggin, next to you ear.”
Imogene touched it. She cringed.
“What’s this dumbass doing?” Zachary asked, pointing the shovel at D-Fly.
“Hopefully dying,” Imogene said, as D-Fly tried to stretch out. He quickly curled back into himself.
Trick sniffed the blood on the kitchen floor. Imogene noticed her and yelled, “TRICK! GET AWAY FROM THAT!” She stopped the vacuum and marched towards the dog. Trick ran back to the basement.
“What’s up?” Misty asked, looking up from her laptop.
“Trick was about to lap up some of D-Fly’s infected blood.”
“Infected? As in AIDS?”
“Wouldn’t surprise me.”
Zachary walked in. He saw the mess in the kitchen, and retrieved the mop and bucket from the closet.
“Any luck gathering clues?” Misty asked.
“The neighbors said they weren’t attacked.” Zachary put dish soap in the bucket and turned on the water, “but they did say they heard of these of these kids doing this kind of shit around Vine all week.”
Imogene nodded, and finished vacuuming. Zachary started mopping the floor.
“Found one!” Misty said. “Giving them a call now!”
“Still going with the storage unit?” Zachery asked.
“Yep, we’re getting the fuck out of here,” Imogene said.
Zachary sighed. “I understand. This is my fault.”
“No, you’re just the one that does all the paperwork. It’ll seem like it’s your entire fault.”
“The neighbors offered to call the police. I told them I’ll take care of it, but I think they’re still gonna do it.”
“Tell them to wait until we’re gone first.”
“Calling them myself might save me somewhat on repair bills with the slumlord.”
“Yeah, go for it, but you might want to clean out D-Fly’s room first.”
Zachary shook his head.
Misty tapped Imogene’s shoulder. “The same place as last time on the corner of Vine and Portage has a unit open.”
“Still less than a hundred a month?” Imogene asked.
“Do we still get a student discount?”
Misty nodded again.
“That’s our cue,” Imogene said, setting the vacuum against the wall. They walked past Zachery. “Good luck with the law.”
Zachary swiped the area they walked on “Yell at D-Fly on your way out, will you?”
The screen door slammed. Zachary heard Imogene shout, followed by a grunt by D-Fly. He put the mop in the bucket and walked into D-Fly’s room. The dresser that D-Fly used to block the door was tipped over. Glass covered the floor. Dents and holes littered the wall. A needle, pipe, and an ash covered stand stood next to the bed underneath the broken window. A pool of vomit laid on the right side of the bed, and a dark stain stood out in the middle of the mattress.
Zackary kicked an empty beer can into the closet. He heard Imogene and Misty walk by. A plume of smoke appeared outside the window, which was then blown away by a breeze.
Garret Schuelke is a writer and blogger residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has self-published two poetry ebooks, and has had his work featured in publications such as Revolution John, A Thousand and One Stories, Eskimo Pie, and Schlock! Webzine. He can be reached at garretschuelke.tumblr.com and @garretschuelke