February 2005 (v7 i4)
Counting the Ways Since 1997
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Bad roommates and green monsters
by Kristin Hillery, Managing Editor

Although I prefer to tell this story in an abandoned warehouse with a flashlight held to my chin, I'll make an exception just this once.

Last August, my friend — I'll call her Alice — had recently returned from a year of studying in London and was in desperate need of a place to live. Since my friend Todd and I were looking for a third roommate, we invited her to live with us and she accepted.

On move-in day, I opened the front door and heard what sounded like a weasel being violated by a fire hydrant. Alice was sitting in her bedroom wearing a headset hooked up to her laptop.

"I'm talking to Svend over the Internet!" she shrieked.

Svend was Alice's Danish boyfriend who was still in Denmark.

"He's going to stay here for three weeks in October!" she added. "That's cool, right?"

Of course that's cool! I'd love to listen to stories about windmills and watch you struggle to understand each other for 21 days.

"Fine with me," I replied. I turned around and saw bulk packages of preserved egg and canned eel on the kitchen counter. When Alice made dinner later, I discovered that those two things produced the nauseating aroma of moldy jock straps, meconium and zombies.

And this was only Day One of living with Alice. She quickly reached unprecedented levels of annoying. Fumigation couldn't curb the smell of her cooking. She set up her Internet phone in the living room so she could shout sweet nothings at Svend without missing Everybody Loves Raymond. Because our bedrooms shared a paper-thin wall, I could hear the buzz of the vibrator she proudly named "the Green Monster" accompanied by rhythmic yelps of pleasure. And somehow she always left a fresh pair of skid-marked panties in the dryer when she finished doing laundry.

Todd and I calmly confronted Alice, suggesting she find another place to live.

"Is it because I didn't do the dishes?" Alice responded from a quivering mouth. "Well, guess what? I'm not leaving. I love it here." She stormed into her bedroom.

"I love it here!" she added for emphasis.

Alice stopped talking to us. Instead, she would sigh and give us a withering gaze on the rare occasions that she emerged from her room to cook more eel. She slammed every drawer, cabinet, and door she came in contact with. I tried to apologize for hurting her feelings, but she ignored me.

This continued for a few days until Todd and I came up with the most logical solution to our problem: we would make her life a living hell until she moved out. And what better way to kick off our plan than a party that night?

As our friends arrived, I turned up the music to drown out the bitch-rock coming from Alice's room. Todd hung yellow "CAUTION" tape diagonally across Alice's doorframe. I placed fake barf in front of the door; one of our friends stood over it and pretended to be sick.

The door flew open. Alice clawed off the tape, kicked the plastic vomit and ran out the front door to her car, shoving everyone in her path.

Our drunken guests were mystified by what they had just witnessed. They wanted more. And they'd get it— she left her door unlocked.

We stole into Alice's room, huddling around her dresser as I slowly opened the top drawer.

"It's the Green Monster!" I screamed, spotting the sparkly neon green vibrator with inch-long jelly spikes sticking out of it like a dog collar. Someone poked it with a beer bottle.

I opened another drawer. No socks, pajamas, or T-shirts. There were only double-A batteries — enough of them to power a small town for a day. We laughed so hard that we collapsed on the floor, unable to breathe.

As the night progressed, partygoers took turns sneaking into Alice's bathroom. They ripped the shower curtain off the rod, stuffed it in the tub and emptied her shampoo and soap bottles on it. They also squeezed toothpaste all over the mirror, dipped her toothbrush in the toilet, and sprinkled salt on the linoleum.

We were certain that Alice would be gone once she saw her bathroom, but she never acknowledged it. Getting her to leave was going to be harder than we thought.

Whenever Todd and I left the apartment, we tuned my stereo to the Spanish station, cranked it to full blast, and locked my door.

Not a word from Alice.

We unplugged the stove so she couldn't cook anymore. She used the microwave.

We threw as many parties as we could. She just stayed in her room with the door locked.

We even filled all of her cups and bowls with dirt one day. She rinsed them out.

After enduring three weeks of our dirty tricks, Alice finally decided to move out.

But there was a problem. Because we signed separate leases for each bedroom, she had to give the management a good excuse to get out of the contract. So she told them that Todd and I made death threats to her. Yes, death threats.

Explaining that we weren't planning to harm Alice was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Luckily, the management was already suspicious of her claim but let her break the lease anyway.

Alice moved out the next morning. She managed to leave one last pair of skid-marked underwear in the dryer. We nailed the panties above the stove to remember her by.
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