What Melissa didn't know was that I never had any intention of calling the police. I didn't have to.
When the college who cut me the check finally mailed me a copy of said check with my forged signature, I'd called a police officer friend of mine from Arizona. He'd advised me that the easiest way to ensure her suffering without having to get my own hands dirty, was to tell the bank that had cashed the check that the signature was forged. Then, the bank would reimburse the college, who would cut me a new check. Melissa would be at the bank's mercy, not mine.
But since she didn't know that (I hadn't called the bank yet), I figured I'd try to get a thousand dollars off her anyway because I was a poor bastard and she was a manipulative, lying bitch with a dog that had pissed all over my fucken clothes. I may have been a little bitter.
She didn't give me the thousand dollars. I never saw her again. Never had the satisfaction of knowing whether she was arrested or had huge penalties from the bank. I'm not even sure she got any financial comeuppance.
What I do know is that she got evicted. Whatever she did with the thousand dollars she essentially stole from me, she didn't use it to pay rent. Also, someone informed her landlord that she had been subleasing part of the apartment to me. She hadn't told him that. He was under the impression that only one person lived there, so he'd given her a great deal on rent. So during the year that I was there, I was paying 75% of the rent and had no idea. Since she was the one who was in contact with the landlord , I just assumed we had been paying the same amount. One anonymous call to the landlord changed that.
I met the landlord one night while I was working at Kookaburra Canyon. He didn't know what happened to my bookshelf, my books, my comics, or my computer (and I didn't ask about the porn) but my bedframe and a few of my clothes had shown up in the basement, where (he informed me) all of my stuff had been stored while I was away. No wonder "the storage people" had easy access to the house, they lived in the basement.
I've only been back to the house once since the day Becca and I drove my stuff to storage. It's not too far from where I ended up moving to, but the house has some serious bad juju for me. Even though I know that Melissa hasn't lived there in about a year now, I always get really angry when I drive by, or when the subway passes within sight of it. I have the incredible urge to sneak into the driveway and let the air out of all her tires. But her tires aren't there.
If she didn't end up doing any jail time (and she probably didn't, I don't think she had any prior problems with the police or with banks), I'm imagining she moved back in with her parents. Why they should be punished for her crimes, I don't know. Then again, it was their terrible breeding and/or parenting techniques that contributed to the bipolar sociopath she became.
I've been on a Tery Pratchett binge for the past few days. The other night I read "The Last Hero." and last night I read "The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents." This morning (okay, afternoon)I awoke to your typical non-educated rodents. Brown mice. A fourth one just ran across the floor of the computer room and into Oz's bedroom. They're brazen little things, not at all concerned that there's a big red-headed human wandering around. The fourth one actualy bumped his nose against my sock (brave little bugger) then jetted when I wiggled my toe. #3 is behind me messing around in a Barnes & Nobles bag. These mice have attituedes like big ol' NYC rats, but they're tiny tiny brown mice, the sort I've seen playing around in the T stations.
#5 just arrived. Egads. I do believe it's time to clean this house, and set some have-a-hearts. I've been accused of being a tad cluttered by several ex-roommates, but I've never had to deal with even insect infestation, nevermind little rodents, unless I paid for them and put them in a cage. Oz's computer room is like Disneyland for these things. I'd name them, but I can only tell which is which by what room/bag they're playing in. Once I or they move they all pretty much look the same.
Does that make me a speciesist?
After a three month spoken word tour, I returned home to discover that my crazy ass bitch of an ex roommate had changed the locks. For the next three weeks, I couch surfed between friends' houses.
Apart from the occasional shower session, I had been fairly non-masturbatory while I was on the road, and had greatly looked forward to crashing on my comfortable bed, and giving my hand the sort of attention it so desperately loves. So having to stay at friends' houses and sleep on their very public couches while they were at home, did not give me much opportunity for self-loving.
One set of friends, Jerry and Lucy, gave me the key to their apartment for a few days. They planned on being home the entire time I was there, but just in case I went out to go grocery shopping, and came home after they'd left for work, they decided to play it safe.
The first four days I was there were so uneventful, I shouldn't have written this sentence. I took a break from staying with them to go visit some friends in a nearby town. I returned on a Wednesday night at around 1:30 in the morning. No one was home. Being lonely, and not very tired, I decided to throw in a movie. I saw the case for "Y Tu Mama Tambien", which several people had recommended to me, but which I hadn't yet come across. I popped it in, and was surprised to see naked hot guys pretty much immediately. Sure, they were having sex with naked hot chicks, and not each other, but it was still hot. As the movie progressed I became interested in it as something other than a cinematic experience. It was 2:30, the bars had been closed for over an hour, the people who lived in the house were not coming home.
Normally, when embarking on a ceiling semening session, I would prepare myself with Kleenex or some other form of cleaning material. But I hadn't really planned on seeing the session all the way through. But sure enough, just as I heard voices coming up the stairs to the apartment, the cork popped off the champagne bottle. I quickly pulled my boxers up, and threw a t-shirt on. The problem was, the blanket I was using was COVERED in come. I folded the blanket in such a way that you couldn't see anything interesting, and sat up to watch the rest of the movie. Jerry, Lucy, and three of their friends stumbled drunkenly into the room.
"Hey, Safey. What's up?" Jerry asked, crashing down next to me on the couch.
"Nothing, just watching a movie."
We drunk talked for a few more minutes, and then he and Lucy went to their bedrooms, and the three friends took off. About five minutes later, Jerry came out of his bedroom. "Safe." He said, as I feigned sleep. "Safe, are you awake."
I opened an eye. "Not really."
"Mind if we switch blankets? Lucy's...Lucy's blanket isn't warm enough."
YES I MINDED, but how could I explain it in such a way that I didn't have to admit that I'd come all over their blanket? "Ummmm...I'm naked."
He stood there looking about four Cape Codders over the Sagamore Bridge. "The thing is...." He started. "The thing is....Lucy thinks I might have uh....There might be....It might not be a very clean blanket."
Did they know? Had they smelled the semen in the air? "Huh?"
"Before we left we kind of....and the blanket might be, uh, musty." Had I not mustified the blanket myself, I'd have thrown it off in an intense fit of ewww.
"Well, I've been underneath it for about three hours by now, any mustification has already come in contact with my body. But, like I said, I'm not wearing any pants. If you don't mind going into the other room, I'll get dressed and toss you the blanket."
While Jerry went into his room, I dealt with residual dampness, and tossed the blanket into their room. Jerry told me there was a cleaner blanket in the hall closet. I took it. Then I headed back to the couch, where I tried to block out the sound of Jerry and Lucy having headboard shattering sex under the blanket I'd mustified.
My first thought was that I could shatter her dog's spine by merely snapping my fingers together. So would end the suffering of Gussy and everyone else who knew her. But I rarely kill ants, there was no way I could kill her dog, even if it meant putting it out of its blissful misery. I debated burning her house down. Gas wasn't as expensive then, but I decided I'd want to wait around and see the flames. That would probably make me a suspect.
In the end, I decided that rather than killing her or having her killed, it would be much more entertaining to see her try and explain herself. I called her and told her I had the money for her (which I did) and that I wanted to meet her the following morning (a Tuesday) to pick up my stuff. She agreed. But on Tuesday morning she was nowhere to be found. On Wednesday she called with some lame ass excuse about a work emergency. She did data entry for a friend of her family's very small business. She spent most of her days playing with her dog in the office. Whatever. I made an appointment to meet her Thursday morning. She said the storage people would be dropping my stuff off at nine. She's meet me at the house then.
I got there at seven. Just in case. At eight she came out to walk Gussy and was surprised to see me there. "Oh, sorry." I said, "I thought you said to meet you at eight." She was definitely shaken, not stirred.
By nine-thirty, there was no storage truck.
"Hold on a second." she said, breaking the tense silence.
I assumed that she was going in to call the storage people or some sort of bodyguard. I was unprepared when she walked out of the house with a box of my books. "It looks like the storage people must have come last night after I went to sleep. Your stuff is in the back hallway."
The storage people had come in the middle of the night? "The storage people came in the middle of the night?" How did they get in? "Do they have keys?"
"I must have left the door unlocked." What-The-Fuck.
If I gave her any more of "the eye" it would have been two eyes. I went into my former home, and sure enough there were piles and garbage bags of my stuff in the back hallway. I was too flummoxed to do a complete inventory, but I did notice one thing missing right away. "Where are my bookshelves?"
"The bookshelves that held all my books. Two big ones. They were against the wall."
"I don't remember them. Maybe the storage people took them."
"The storage people stole my bookshelves but returned my TV and CD collection?" She shrugged. "Maybe they misplaced them when they were rummaging around in the dark last night when they dropped off my stuff, huh?"
I called a friend of mine to pick me up in her truck, so I could put my stuff in real storage.
"Did you remember the receipt from the storage place?"
"Yea. You said that storage was costing you a bundle, and I said I'd repay you if you gave me the receipt."
"No. I'm friends with the guy who owns the storage place. He let me have it for free."
"Then why did you tell me it was costing you a bundle?"
Whatever. I then began counting off the thousand dollars. I made to hand them to her. "Oh. One more thing. Do you remember cashing a check for a thousand dollars the day after I left?"
"Because the bank and the people who wrote the check seem to believe that you've already been paid the rent for the three months that I was away."
"Oh. The check. I forgot about that. It wasn't the amount I was expecting, so I forgot it."
"It was a check for a thousand dollars, right?"
"I did pay you enough money before I left so that the balance of rent while I was gone was only $900, correct?"
"I'm not giving you this money."
"But I need it." She threw her hand in the air, "Why do you make things so difficult?" And walked to her car, where Gussy was shivering in the back seat. "If I don't have the money by tomorrow, I'm calling the police."
"Here's my phone. Call them now. I'd love to hear you explain to them why you forged my signature on a check, and stole my fucken mail, you psycho."
She drove off.
Becca and I moved my stuff into storage uneventfully. The storage facility was right next to work, and i had to work in an hour, so I spent that hour doing inventory.
Things that were missing:
All of my books from authors K-Z
My DVD/VHS collection
My old comic book collection
My two overcoats (one of them my grandfather's cashmere)
My computer (which didn't work, anyway)
A good chunk of my clothes
What was left of my clothes was covered in dried old dog piss. I called and left Melissa a message to call me back. She did not respond. I called about seven times that week. No response. So on the eighth day I left a different kind of message.
"Melissa, it's Insafemode. I've been very patient. If I don't hear from you in forty-eight hours, I'm calling the cops. You stole a great deal from me, and forged my signature on a check. If I don't get a thousand dollars in my hands by the end of the week, I'm having you arrested."
I then went to take a shower. By the time I was finished she had called my phone seven times but left no message.
It's impossible not to sound gay when saying the phrase: "moist towelette."
"I don't live here anymore?" In my head I'm doing the five fingers of death (though Kill Bill 2 has not come out yet, I am intrinsically aware of its future existence).
"You said there'd be a check arriving for me in January. I never received it."
"But I called you in January, and February, and March, and you never mentioned it." I'm pulling out her eyeballs with my fingers, and squishing them beneath my shoes.
"I assumed you knew."
I was just sleep deprived enough to think this whole thing was my fault. I asked her what had happened to all my belongings, and she informed they were in storage. When I could pay her the three months of overdue rent, and the storage fees, she'd return my stuff.
It sounded fair.
I went to Kookaburra Canyon and explained my predicament. I needed to work as often as possible in order to get my stuff back. Several of my coworkers offered me couches and spare beds until I found a new place to stay. My current debt to Melissa would be roughly thirteen hundred dollars, I expected to have to have about $1800 to put down on a new place. I was fucked in a way that brought me no pleasure. I was also pissed off.
I called the institution that was supposed to cut me the check. They "thought" they had sent it out to me in January. It would take a couple of days to track down, but they'd be in touch. I posted angry anti-Melissa comments in my other blog.
I called Melissa and asked how much storage was costing her. She said she didn't know, but she'd get back to me. I called her back the next day to ask again, and received no answer. The following day, she called my cell phone asking why I was ignoring her repeated messages. I called my voice mail. I had six messages. None of them from Melissa.
The next week was my birthday. I worked eight hours, and then crashed on a coworker's couch. My mom called to ask me if I'd received my birthday money.
The following morning, I trekked over to Melissa's in search of my mail. In addition to the birthday mail (one from my mom, one from my dad, two sets of grandparents, and one aunt), I was waiting for a package from a friend in Arizona.
"You haven't gotten any mail here in months." Ms. Smiley Melissa Face informed me as she was putting her work cooler in her trunk.
"You're telling my five people's birthday cards got lost in the mail?"
"I don't know what to tell you." She started to slam down her trunk.
"What's that?" I stopped the trunk with my hand. Inside was a package with my name on it.
"Oh, that. That arrived yesterday. I forgot." It was my package from Arizona. "Here."
"No, mail for me, huh?"
While there is no doubt in my mind that she did steal my birthday mail (a federal offense, mind you). I had no proof. She had not been stupid enough to forge my signature on those checks. A few days after the run in by her trunk, though, I got a call from the people who'd written me the $1000 check. They'd written it. They'd mailed it. And on January seventh, the day after I'd left on tour, it had been signed over to and cashed by one Melissa F*n Bitchface.