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.