Monday, February 11, 2013

The Apple Crate Killer!!

So I am not exactly saying that my ex roommate is a murderer.

But he is probably a murderer. A murderer that is getting right with God, but probably a murderer, nonetheless.

 But less likeable, and definitely not as good looking as Dexter.

I moved into my townhouse last summer. It is the very first time I have ever lived alone; I have always had a roommate. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled about being along all the time.  I thought about it for awhile and after the first couple months there I decided to get a roommate.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, none of my friends or acquaintances were in need of a room to rent and so I was forced to accept the idea of renting to a stranger.  I wasn’t that worried about it because I am a friendly person, easy to get along with. I figured it wouldn’t take long at all to be on a friendly basis with any new roommate.

 I kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn't end up with a crazy, life stealing stalker.

I live pretty close to a GIANT church. The place looks like an airport.  I am not sure what it is about this church but people come from alllllll over the world to go there. I can’t even tell you how many people have told me that they moved away from all of their friends and family in Serbia so that they could move to Redding, CA where they know no one and have no job because…. Wait for it……   “God told me to”.  

I ran an ad on Craigslist for a roommate. I stated that I would prefer a female roommate, but that a male would be acceptable. I received a whole lot of responses from folks who were moving here for, you guessed it, the Church.  I have no problem with that, honestly. But so many of the people who emailed me did not even speak great English. I am not interested in not being able to communicate with my roommate.  I don’t want to have to learn to say “Pick up your shit!” in another language.

Anywho, a guy named Tom responded to my ad and stopped by one night to take a look at the townhouse.  He seemed nice enough. He was much older than me, in his 40’s I believe and had just moved here from Sacramento so that he could attend the airport church. He was wearing dress slacks and a tie and was very respectful.  He said that he really liked the feel of the place and that he would be back in touch. I did a search on him to make sure he wasn’t a serial killer, naturally.  A couple of days later, he emailed me to tell me that he would like to rent the room if it was still available. I told him it was and he said he would like to move in the following weekend. This was the middle of October.

My extra bedroom still had a spare guest bed in it. I asked him if he would like for me to leave it for his use, and he said that would be great because all he had was a futon. Seriously, a futon. I haven’t seen a futon since college. Anyway, I put a new mattress pad on it and left it in the room for him. When I was taking the rest of my stuff out of there I kind of pushed the bed out of the way and it just sort of stayed in that spot, in the middle of the room, away from the wall. I didn’t bother to move it anywhere in particular because I figured he could put it on whichever wall he liked best when he moved in.

I cleared out a drawer in the refrigerator for him to use for his food and one of the cabinets in the kitchen for his stuff.  I don’t really mind the idea of having our things comingled, but I wasn’t sure how he felt about it so I just went ahead and cleared the spaces for him. 

It took him exactly 3 hours to move all of his stuff in. Two car loads in his very tiny Toyota car, a tool box in the garage and two bicycles.  He had exactly 1 cooking pan, with his name written on masking tape on the handle.

I was out of the house when he moved in.  When I came home later that day I could already smell him.  Well not him per se, but I could smell something different in my house.  I could not figure out what the smell was. It was not necessarily a bad smell, but it was strong.  I just chalked it up to not being surrounded by all frilly girly things anymore.

Over the course of the next two months I laid eyes on Tom exactly 6 times.  And it was always while he was coming or going out of the house (always to the gym or to church or work).  He never ever ate a meal with Rhys and I or sat down to watch a movie. On the weekends he would never leave his room. He had no TV in his room, just a little radio that I could hear on occasion and a laptop. It's not that I was particularly anxious to hang out with him, I just found it so strange that he would rather stay holed up in the bedroom alllllll day then come downstairs.  I had told him when he moved in that he had free reign of the house. I didn't care if he had people over or anything as long as they were respectful of my things. He never had a single person over. It's not that I needed to be best friends with Tom, but I felt like I wanted to know him a bit better so that I didn't feel like I was, in fact, living with a total stranger.

And then there was that smell. Rhys and I finally figured out that it was curry that we were smelling.  Tom ate some weird food. The only food I ever saw of his in the house was mushrooms, nutritional yeast (barf), curry paste, celery and cream cheese. A shit ton of cream cheese. No joke, I looked in his refrigerator drawer one time and there were 10 (exactly, I counted) large sized containers of Philadelphia cream cheese. What does one do with THAT much cream cheese? The world may never know.

The curry smell seemed confined to his bedroom though. Strangely enough, he would cook with it in the kitchen, but shortly after the smell would dissipate, like he had never used it.  His bedroom, however, was leaking the smell of curry. When I would walk passed his bedroom door on the way to my bedroom I could always smell it. We shared a Jack N Jill bathroom and whenever I was in the restroom I could smell the curry coming from under the door into his room. It was so strange. And gross. I mean, I love me some indian food, and I love curry.... but I don't want to smell it all the time.  As far as I could tell, he must have been smearing curry paste on the walls of the bedroom.

I think that Tom was secretly trying to convert me to the airport church's ways without actually speaking to me. I was on my laptop one afternoon, updating my itunes or something mindless when I noticed that a new device had shown up under shared devices. I clicked on it saw a whole bunch of music with "God" as the artist.  Nice try, Tom. Seriously, what are you doing sharing your media library with the heathen that you won't even come downstairs to talk to? Weirdo. I'm on to you.

Rhys said that he had walked passed Tom's room once and the door was open so he kinda peeked inside and said that his room was really bare expect for the bed, which was still away from the wall and not really straight (weird, right?) and a couple apple crates on the floor.  Um what?

Now, I know what you are thinking. So what, they guy eats weird food, and likes to listen to God's greatest hits in the privacy of his own bedroom. What's the big deal?

Well, I suppose when you put it like that it isn't all that weird. But what about the fact that I think he was wrapping up dead bodies in packing tape late at night???  There can be no other explanation for the packing tape noises coming from his room at midnight. You know that noise, the one you hear when you stretch the tape with the dispenser across box lids. Only we never saw him taking any boxes anywhere to ship or store.

It has to be dead bodies. It's a totally reasonable conclusion. It's either that, or he has some weird packing tape fetish. Either way, he's a fucking weirdo recluse with questionable hobbies.

About 2 months after he moved in, Tom gave his 30 day notice (in the form of an email at 1:00am). He didn't say why, but I know why. That is a post for another day.

I can't really say that I was sad to see Tom go. Mostly because I didn't know him at all, but also because I was glad I had to no longer fear for my life while living with the apple crate, duct tape killer.

I think that my craigslist roommate searching days are over. That was a fun adventure, but I am glad that my bathroom doesn't smell like curry any more. My guest bed, on the other hand, is a totally different story. *sigh*.

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