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Tlagaang

Mind-numbing wandering in the heat ... Looking for Crap ... Finding it.

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Another excerpt from Culrik's "Filth Column" auto-journal. Publishing considered, but mostly dismissed.

[SATURDAY. JULY 17th. SOMETIME EARLY. PROBABLY AFTER 8:00. P.M.]

The owner of the first apartment on my kill list had said that I could have a look at it whenever I wanted to, and naturally, I’d planned to take advantage of that as much as God would let me. God (or some dragon-version of God. I don’t know how this works on here) had done the deed of making the sun, however, and that put me in a pickle. Because I liked to have a natural view of my place before I committed to it, and my time was running out.

I’d spent the earlier part of my walking trip mostly lollygagging and torturing myself by looking at shops selling things I didn’t need and which would fuck up my budget if I actually did buy them. At some point in the confusion I hitched some conversation and got a date BUSINESS AGREEMENT out of it. After that, everything had gotten so orange that I figured I should go look at the place, or I’d have wasted all my time going there.

I knocked on the door unannounced to look at my apartment. The current resident – a lanky racoon that looked like a sad alcoholic – opened, and immediately made a bad impression by not knowing that the landlord wanted a new renter. He hadn’t bothered to put on pants, and he grew furious when I told him. The guy himself seemed mostly fine – I don’t go out of my way to expect the cream of the crop when I’m deliberately looking for the worst apartment in town, but the fact that the landlord hadn’t told him a damn thing left a bitter taste in my mouth. I decided to complain with him for a few seconds to get his allegiance, let myself inside, and then asked for a glass of something bitter to hopefully distract my mouth.

The place looked better than its price was worth, which was an immediate cause for suspicion. The bathroom was ugly and didn’t have any windows, but it was fine. The kitchen had some sort of fridge, and the so-called bedroom was some sort of loft-nook which had space for a whole bed, both of which were also fine by me. Those two criterion were important, because the place looked like it was designed by some fancy-crap Japanese architect who took pride in making anyone who lived there feel like they had just immigrated into a beehive. The place was half balcony, and that’s not literal hyperbole. The place was cramped, and it was one of the biggest balconies I’d ever seen. It had to have supports, to boot. Good view, though, because this was a roof apartment.

I realised that this was a roof apartment. I asked him about heating, and the same thing that clicked in me then clicked in him, because he was eager to have me say no at first opportunity, and I was inclined to follow along on it. We had a shared “Bingo.” Moment between us when he told me about the heating in the apartment. The black roof of the building apparently made the whole place go so hot you could boil your guts in there by sleeping in 'till noon. Given that I'm prone to sleeping in 'till noon, and that I had to work in there in that heat, I decided to say my goodbyes and ditch that joint. Not my kind of dump.

[THURSDAY. JULY 22nd. SOMETIME AROUND 8:00. A.M.]

I'd stayed up the whole night before looking at this one, which in retrospect was a shit idea. I hadn't had a closed eye in 33 hours at that point, and I was beginning to feel both delirious and psychotic. My brain was in alarm mode, but I decided that that was somehow an advantage, because it'd make me super-aware of every flaw in this place. That seemed important at the time. It was /not/ important at the time. I was looking for something crap enough for me to store my stuff in there without getting too comfortable, and this was probably the worst of the bunch that I could find.

"RENT ROOM OUT. 10 GOLD MONTH. PLACE SAYS BELOW" The ad had said in a big, bold-faced typefont meant for illiterates. The price was absolute peanuts - literally. I'd seen some middle-eastern grocery here that sold whole sacks of peanuts for that much, and the fact that there wasn't a single bit of description to this place convinced me that it might just be crap enough for me, so I went.

The owner was a fat, stubby old lady of some species I couldn't recognise, who spoke with an accent I couldn't recognise either. By the way she kept constantly squinting at me, I think she either had bad eyesight and no glasses, or was a racist. I was already hopped up on second wind adrenaline by then, but decided not to act like an idiot and press the issue. She looked like she could flatten me by doing a trust fall. I couldn't help but stare at her lips, which covered half her face and were themselves covered in the least appealing rose-red lipstick I'd ever seen.

We walked into a small apartment complex that looked too nice to be renting anything out for 10 gold each month. That made me get my hopes up. She introduced me to the "Everyone Wash-rooms", "Everyone Kitch-en", and then took me down to the basement. Of course. that's where the place would be.

She regaled me with an anecdote about how she likes to pickle cucumbers while we walked down there. The place seemed like it was mostly meant for utilities, judging by all of the exposed pipes, sickly green enamel paint (that was halfway towards crumbling away and which coated everything), and by the disgusting wet heat that was everywhere. I could hear some sort of machinery going on, and I think it was right near a boiler room. I walked behind her, because the hallway she took me down was only narrow enough for one person, and I grew suspicious that she might be leading me to some sort of underground cult dungeon to rip out my heart and eat it in the name of some pagan god.

"Old boiler room. We have new boiler room. Good boiler room." Is how she introduced the place she was going to be renting to me. It took a solid three minutes of walking through the labyrinth of underground hallways to actually get there, and about as long for her fat fingers to actually find the key to the room. She unlocked it, and then kicked the door to actually make the door go up.

The place was half dark even though there was a window, and the whole place was covered in the webs of spiders that had probably starved to death. It looked like they hadn't cleaned the place since they removed the boilers, because there were shrivels of paint (still that horrible green colour) that had peeled off the walls along with plaster dust from the ceiling. They'd covered up all of the pipes that had been running through the room, but not very well. I walked inside and decided to take a closer look at the place.

It was satisfyingly spacious once you learned to ignore all of the spiderwebs, which wouldn't be an issue anyways. I'd probably ask someone to help me move in, and they could easily sweep the place. It smelled like building materials, lubricant oil, rust and rat shit. There were two pieces of furniture: A sink that hung loosely on the wall and made noise when you turned it on, and a half burnt-out lightbulb. The window was probably only there to let air out, because only the two top inches of it were actually above ground, and there was a grate preventing anyone from falling into the little concrete dugout that had been made so the window could exist. It didn't prevent non-people from falling down there, though. A solid four inches of dead leaves, plastic trash and god knows what else had piled up around the bottom of the window. There was a syringe pressed up against the window.

This place was dogshit. The heat from the newer boiler room was enough to make me sweat just by being in there. I didn't trust the water from the sink to not give me the E-coli, and the floor was uneven enough to make me dizzy just by walking around in there. This wasn't a place that you were meant to live in, and if you did live in there, it was because your sorry ass didn't have anywhere better to live. There was some sort of otherworldly spiritual energy to the place that made it so you wanted to get out of there, like when it had been a boiler room before. A boiler room is not a place you want to stay in and have a pint in. It is a place where you go whenever something that needs fixing, and the less time you have to spend there, the better it'll be for your bills, and the better it'll be for your soul (mostly because of the bills). If I actually made the stupid decision to live here, I knew it'd make me miserable enough to try to spend as much time as possible away from there. I would hate the place with passion, and I would spend half of all my living moments and thoughts just complaining about it.

"I'll take it."
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