Saturday, March 13, 2021

Hey! You! Get Out of My Way! Enter The 9th Circle Part 27

The cats are very interested in the sink filling with soap and water. I’m sure that some of them have never seen this before, so I understand the fascination factor. Picking up whatever resembles a dish, I drop it either into the sink or into the bag that’s headed for the garbage.

“What the fuck are you doing out there?” he screams from his room. “Something you have never done,” I yell back. He cackles that smoky cackle of his, followed by a phlegm-filled coughing fit. “Ick,” I think to myself as I look at the yellow walls. It is hard to breathe in here, so while the dishes soak I decide to tackle the litter box.

I pull my shirt up over my nose. The cats stopped using their litter box long ago and have now taken to relieving themselves in whatever space they can find. My philosophy is to just do the chore and not get caught up in how gross it is. If I think about it I will pass out, and then wake up on the floor in this mess. I decide it’s better to remain conscious.

“I cleaned the litter box the other day,” he screams out. “Uh-huh,” I respond. I am sure that he is confused as to what year it is, not to mention what day it is. “Goddamned cats won’
t stop shitting,” he adds. “They tend to do that,” I say, as I use a spatula to remove an especially tough piece of poop from the floor.

I get up most of the cat shit but the ammonia is burning my eyes, so I decide to return to the dishes. The chore takes about 45 minutes of my time, but it’s also 45 minutes that I am not making any money. While drying the last dish, I decide that I’
m done here for today, but I figure there’s time for one more chore before I need to get back downstairs. Walking over to the fridge, I put my hand on the door and bracing myself for what I might see, yank it open. I am not sure what I’m seeing in there but the smell alerts me that something had “gone south” years ago. My worst fear was that I would find severed body parts; this smell is even worse.


“Um… When was the last time you ate?” “What are you writing, a book?” he screams at me. “Someday, I hope to,” I yell back at him, “but right now I’m just trying to solve a crime scene.” He cackles, followed by coughing up something and spitting it out. Thank God I’m not looking at him right now. “I get such a kick out of you,” he says. I imagine him wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.

Walking into his
 room, I come around where he can see me. “I am going to buy you groceries and deliver them tomorrow before I come to work.” For just a moment I see a crack in his façade, but it only lasts a split second and then he is back again. “Are you after my goddamned money?” he screams. “Are you after my goddamned money?” He repeats this over and over. I wait for the tide to settle. “Yeah, I can see that you are living in the lap of luxury,” I say, my face barely moving. His hand shoots out and he reaches for his cigarettes. “Everyone is stealing from me,” he says, a tear forming in his eye. I do my best to ignore this behavior because I am not sure how to process it yet. I grab the lighter off the table and light his cigarette. It shakes between his trembling fingers.

I walk back into the kitchen and look for a pad of paper to write down what he would like me to pick up for him. ”Do you have a pad of paper lying around that I can use?” 
I don’t get an answer from the other room. “Hello?” I say again; still no answer. Walking back into the room, I find that he has fallen asleep, the cigarette burning in his hand.

I gently take it out of his hand and grind it in the ashtray. I see this as my getaway, and walking gently across the floor, I open the door and step out into the hallway.

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