This Space for Rent

Last Wednesday, I arrived at my apartment around nine o’clock at night.  I’m young, full of energy and still able to work for long periods of time without becoming too exhausted.  That being said, I still greet the end of a thirteen hour work day with the emotion one might exhibit after being liberated from a concentration camp.  This particular day was no different.

Routinely, I entered my living area, tossed my computer bag on the couch, kicked off my shoes, let out a long sigh of mental exhaustion, and spent the next several minutes making out with my living room carpet.  Only after I got down on all fours did I feel the strain of several cups of coffee, two Diet Cokes, and a Hazelnut Macchiato tugging away at my bladder.  I made my way to the bathroom, flipped on the light, and looked in the mirror.

Looking back at me was a young man bearing the weight of a stressful month.  His eyelids drooping with lost sleep.  His hair beginning to grey far too early in life.  His skin dry from rubbing his face with his hands.

And on the wall behind this man was a three-inch monster spider with curved legs and hair longer than my facial scruff.

We noticed each other at the same time.  There was a brief moment when you couldn’t tell the difference between me and the arachnid.  We both stood frozen, staring at each other through the mirror.  Once we had the chance to analyze the situation, our reactions differed quite a bit.  He responded by crawling a few inches up the wall and I shit myself.

I don’t remember how I left the bathroom, but it probably involved hands being thrown into the air and a high pitched squeal.  The next thing I knew I was in my living room, scanning my bookshelf for a murder weapon.  Me Talk Pretty One Day?  I wouldn’t dare.  Fahrenheit 451?  Far too ironic.  The Death of a Salesman?  Too short to do any damage.  The Days of the French Revolution?  Hmm…

I purchased The Days of the French Revolution because the topic interested me, but I found it way too dense to be enjoyable.  After struggling through the prologue, it became nothing more than a prop to pick up smart girls at Starbucks.  When that didn’t work it became a bug smasher.

I stood in the bathroom again, clutching the large book in my trembling hands.  My nemesis hadn’t moved since I left.  I carefully planned my strike.  It would have to be quick.  It would have to be hard.  It would have to leave no chance for survival. I drew the book back behind my head.

“What are you doing?”  Asked the spider.

“Putting an end to you.”  I announced.  “You don’t belong in this apartment.”

“I live here, remember?”  The spider explained.  “You sublet this place to me.”

“You lie!”  I shouted.  “This is my home.  I still live here when I’m not at the office…but I guess I have been at the office quite a bit lately.  Come to think of it, I haven’t spent much time here recently…”

I lowered the book, realizing that the spider was right.  A month ago when work started getting crazy, I decided that, if I wasn’t going to be using my apartment, somebody else should.  So I put the word out and, sure enough, this spider showed up.  He did a good job keeping to himself.  In fact, this was the first time I’ve seen him since he moved in.  He only roamed around the house while I was gone or asleep, shooting little webs across my raised ceiling and making babies in the back of my closet.

It’s not the first time I’ve sublet my apartment to a bug.  When I returned home after two weeks in Massachusetts last April, there was a smaller spider hanging out next to my towel rack.  This one was far less scary.  As things got back to normal after a hectic travel schedule, I killed him and got on with my life.

Work has been constant lately, but it won’t be that way forever.  It will die down.  Everything will get back to normal eventually.  The stress will end and my reflection will go back to normal.  In the meantime, I came to the realization that I’m not ready to surrender my personal life to eight-legged critters.

“So listen…”  The spider started.  “While I have you here, we have got to do something about the thermostat.  You’ve been leaving it at a constant 72 degrees which is a little cool for my taste….”

But before he could finish, his life came to a sudden end.  Splattered under the full fury of the French Revolution.

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