First day at new digs. I was moving in. My hands are full and I’m trying to negotiate my way through three dogs and, at last count, three cats. The harpy is on the front lawn watching my trials:
“The cat got out. Get the cat. No! Don’t walk there I planted grass seed in that patch of dirt.”
She didn’t thank me for getting the cat.

Third day. I paid half my rent by withdrawing money from an ATM but couldn’t access the rest of the money until the bank opened on Monday. On Monday as I walked through the door after a looooooonnng day of work:
“Got my money.”
That’s it. I’m not leaving out any opening comments like, “Hello. How was your day.”

Third day again, after paying the remainder of the rent because, yes, I did get her money:
“My friend Pete is sleeping over. I hope you don’t mind. He has to go to court tomorrow.”
Pete is a homeless drunk who, unbeknownst to me, occasions this “clean and sober” house. Apparently, I share a bathroom with him.

Today: “We don’t want you to have your window open. We control the air-conditioning and heating with the thermostat.”

I’ve lived here for about a week now and these are the only conversations I’ve had with the harpy (as I’ve taken to calling her, among other monikers). Otherwise, she ignores me. The rest of her time is spent chastising her decrepit husband. Pleasantries seem to tax her humorless faculties. Only until she invents fault in others does she come to life. It’s then that she hands down judgment in a voice that makes jagged glass dragged across a chalkboard sound like a Vivaldi concerto. The twisted vowels and predatory diphthongs are enough to leave an abscess on the soul. I guess it’s a small blessing that she doesn’t talk to me more often.

Tonight I want to drink. Not because the demons are screaming. Not because I crave the evil kiss. Not even because I’m an alcoholic. No. I want to drink because I want to drown out the wretched harpy. Unfortunately, drinking doesn’t make me deaf or compliant. If it did I’d be halfway through a fifth of Makers as I write this, addiction or no.

Alas, bourbon will not salve my flayed ear drums or assuage my abused spirit. All I can do is hide in my room with my headphones on … and the window open.

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