I should probably start, first, by explaining that I’ve recently moved back to what I’ve long considered to be my hometown, Greensboro, NC. In the process, and in my haste to do this, I left a job, as well as my “Home in the Hills” in Black Mountain, without first locating employment. Little did I know at the time that the economy, coupled with my apparently limited skill-set, would work together conspiratorially to keep me in a state of seemingly permanent vacation… O, well.
Anyhow since I had anticipated something of a gap in employment, at least for a little bit while looking for a place to live, I chose a rental with a no term, week to week arrangement. This the most recent of my apparently never ending semi-transient living environments came with a built in set of roommates.
Now I’m not exactly a cake-walk to live with myself, just ask anyone who’s shared the luxury of that with me, but when you begin adding multiple other human life forms to a small living space which includes Me ,…well.~
My housemates and I have communal space in the dwelling that we share together including a living room, a dining room/kitchen, and cabinet/refrigerator storage space for food. As in any collective living environment, small disputes can, and do, crop up occasionally and when that happens we can usually talk with one another and resolve them peacefully and unemotionally …Usually.
Dirty dishes, pots and pans left in the sink, a stray cup with some petrified viscous-like residue lolling on a coffee table, strewn newspapers, magazines … typically it’s that type of thing that gets the ball rolling around here for obnoxious behind the scenes name-calling. Oftentimes the problem items will mysteriously get put away, which is all I really want to see accomplished anyway.
Since I began living here 3 months ago I’ve overheard quite a few conversations about some phantom food scavenger. It’s usually something fairly insignificant, some bread, a couple of pieces of cheese, maybe a soda. I always just kind of chuckled to myself particularly since The Phantom always seemed to have the good sense to stay well away from my commissary.
Fingers were pointed but always when whoever was suspected was well out of earshot. Inevitably different suspects were discussed depending on which subgroup was weighing in at the time. Some people here began squandering their non-refrigerated items behind the closed doors of their respective rooms in the hopes, I can only assume, that whoever this menace was lacked opposable thumbs for gripping doorknobs maybe. It was like the CIA speculating about some Mole in its midst, initially I just sat back and observed.
One of my housemates, we’ll call him Tripp, because, well because that’s his name and because outside of me, he’s the quickest one in the house to fan the flames of unrest that really need very little air for full blown combustion to begin with –that and I’m hopeful that by doing so more chaos will likely ensue.
Well, anyway, Tripp loves deli roast beef, and btw who doesn’t really. Sliced thin, fresh, rare as hell –it’s F’n delicious. A couple of weeks back I was sitting in the living room which adjoins the kitchen area minding my own business, which is, by the way fairly uncommon for me. All of a sudden I heard Tripp say, to no one in particular, “somebody’s been into my roast beef “, followed moments later by, “somebody’s been into my f’n cheese!”
Seriously it’s like Goldilocks popped into the frat house around here on any given day.
Anyhow, I got up from my little comfy spot on the couch and joined him in the kitchen to laugh at him and generally stir the pot a little, which incidentally is one of my many talents, and here just lately I’m getting lots of practice what with the phantom food thief terrorist stuff going on and all –plus I like to think of it kind of like a subversive verbal workout and I try to keep in shape sarcastically at least, if not muscularly. Anyhow he was pretty well all frothed up and it was hardly even sporting at that point to kind of kick him into more of a frenzy but I did what I could, what the hell.
Maybe about a week later I was sitting comfortably in the living room pretty late at night enjoying the quiet and watching Boardwalk Empire after everyone else had gone off to bed. The only ambient light on was coming from the television set.
All of a sudden the door off of the kitchen flies open and in struts T home from a late shift at work. I paused Boardwalk and went into the kitchen to talk to him because he generally cracks me up and seems to have the same kind of humor that I do which is really nothing to brag about if you’ve ever had the heart to spend any time with me at all, but I digress. As we’re talking about something at this point completely unmemorable but I’m sure very funny at the time, he begins to open his refrigerator (we have three) to start grabbing items for a midnight snack. Out comes a loaf of bread, some Dukes. We’re still talking, laughing about something, I can’t remember. He pulls open the crisper drawer at the bottom of the fridge and starts rummaging around for his sandwich stuff and comes out with this pathetic looking mostly air-filled deli Food Lion bag with one or two equally sad pieces of roast beef winking out of it.
You had to be there, it was Great!
The look on his face was just priceless, and by priceless I mean in the way that if I could somehow find a way to get at enough disposable income to be in a position to purchase those kinds of priceless looks for my own insatiable self-serving amusement I still wouldn’t ever have enough money to pay for that kind of swag because it so rarely exists in the real world kind of priceless.
Anyhow as I was trying to catch my breath from laughing and coughing spasmodically he reached back into this cheerless little crisper drawer and pulled out yet another mostly empty sack where cheese once not-so-long-ago held congress. I almost had a heart attack and honestly Tripp was laughing even harder than I was if that was even possible.
Well like I said, I almost died right there in the kitchen but when we both regained some sense of normal composure, our two-man ad hoc consensus seemed to be that whoever was secretly pilfering depressing Food Lion luncheon meat and dairy products would have to pay. In retrospect as funny as the moment was, and as just as I felt any kind of verdict against this cretin would be, with Tripp as the judge and with my satirical counsel, I should have known that the price was going to be hopelessly severe.
Now maybe I should also add that a few nights prior to this episode I had strolled into the kitchen to grab my box of Fresh Market Crispy Chocolate Chip cookies (-incredibly delicious but expensive as hell as cookies go). I’ve got most of my non-perishable items stashed on the top of one of our refrigerators and you’ve got to reach about head high in order to grab stuff off of the top of this perch. Well as I gripped this box and started to slide it off of the top where it was sitting I could tell that the weight just didn’t have the right tactile feel. So anyways once I had this bakery box in my grasp and closer to my line of sight I could see that the Al Zawahiri cookie thief faction had finally found my campsite. Whoever this sweet tooth Jihadist was they not only helped themselves to my cookies, they had the gall to actually put the box back where they had requisitioned it from, Empty! Really, there was an empty box with cookie smell in it where just previously it had cookie renters.
Anyhow at the point as I type this, Tripp has just recently left to go out of town to Maryland to assist in the opening of a new restaurant there. We had a discussion about some fairly subversive retribution techniques a couple of days before he left to go on this trip. The idea that he came up with involved, at first, simply moving his newest roast beef and cheese cache into the refrigerator that I use in some sort of a more passive tricky now-you-see-it- now-you-don’t kind of ploy designed to throw the enemy off routine, but really what’s the fun in that.
He kicked the idea around of salting his RB with various different obscene body related stuff –kind of Trojan Horseish(?) in my opinion, but still humorous as hell to talk about if you ask me.
The day before he left we were outside having a smoke just kind of chatting about what I can’t remember, something reprehensible but funny I’m sure. Anyhow as we were having this conversation and strolling around the yard we almost stepped on this recently deceased robin lying just at the base of a fairly old oak tree. An idea was spawned and quickly rejected as being just a wee bit too out there. As awful as the idea was it did have novelty and creativity on its side. Tripp was considering moving the bulk of his RB from the Food Lion marked bag that housed it into a separate ziplock baggie for future eating enjoyment and keeping just enough choice rare slices of RB to completely camouflage-wrap this newly found freshly inanimate bird in, on the hope that the sneaky Boar’s Head hamburglar-guy would come upon it and learn some hideous lesson! –Brilliant, but after some eye-watering laughter-choking speculation just a little too close to the fringe of horrid taste, pardon the pun.
Like I mentioned, at this point my scheming house-partner is just currently out-of-state …but, I was out for a walk and a smoke earlier this evening and while taking in the night air I happened upon the spot from the other day where the dead tree-chicken corpse had been discovered, … It has since vanished.
I was checking my phone some time after my excursion, I had left it on my night table before going outside, and on it was a text from my out-of-town friend.
“Feel free to help yourself to my roast beef and cheese,” it said.
I think I’ll stick with the Stouffers just to be on the safe side.