Why did my roommate’s girlfriend misuse the jars? She was no doubt marking territory and expressing contempt. Also, an element of slothfulness entered the equation. She would leave a jar in the bedroom so she wouldn’t have to walk to the bathroom, even though she didn’t have to make a long trek; it was a two-bedroom apartment. I finally confronted her when I caught her with a partially full jar.
Her name was Maggie. My roommate, Morgan Treadway, was madly in love with her. Who could blame him? She was a tall, short-haired, willowy, young, blonde. She was also mentally quite sharp if odd and about as trustworthy as a cobra. She had a killer smile—the kind that said two things to a man at once—“you are the only man in the universe for me,” but also “if you believe that, you sorry jerk, I have no respect for you at all.” Her father was a minister.
Morgan’s personal philosophy centered on decay; he claimed that was the only certainty in the universe. I looked at it as an odd form of philosophic reductionism. Morgan and Maggie worked together at the Library of Congress. He was not the best employee, I’d say, suffering as he did from a lack of work ethic. He came home one evening and told me he’d spent the entire afternoon “kissing Maggie in the stacks.” Not long after, she came to live with us.
Unfortunately, Maggie decided early on she hated me. She didn’t just find me irksome or annoying. No, she had a deep abiding hatred for me. Her feelings stemmed largely from my personality which, in fairness, did at times leave something to be desired. One guy described it as manic-depressive, which people now refer to as bipolar. I’m overstating the case, perhaps, but she hated me nonetheless.
Eventually, my roommate delivered the bad news. I had to move out because Maggie didn’t like me. He described in graphic terms what he could do to Maggie and not do to me and that’s why I had to leave. There was nothing I could do about it. His name was on the lease—it was his place. The night I left he threw open the window of the third-floor walkup on Capitol Hill and screamed in his crazy, menacing Jersey accent,
“What about da keys?” he bellowed repeatedly. He wanted my copies of the keys.
I ignored him. When I arrived at the house where I was going to live next, I put his keys in a vice and smashed them in half with a hammer. Both Morgan and I were extremely mature.
(Submitted in the 500-word maximum category.)