Apr 08 2014

An Old Story…but absolutely true.

Published by at 8:59 pm under Personal

It was a stark and dormy night.

Basically, due to circumstances I won’t even begin to go into here, my junior year of college started with me homeless. My housing had fallen through to abovementioned complications, and I needed a place to live.

I went to school in rural Pennsylvania. I’m not going to tell you exactly where, as I’m sure I’m opening myself up to all sorts of lawsuits by even mentioning names. In any event, the bit you do need to know is that this particular part of Pennsylvania has the second highest incest rate in the United States. No shit. If you’ve ever wondered what the Deep Ones looked like in H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth, I have a pretty good idea.

I got the last available apartment in town. It was in a building that I later found out that my father had dubbed “The Tenement” (he had also gone to school in this town). There were five windows missing when I moved in. This was my first apartment. I will never forget it. I rented the apartment from Beverly B____. When I told people who I was renting from, I’d get the same reaction each time. People would shake their heads and smile at me.

Local legend has it that Bev’s mother never paid to have her delivered, either. I guess at that point, you can’t exactly “reposess” an infant and put it back. But I digress.

As much as I loved Kathy Bates in the movie version of Stephen King’s Misery, I have no choice but to believe that the character was based on Bev. Bev would disappear for days on end. My roomie and I could only figure she’d “gone to her laughing place”. Incidentally, Bev’s place smelled like a year’s worth of used pantyhose. That’s the only way I can begin to describe it. She was a large, greasy woman, missing a few fundamental chromosomes.

The day that I moved in, there was no electricity in my apartment. There was also no running water in the kitchen, and no shower. After 3 days of knocking on Bev’s door (her place was joined to the apartment building), I still was unable to find her to get her to throw the main breaker switch in the locked basement. I was coming back from class on the third day, and to my surprise the apartment building was surrounded by police cars, and several cops were pounding on Bev’s door. I grabbed the nearest undercover-narcotics-officer-along-for-the-bust and asked him what was going on. “Oh, Bev’s going in for tax evasion again.” I informed him that they were not taking her anywhere until she turned on the electricity in my apartment. He asked me with a rather bewildered look on his face if I was renting from her, and how long I’d been without power. I told him, and he just laughed. Fortunately, they made her turn on the power before they hauled her in.

Not long thereafter, Bev’s maintenance crew descended on the apartment building to begin repairs. Now around this time, I had also watched John Waters’ Pink Flamingos for the first time, and was amazed at the similarities between the people in that film, and the people I was dealing with in regards to the apartment. The maintenance crew consisted of a woman my roomie and I nicknamed ALF. For Alien Life Form. ALF had a chin that stuck out 8 inches (I’m not exaggerating) from the front of her face. ALF also had a daughter named Porky. Now lest you think we were being mean, that’s what ALF called her. I have no idea what her real name was. The third member of the crew was someone we dubbed “Crackers the Dog Boy”. All he did was woof. I never heard a single word come out of his mouth.

The repairs on the apartment were promptly ignored by the crew in favor of re-painting the trim at the bottom of the walls. Never mind that we had no shower. Never mind, that it was October, and we were still missing 5 windows. Never mind, that we had no running water in the kitchen, and had to do our dishes in the tub. Never mind, that the guy down the hall did not have a functioning toilet or shower, and had to use our bathroom. Goshdurnit, if that trim didn’t need painting! And more painting. And more painting. And even more painting.

I remember one day, Bev came knockin’ on our door, asking me if we’d heard any noises the night before. We hadn’t. According to her, Crackers The Dog Boy had been “prowling up on the roof trying to see her nekkid, and she had just gotten out of the bath, and slathered herself up with Vicks Vap-O-Rub!”

Even more disturbing, was that ALF kept trying to set me up with Porky. “Porky likes you. She thinks you’re cute.” *shudder*. But the kicker, was the day that Porky didn’t show up. “Betcher wonderin’ where Porky is!” ALF asked me. (“No, not really”, I wanted to reply). But before I could respond, came the words that haunt me to this day. “Porky don’t go outdoors no more. She’s afraid of rocks.”

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