Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Biggest Shithole in Žižkov (Part 3)

Now that I had a new place, my priorities were three: find a replacement, get my deposit, and get the fuck out. On Sunday of that week, I took care of number one. The victim was some young Greek dude from Athens. Once he agreed to take the room, Junit disappeared on me. I texted him about the deposit and he said we’d meet the following day at 14:30. I was skeptical but I agreed. I told him he’d better have all my cash ready, but he didn’t reply.

The next afternoon came. On my way up to the flat, I caught Junit trying to dip out before our meeting time. I told him I wanted my money right then. He threw up his arms and started rambling about damages.

“What fucking damages?!” I said.

 “The couch has big hole. The carpet and floor have burn. Your desk has some marks.”

“What are you, a Japanese poet?”



“I don’t have time for these shits,” he barked. “Talk to Saafi about damages to agree what you vill pay.”


I left him on the street and went up to the flat. I found Saafi in the kitchen, wrapped in a blue sarong and thumbing garlic into a lamb shank. I asked her what the deal with the deposit was. She gave me a puzzled look and washed her hands.

“Didn’t you talk to my husband about this?”

“Yes! And he told me to talk to you.”

“Well, I guess I can tell you.”

“Tell me what?!”

“We can’t give you back the whole deposit. You’ve made too many damages.”

“Which damages are these exactly? Your husband recited a haiku instead of actually telling me.”

She dried her hands and flitted into the common area.

“There are burn marks on the carpet here,” she said, pointing to three tiny black dots. “And there is also one here in the couch. My husband says these are your fault. Is he right?”

It was true, these things were my doing. I had a hookah I liked to smoke out there when I was drunk and I’ll be damned if the little thing didn’t just spill a few lit coals every now and again. Still, the common area was a total dump. I could have let a herd of ponies stampede up in there and shit themselves to death and it wouldn’t have made a bit of difference. I rolled my eyes and smirked.

“Yeah, these are my fault,” I said. “So whaddaya want me to do, buy a new couch and install a new carpet? It’s just a few little burn marks. Christ, I already replaced this carpet once after my buddy burnt the first piece of crap.”

Saafi ran her long fingers through her wavy hair.

“Well, you can repair it?” she said. “I’ve found some leftover material from when you installed it.”

The thought of ripping out that carpet again made my toenails choke. I told her to show me the rest of the “damages” before I could make a decision. She led me to my room and started in. She pointed to a black smudge on the floor and a few pockmarks on the desk.

“Those were there before I got here,” I said.

“Oh really? And what about this?” she said, pointing out a frayed section of the rug.

“Jesus Christ, I don’t know. My chair may have done that but I can’t be sure. Anyways, are you going to try and pin every shit speckle and dead ant on me? This is getting ridiculous!”

“Hans, the truth of your damages is between you and God. If you are OK to neglect your holy duties then that is your choice.”


“I just mean God is watching you.”

“Is he now … Look, I don’t care anymore. The deposit I gave your husband was 7500 kc. Just nix 500 for the carpet, 500 for the couch and 500 for the horrendous display of negligence that is my room. Deal?”

She gave me a pitying look and clasped her hands.

“OK,” she said.

I collected my measly deposit and spent the next two days packing. I then celebrated my exodus with Bert through the weekend. That Monday, I went to Petr’s (and soon to be my) place. I signed the contract and dropped a few of my bigger bags off there. Instead of taking the bus back, I decided to walk around and explore the area. I found a small pub nearby that only served microbrews and a grocery store with better products than my crummy old Billa. I walked home smiling and packed the rest of my stuff for Bert’s. When I finished, I had a moment to myself. I ran my eyes over the contours of my room. The memories flooded my heart with sweet and painful water. I’d spent almost four years in that little hole. And even though its carpets were stained and walls were cracked and its furniture was rickety beyond belief, it still carried the laughter of a hundred good times, it still wore the cum, blood, spit and tears of all my exploits like a bum does his trusty old coat. My insides suddenly turned soggy. I buried my face in my pillow and cried.


Bert came by the next evening to help me move. I had a lot of junk, despite having dropped my big stuff off at Petr’s. I knew we’d have to take at least two trips. Since my funds were drained from moving, our only option was public trans. We grabbed up as much as we could and started off. I was carrying two giant backpacks (one in front, one in rear), two computers and a grocery bag filled with dishes. Bert was carrying two FRAKTA’s (71 liter IKEA bags) splitting at the seams with clothes, breakables, rugs, whatnot. We stomped down the stairwell, cussing and screaming and dragging all that shit. By an act of sheer will, we made it out the front door. On the waddle to the bus stop, the handles on my grocery bag ripped. I balanced it on top of my head carefully and stepped onto the bus. The adjacent passengers gawked at me like I had a cock growing from my chin.

After a full hour of tendon-snapping agony, we arrived at Bert’s. We dumped my things off there and left for the rest. On our way back to Žižkov, I got a text from Junit. He was demanding that I clean my room thoroughly before I leave.

“Oh fuck him,” Bert said.

I was tempted to write something to that effect. I refrained out of a desire to keep the peace. We arrived at the flat a few minutes later. Saafi was standing in the doorway of my room with a dustpan in one hand and half a metal broom in the other.

“These are for you,” she said. “I would appreciate it if you swept, especially under your bed.”

I snarled and took the items from her. I walked in my room and looked left. My bed was sans mattress and pulled to one side. A blanket of filth, speckled with candy, cracker and condom wrappers covered the floor underneath. I glared at Saafi and lifted my instruments.

“You really expect me to clean all that with these?” I said.

“Yes, I do.”

“Well, why can’t I just use the damn vacuum?”

“Because, it’s mine. And I don’t want you to break it.”

“Jesus Christ, Saafi, I won’t break it. Just please let me use it!”

She folded her skinny arms and pursed her lips.

“Sweep up all the big stuff first, then maybe.”

I wanted to tear my eyeballs out. I chucked the dustpan to the floor and started sweeping. Within seconds, big clouds of foulness mushroomed up around me. They crawled in my mouth and up my nostrils. They stung my eyes and gums. I moved furiously to get the job done. I could hear Bert snickering at me off in the corner. This lit my nerves on fire. I put my palm to the broom top and scraped it across the carpet.

“SON OF A BITCH!!!” I screamed.

A snag of metal had punched through my skin. I was dribbling blood from a sizable hole. I threw the broom against the wall and stamped my feet.


“Not until you get all that mess up with the dustpan,” she said, pointing.

“Are you kidding me? I have a hand full of blood and a face full of shit. Can’t you just help me out a little bit?”

“No. This is your mess, you clean it.”

“And what if I refuse?”

“That would be immoral!”


My irises cracked. The taste of cruelty slid over my tongue like bile. One more snooty remark and I’d have unleashed it on her like so many locusts from Beelzebub’s maw.  Fortunately for both of us, she had the mental wherewithal to keep her mouth shut. I swept up all the filth into the dustpan and handed it to her.

“You do the vacuuming,” I said.

With that, Bert and I left. As we walked down the stairs and out into the open air I could feel the claws of that poisonous flat unhooking themselves from my organs. A wave of pure relief washed over me. Four years of compounded anger started to split and crumble. I breathed in deeply and let my arms sag. Bert just threw his head back and laughed.

“That place sucked ass till the very last minute!” he cried.

“It did, indeed.”


Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Biggest Shithole in Žižkov (Part 2)

I stared my flat-search that Monday. I wanted something clean and quiet for 8000 crowns (about 400 bucks) max and no more than 2 flat-mates. I looked around in Žižkov first. When I couldn’t find anything there, I branched out. I saw two places in Vinohrady (the next hood over) that looked decent. One was a studio for 7500 kc a month and the other was a flat-share for 6600. I contacted both owners. They replied quickly and we set up viewings for the following day. I texted Junit right after that. I told him I had some important news about the coming month’s rent. He said he’d be home in a few. Five minutes later he came stomping through the front door. I approached him as slipped out of his giant trench coat. Before he could kick his boots off and kill me with his nasty feet, I told him.

“I want you to get my deposit ready,” I said. “I’m moving out.”

His red hair brightened.

“When?!” he barked.

“I’ve paid till the 23rd of this month (September). I’ll be out by then.”

“Fine. Are you vill leave Prague?”

“No, just here.”

“Ugh, ok I vill begin the searching for new guy.”

“What about my deposit?”

“Yeah, yeah, I give you later.”

I thought about pressing him for the money. I still had three weeks and change so I decided to let it slide. I grinned cheaply at him and walked off. The stench of cuticle-rot followed me down the hall.


At 9:00 the next morning, I viewed the first flat. It was a tiny dump and it stunk of balls. On top of that, the owner was a prick. I thanked him for showing me the place and split.

The next flat was close by. It was on a quiet street in a pretty white building. I sent the owner (Julia) a text.  She came down quick and opened the door. She was wearing stonewashed jeans and a cotton blouse. Her silver hair was in a tight pony tail and I could tell by the shine of her cleavage that she had fake boobs. She wrinkled her face into a smile. We introduced ourselves and I followed her up the stairs. We stopped at the second floor and she opened the door to her flat. I immediately smelled homemade cookies … then animal urine.

“Good God,” I mumbled.

I followed her in and slipped my shoes off. Despite the smell, the place wasn’t half bad. It had a big kitchen and living room. Its floors and carpets were clean. Julia motioned to her right and opened a door.

“This will be your room,” she said, in heavily accented Czech.

I looked inside. It was a nice room with a blue foldout couch. The bookcase in the corner was filled with peeling first editions. A plant like a giant octopus sat on the windowsill. I could see myself writing there. I turned around and asked her the price.

“6600 crowns a month,” she said. “This includes everything.”

“Not bad.”

“Yeah, I had to lower it because my Sabrina moved out suddenly. She was the tenant before you but she hurt her ankle badly and had to move back to Ostrava. Now it’s just me and little Vaclav.”

“Vaclav is your son?”

“No, my son lives in Australia with his wife. This is his room you’ll be taking.”

 “OK. So then Vaclav is your husband?”

“Well, yes … but he died years ago, so …”

Julia looked like she was about to cry. I didn’t want to pry any further so I changed the subject. I asked her to show me the rest of the flat. She showed me the kitchen first. There was a small table there with two wine bottles and an ashtray on it. Dried paprika and garlic hung around the stove. The walls were yellow with love. It reminded me of my grandmother’s kitchen. I could see Julia in there cooking for me. I could see us drinking and chatting about life. I smiled and nodded her on. She led me to the living room next. It had a big flowery sofa and a widescreen TV. Off in the corner was a tall bookcase. I spotted a book I liked on the shelf nearest the windowsill. I reached for it and Julia freaked.

“Watch out!” she cried.

I jumped back and looked to my left. There behind the see-through curtains was an enormous iguana. Its skin was lime green with black splotches. It was peeling everywhere and covered with warts. It glared at me with bloodshot eyes. I flashed it the finger and it snapped at it.

“You must be careful with my Vaclav,” she said. “He bites!”

“This is Vaclav?!”

“Yes,” she said, picking him up. “And he only loves me.”

She cradled him like a newborn and nuzzled the crown of his warty head. He poked his bottom lip out pompously and slipped me a downcast eye.

“Anyways,” she said, putting him back on his windowsill. “You don’t have to worry about him. He only walks around the flat at night.”

“Great,” I said. “Got any more surprises?”

She scratched her neck.

“Well … just one. But she’s the sweetest little girl. I know I said it was only me and Vaclav here but Sabrina found her in the gutter so she really isn’t mine. Anyways, let me show you.”

She opened the door to her bedroom. There was a king-sized bed in there with a fluffy white comforter. A large lump was purring underneath it. Julia reached in and pulled it out.

“This is ‘No-Namey’” she said. “Isn’t she precious?”


The thing was ball of unruly fur-licks with an anus for a face. It looked like a shrunken mob boss in a secondhand mink.

“’Precious’ doesn’t leap to mind,” I mumbled.

Julia petted the cat and laid it on the bed. Then she walked me to the door. As I put my shoes on she chatted me up.

 “Where are you from?” she asked.

“California. But I’ve lived here for almost four years.”

“Oh, well you speak nice Czech.”

“Thanks. And where are you from?”

 “Hungary. But my husband was Czech so I moved here 30 years ago with him. It was communism during that time so we could only stay in communist countries. But I wanted to go to California and see the national parks and all the animals. I love animals. Before I retired I was a vet … What do you do?”

“I teach during the day. But mainly I’m a writer.”

“A writer?” she said. “My husband was a writer …”

She stepped into me and grinned. Her teeth were booger green. The stench of Marlboros and vinegar reeked from her gums. I squinted my eyes and smiled painfully. She clenched her index finger and raised her shoulder to her cheek. Despite the hideous state of her mouth, she was pretty for an old lady. To add to this, her place was very homey (minus the pets). I thought about how I missed my own home. I imagined Julia bringing me plates of chicken paprikash while I wrote. I imagined her folding my clothes and laying them out neatly across my bed. I imagined her giving me hugs and telling me to be careful before I went out on weekend nights. Then I imagined this …

I’d come back one Friday night filthy drunk and horny. I’d stagger into the living room and find Julia on the couch. She’d be sipping sherry with No-Namey on her lap and Vaclav around her shoulders. One thing would lead to another and we’d all end up on the big bed – me taking Julia from behind while No-Namey shivered under the covers and Vaclav nipped up angrily at my swinging balls. The next day things between us would devolve into this strange oedipal relationship. Julia would be icing my crotch with one hand and spoon-feeding me goulash with the other, while I penned out sentences and tried not to get a stiffy.

I swallowed these images with a grimace. I thanked Julia for showing me the room and told her I’d get back to her.


The next week brought zilch. Not only did I not find a place, but I spent two full days showing my room to idiots under the supervision of Junit’s annoying wife, Saafi. The two of us must have shown the place to a dozen different people. Only one - a delicate little Thai boy with a feline smile – seemed at all interested. The next day he called saying he’d take the place. But unsurprisingly, Junit tossed him on the shit pile because he suspected the guy of not liking vaginas. This meant more flat-searching and more room-showing. Thankfully, that Monday, I found a nice looking place in Vršovice (Bert’s new hood) for 6 G’s a month. I texted the guy (Pavel) and asked for a viewing. He told me to come by at 17:45 that day.

After work, I took the tram down there. I found the building near a street corner not three blocks from Bert’s. I look up Pavel’s name on the tenant list and buzzed him. He came running down the stairwell and yanked open the door. He was thin as wires and wore box-cut glasses. His skin was wrinkly orange and his teeth, rum-brown. He gave me a jittery handshake and introduced himself. Then he walked me up five flights of stairs.

“I forgot to mention we have no elevator,” he said.

“No problem. I need the exercise.”

We got to the door and went inside. He showed me the room first. It had a nice big desk and plenty of book space. The closest was huge and the bed wide. I liked the room right off. Pavel took me to the window and opened it.

“You said you were a writer?” he asked.


“Well as you can see, it’ll be very quiet here for you.”

I looked out the window. There was an empty courtyard ringed with flowers. I didn’t see a single shittin’ dog anywhere. I grinned sweetly.

“Does anyone else live in the flat?” I asked.

 “Just my girlfriend,” he said. “But we live in the opposite half and we keep to ourselves.”

“OK,” I said. “I’ll take it.”



“Wonderful! Now there’s just a couple things …”


The couple things weren’t too bad; no cooking smelly food, and to do laundry it was an extra 200 kc a month. I told him this was fine. He said he had a few more viewers that evening but he would let me know his final decision by 9:00 pm. We shook hands and he let me out. When I got on the street I had mixed feelings. Part of me felt this was a wise choice. Living with an older couple would certainly be a quiet environment, perfect for writing. Then again, I could see myself getting stifled and bored. The party animal and the hermit in me were strangling each other simultaneously while doing somersaults down a hill. In the end, the hermit won. I decided that if Pavel and his lady friend would have me, I’d take the place.


When I got home, I knocked on Junit’s door. I asked him about the deposit and he scowled.

“When I vill find anyone you vill get money.”

“Once you find someone?! Saafi told me the Thai guy wanted the place but you refused him because you thought he was gay.”

“Of course I did this!”


“Because. I don’t want to live with Asian Gay! Would you?”

“Man, I wouldn’t give a shit.”

Junit choked on his words.

“A-anyways,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter. I can choose who vill living in this flat. It vill be either when I find anyone or thirty days after you are telling me you leaving, which vill be first October, then you vill getting deposit.”

“But I think I found a place. I need the money now.”

“I’m sorry, but this is normal deal.”

He slammed his door. I flipped him off and walked back to my room.

9:00 pm came and went. I still hadn’t heard from Pavel so I texted him. He texted back saying he’d tell me his decision the next morning. I decided to set up another viewing just in case. I found a flat on the other side of Žižkov with a fully-furnished room for rent.  I texted the guy (Petr) and he told me to come by at 8 pm the next day.

The following morning I got another text from Pavel. In it he was asking me for an extra 1000 kc a month. His reasoning was that I was a writer, which meant I’d be home more and thus using more utilities. I told him this was nonsense, as I had a fulltime teaching job and would be out during weekdays. He apologized for not having considered this. He said the room was still mine for the original price if I wanted it. I told him I did and that I’d come by for the keys the next day. I neglected to mention my other viewing.


At 7:45 I took the bus to North Žižkov. I got off at my stop and after some effort, found the right building. I quickly texted Petr. As I waited for him, I prayed he wouldn’t be a crumbling old fart or a honking douche bag. He came down five minutes later and greeted me. He was smartly dressed and had a shaved head. He couldn’t have been older than thirty. I breathed a sigh of relief as he led me up the stairs.

His place was on the third floor. It had a small hallway and a kitchen with the bare essentials. There was a bathroom with a new washing machine in back. The shower was a piece of shit but at least it ran hot water. After the grand tour, Petr showed me the room. It was a bit narrow for my taste but the hardwood floors were nice and the bed looked comfy. I asked the final price.

“5500 kc,” he said.

“And this includes everything?”

“Yes. But you have to pay a month in advance.”

Ok. Well, what about the noise level? There won’t be a bunch of barking dogs or screaming drunks outside my window, will there?”

“This is still Žižkov, but don’t worry, we’re on a pretty quiet street. Plus, I visit my girlfriend in Moravia during the weekends so you’ll have the place to yourself.”

I frowned big with satisfaction.

“I’ll take it,” I said.


We agreed to meet the following week. I would sign the contract then and hand over the deposit. The only catch was, I couldn’t move in till the end of the month. This meant I’d be spending a full week on Bert’s couch. Under normal circumstances, this could be fun. But with all my shit packed into his room it could easily turn into a nightmare. I thought about this as I left the building. I also thought about having told Pavel I’d be by for the keys the next day. I had promised two different people that I’d take their rooms-for-rent. I was caught in the middle of a tug-of-war with the endearing black-hole that was Žižkov on one side and the prospect of a new beginning amidst two old fucks in Vršovice on the other. I meandered down Koněvova – Žižkov’s filthy, neon-slicked artery. I looked up meekly at the TV Tower. It just stood there in its tall, crooked ugliness, blinking its red eye at me. My head slowly folded in on itself. I collapsed on the steps of the police station and thought hard.  An answer finally came.

“I gotta call Bert,” I said.

He answered the phone with a grunt. There was a strange echo to it.

“Where the hell are you?” I asked.

“In the bathroom taking a shit.”


I told him my predicament with much angst and detail. He listened quietly between plops. When I finished, I heard him flush. Then he broke it down for me.

“First off,” he said. “Fuck that old couple. They’re just gonna tack on charges and clip your party balls. Second off, FUCK THAT OLD COUPLE! Why would you want to live with them anyways?”

“Well, I need a change …”

“Dude, just moving outta that shithole and away from Junit is huge change. Why would you wanna go ruin it by shacking up with a buncha’ damn geriatrics? That shit’ll gettem within a week. I’m tellin’ya, take the Žižkov place. You belong there, bro.”

The motherfucker was right. I thanked him for the advice and we hung up. I then texted Pavel and told him I wouldn’t be taking the room in Vršovice after all. He never responded.

Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Biggest Shithole in Žižkov (Part 1)

A dog barked.

The sound blew through my window like a rock and knocked me upside the head.

There was another bark.




Soon my entire room was filled with barks. They were bouncing up and down and crossways, smacking into everything. I stuffed wads of toilet paper in my ears and sandwiched my head with a pillow. The barks wiggled their way through the cotton and paper and bore into my brain. I clenched my teeth and crunched my eyes shut. My face grew red and swollen as a cherry. When I could no longer take it, I shot up outta bed. I ran over to my window and grabbed my rifle. I saw the culprit tied to a tree in front of the Billa (grocery store) across the street. He was a scrawny lab with a crooked tail and floppy ears. I opened my window and took aim. His dumb little head was right in my crosshairs. I felt the sick joy of murder slowly filling my stomach. I released the safety and pulled the trigger.


The bullet zipped through the air and popped against the dog’s skull. He yelped once and flipped over. As he laid there kicking, a pool of blood bloomed around his head. A little girl screamed and an old lady fainted. Just then, the couple who owned the dog came running out of the grocery store. When they saw their precious mutt, twitching and bleeding out, they freaked.

“Who the fuck did this?!” the man cried.

I smiled and popped a round off at his feet.

“Up here!” I yelled.

The man jumped back and looked up. When he saw me his tiny eyes glittered with fear. I aimed at one and fired it black. This set my alarm off. I opened my eyes and looked over. I saw my cell phone blinking and vibrating next to me on the bed. The dog was still barking outside. My flat-mate “Junit” (previously referred to as “Fuckface”) clicked on the washing machine. His wife screamed something at him from the kitchen. He screamed something back and slammed a door. My entire room was now a circus of noise. Sleep was a total impossibility. I grabbed my cell and turned off the alarm. I punched out a text and sent it to Bert. It was Saturday afternoon and we’d both been out drinking till dawn. This meant pho at our favorite place in Žižkov followed by tons of “chucking” (lounging) and watching “pussies” (movies). I told him if he didn’t respond within ten minutes I was coming over. He missed the deadline, so I threw on my clothes, laced my shoes and hit the door.

Bert’s was a good fifteen minutes away on foot. I normally hated the walk there but this time I had two reasons for not minding it. First, I was pumped about waking Bert’s drunk ass up.  Second, homeboy had told me the night before that his living situation was getting “extra special” as of late.

Bert lived with the skuzzy manager of our favorite local dive. He’d moved in with him after breaking up with his girlfriend Pavla in March. Despite the flat being a bit of a dump, things were OK there for a while. But as the months went by, the place got rattier and rattier and Mirek (his flat-mate) got weirder and weirder. It was the middle of June and I’d be heading for the states soon. I was dying to have one last look at his flat because, as Bert put it, “I’m now living in the biggest shithole in Žižkov.”

I arrived at his shabby building at 14:30. A gang of bald-headed construction workers were jack-hammering the sidewalk in front of it. I sidestepped their cracks and went inside. I climbed the rail-free stairwell two flights and banged on Bert’s door. I heard him shuffle, cough and gag. He opened up a minute later in a pair of dirty nut-huggers.

“Watch your foot there, beef-cheeks,” I said, pointing.

“Oh shit.”

Bert lifted his foot from the mouth of a pizza box underneath. A glob of congealed cheese clung to his sole. He snatched it off and chucked it to the floor.

“GOD, this place is a fucking piece of crap!”

I chuckled and pushed the door open. I was expecting the usual piles of dirty dishes and clothes. What I saw was nothing short of flabbergasting. Bert led me down the hallway to hell, one jiggling butt cheek at a time.

“Shitheads were doing construction last night again,” he said, tossing his hand in the air.“Howdaya like what they’ve done with the place!”

There were chunks of concrete strewn everywhere. The tub was filled with busted sheetrock and the walls were baring their pipes. The contours of the kitchen were caked in grey dust. A rock had fallen from the bathroom ceiling and landed smack on the toilet lid, cracking it in half. I thinned my lips and tried not to laugh. The state of Bert’s room made it tough. Kebab wrappers and beer bottles littered his entire floor. His couch was piled high with filthy laundry and his bed looked like a walrus had slept in it. Atop his only pillow was the jewel in the shit-crown – a lopsided burger with a long pickle slice hanging from its single bite-mark like a tongue. On sight of this, I collapsed to the floor and hyperventilated with laugher. Bert just stood there scowling.

“Huh huh … huh how the fuck do you live like this?!” I cried.

Bert fished a cigarette from his ashtray and lit it.

“That’s just it,” he said, inhaling. “I can’t live like this. Not anymore. I mean, if it were just the construction I could handle it. But there hasn’t been internet since I got here. Plus, Mirek just blows up waaaay too much. You know he had a fucking orgy again in his room last night?!”

“Haha, really? Was it the crippled lady and her daughter again?”

“No man, this time he brought home some bar hag with a missing tooth, which wouldn’t have been so bad but he had Dalibor with him too.”


“Yeah, you know the guy from Pavla’s birthday party with the gold teeth and the spiky hair?”

“Jesus, that guy joined in?”

“That’s the thing, man. I don’t think he joined in. I know what Mirek sounds like when he fucks and I only heard him and the girl. I think Dalibor was just in there watching.”

“Well, then it wasn’t an orgy.”

“Oh whatever. It was fucking disgusting is what it was. And to top it off, Dalibor came knocking on my door all sweaty at 6:00 am, asking for me Kleenex. Serious, dude. When I leave for the states in a week I’m outta this place for good.”

“Yeah? Well, where are you gonna stay when you come back in August?”

“I don’t know. Cool if I crash in your room while I look for a new flat? You’ll be in L-town still and I promise to be out by the time you get back.”

“Christ, I guess.”


The weeks in Livermore sped by. On a night in late July, Bert came by my folks’ for the keys. I handed them off to him with a warning.

“Junit’s extra touchy these days,” I said. “Don’t get in his way.”

“Oh fuck him.”

“I’m serious, Bert. Ever since you destroyed our floor with those hookah coals he hasn’t cared much for you. Now he’s got his wife living there and he’s on edge. When he sees you he’s not gonna like it. Just keep a low pro and be chill.”

“I will, man. Don’t worry.”

“I hope so. Cuz any bullshit that happens between you guys, I’m gonna hafta clean up.”

“Ait, ait.”

We said our goodbyes and Bert took off. The next day he flew to Prague. The following afternoon I got a Facebook message from Junit. It read:

“Hi, who is in ur room?”
I cringed and told him. He flipped.
“You never told me is this guy! I don’t like him and I wouldn’t ever choose him as a flat mate … I will see but if I don’t like it, I will make a problem.....”
Just then Bert got online. I told him Junit was being cock about the whole thing and he laughed.
“Well, I’m just about to hop in the shower,” he said. “How ‘bout afterwards I kick open his door butt naked and rape his ass in front of his wife.”
“I doubt that’ll help things.”
“Alright, alright. I’ll knock on his door later and just tell him I’m here and that everything’s cool.”
“Thank you.”
“ … Then I’ll rape his ass.”
“Hahaha, Ok man, have a good one.”
I prayed for the best. A few days went by and I didn’t hear much. One morning I got up early to write. As I clicked away, a message from Bert popped up.
“Ur flatmate’s a psycho,” it read.
I rolled my eyes and asked what happened. Bert lit into his keyboard straight off.
“The day after our last convo I tried to make up with him. I saw his light was on and his door was half open so I knocked on it a little and he fucking freaked out and started swearing at me and slammed the door in my face. Then he came in later and apologized and I thought shit would be cool but tonight I went to his crappy-ass bar and he came in drunk and was giving me all dirty looks. I tried to invite him for a beer and he was like ‘Fuck you! I’ll never be your friend!’ and all kinda horrible shit. I seriously almost punched him right there in his own bar. Fuckin’ guy’s a psycho. I’m talkin’ multiple personalities or something.”
“Well why the fuck did you go to his bar!? I told you to stay away from him.”
“I was drunk and the place is open late. Anyways, I thought we were cool.”
“You can’t think of him like you think of other people. He’s an asshole through and through. You expecting him to be decent and then being surprised when he’s not, is like biting into a piece of shit and then going ‘God, that’s disgusting!’ The guy sucks and he always will. Just stay away from him, find a place, and get the hell outta there.”
Bert said he would do his best. A week later he found a place. I flew to Prague and we crashed the night there. The next morning we flew to Bulgaria. We met up with three other “Chucks” (good ol’ boys) from Livermore. For seventeen days, the five of us explored the most remote, beautiful, war-torn regions of the Balkans. On our last day we were sitting in the airport in Sofia (Bulgaria). As we waited for our boarding call, Bert looked over at me.
“You really gonna go back to Junit and that fucking piece of shit flat?” he asked.
I looked down at my hands
“I don’t know, man,” I said. “It’s such a hassle to move.”
“Dude, whatever! I’ve done it five times since I’ve been in Prague. And I’ll do it again if that place I’m in now turns out to suck. Seriously Hans, you gotta move. I was at your flat two weeks and I couldn’t wait to get out. You’ve been there four years. I don’t know how you stand it!”
At that moment, I didn’t know either. I just felt a sickness like rotted seafood growing inside my stomach. I thought about all the shit I’d hafta deal with when I got back – the barking dogs, the slamming doors, the howling elevator, the creaky floors. Then I thought about the biggest kernel in the turd pile: Junit.  Before he got shacked up, the man was at least a character. His hard-drinking, whore-mongering antics were enough writing fodder to fill a dozen books. The minute his wife moved in though, the high-powered scoundrel in him packed up and split. What remained was a tall, cranky shell of a man, haunting a flat whose dangerous magic had all but vanished. I grabbed a pen and scrawled something across my fist. It was one word:
Note: I reserve the right to occasionally alter the character names, descriptions, and/or event details in my posts for the purposes of identity protection and “fluidity of story.” If this puts a kink in your panties, read someone else’s blog, homey.