Even professionals need roommates in this town if they want to live anywhere close to the action. He’s been gone a month and now I need a new one, but only freaks are responding. You’d think with the rent I’m charging they’d self-select, but everybody thinks they can afford it. Yesterday I came across the neatly stacked packet of little pink phone message notes he left behind. They read like a short novel of the life I should be living, instead of interviewing future deadbeats. I could kill him. Each page announces my entire name—first name, middle name and last—plus the date and precise time a call came, in meticulous block letters. He’s moved in with my ex-girlfriend. He’s taken the job I was after. The notes are in chronological order, beginning with the first invitation to interview with the firm I should be working for now. Please return call about Friday availability, it says, Sorry about your flu. Rich with invention, the notes allude to illnesses I never had, come from people I’ve never met but nevertheless disappointed, and detail several ways I let my girlfriend down without knowing. They fell like confetti around the apartment as I tore through the stack, looking for evidence of where I could find the sonofabitch now and wreak a little justice. He’s already left the job I never got. My ex left town without a forwarding address. And then the one from my daughter stopped me dead, and another, and another—trouble at school, more trouble, wishes she lived closer, why haven’t I called, am I OK, tell me more about the guy who keeps answering the phone, will I still be able to visit on Saturday, a Saturday three weeks ago. And now she’s not answering her phone.

Copyright © May 08, 2007 David Hodges