A Short Story of Thankful Eviction


I’m slowly walking home, and I’m nervous. In a neighborhood of verdant trees, colorful flowers and moderately-priced homes, I round the corner and mutter a soft prayer, “Please God, don’t let her be there.” One block away though, I see it: the cobalt blue Ford Taurus of my nightmares. Janet is here, and with her an Iranian immigrant named Cyrus who has come to see the house. He might rent my room. Janet has put him to work.

I don’t like Janet. In fact, my dislike borders on hatred. Through a simple loophole, the landlady who calls herself the “absentee roommate” shows up unannounced at all hours. She walks into my bedroom when I think I’m alone. She leaves the front door open and lets my cat get out. She stinks up the bathroom then yells at me for not arranging the couch pillows correctly, all while the stench of her excrement wafts into the living room and up my nostrils.

Cyrus looks at me strangely. I don’t like him either. He is guilty by association and I’m in a bad mood. Janet is barking orders, taking full advantage of a man who is clearly trying to make a good first impression. Cyrus is dressed in neatly-pressed slacks and a button down shirt that looks expensive. Janet has him changing dirty screen windows.

The landlady gave me a 30-day eviction notice the week before. She called me a liar and a con artist. There were fresh grass clippings on the floor from Sage, my roommates’ dog. Somehow it was my fault. When she saw the trash can underneath the sink nearly full, she almost started to cry. It would be nice, I think, while I’m berated like a child, to be a lesser man, to wield power and possess no moral code. Perhaps Janet could wake up tomorrow morning in the trunk of a car, kicking and screaming in vain as my henchmen dump her off in the middle of the Mojave desert. I’m jolted back by a voice like the squeal of an engine with a loose alternator belt: "You have to leave," she says, to which I retort, “You can’t kick me out, I was leaving anyway.”

Weeks later I’m taping up boxes and meticulously cleaning when I hear a knock on the front door. It’s Cyrus. He wants to know what I think about Janet. On the neatly trimmed front lawn, we talk for over an hour. We share an orange. Cyrus has a degree in Psychology, and he thinks Janet might be nuts. I let loose, and tell Cyrus every pertinent story I can recall. The time I left a dish in the sink. The time I left a book on the table. The time I set the thermostat for 66 instead of 65. And how much I loathe living in this museum she calls a home. We shake hands and exchange numbers. Cyrus declines the room. Not a bad day.

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Comments 14 comments

Artisan Walker profile image

Artisan Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Je-sus!!  What a spawn of Satan!  I'm not sure, but I think what this creature is doing to you is illegal.

Legal or not, I hope you are still moving, and I hope you can press charges ... or at least report the bitch.

Good hub!  ;-)


jreuter profile image

jreuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks AW, I've long since moved on, this was last summer. She tried to screw me out of my security deposit too (big surprise), but my attorney put a quick end to that. I'm trying to branch out into some different styles and genres of writing, hence this short, non-history/travel piece. Glad you liked it!


Artisan Walker profile image

Artisan Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Glad you sicced an attorney on her. I'd consider posting a warning notice about her in Craigslist too, but then you might be hit with a slander suit.

I did like this. I love a good, short hub ... although I rarely do them myself. Weird.


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

Some how J I can't imagine you sounding like the squeal of an engine with a loose alternator belt. lol.


jreuter profile image

jreuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Haha, well, I guess that's a little misleading, actually I meant her voice. But now that I re-read it, I see why you got that impression. So thanks for 1. pointing out a confusing portion of my hub, and 2. Not thinking my voice would sound like the squeal of an engine with a loose alternator belt. I'm happy to say it doesn't (to me at least, yikes).


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

Ya, I'm guessing warm sexy voice with a laugh behind it. But then I have an over active imagination. ;)


jreuter profile image

jreuter 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

I'm blushing. I definitely like to laugh, and the rest of your estimation sounds great too. lol.


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 7 years ago from Near the Ocean

Mmmm, if you blush that easily, may I suggest you don't read any of my hubs. Specifically don't read Lollipop. (yes I'm baiting you, sly aren't I?)


ladypatience profile image

ladypatience 6 years ago from Missouri

I just about died reading this! I felt so bad for you. I'm catching up on all your others hubs. I like, keep writing.


bladesofgrass profile image

bladesofgrass 6 years ago from The Fields of Iowa

What a nightmare! Happy to hear you got rid of your anal landlord. People never cease to amaze me on how they believe they have the right to do whatever they want. Good riddance to the crazy woman. Halarious Hub..I will definitely be looking forward to reading more of your work. Take care :)


Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

This would definitely NOT be someone I could live within 100 yards of. Though, if she even remotely resembled the devil dressed girl in the picture...

Ahem. ;)


jreuter profile image

jreuter 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Hmm...I missed these comments somehow! Thanks ladypatience, bladeofgrass and Springboard! Oh, and yeah Springboard, the pic I had up was just WAY too flattering to Janet, so I chose a more appropriate one. ;)


Lone Ranger 4 years ago

I'm glad things are now looking up for you, my boy!

I think, however, there are many "Janets" still roaming our country and I know I've rented from a few.

Best wishes and be well - L.R.


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Jason,

You didn't, by any chance, produce the above drawing as an artistic interpretation of Janet's likeness, and then supplied Janet with this realistic rendition as a gift along with your rent check?

If so, then perhaps we have discovered the schism between you and this otherwise, lovely lady. :0)

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