by: Andrew Wayne Adams
“I need to eat to be happy. I need to eat souls like yours. I also like cold cuts and ice cubes. I am remorseless.”
That was what the garbage disposal said to Ian on his third night in his new apartment. Two nights before, when he turned on the shower for the first time (he had neglected to check it before signing the lease), ground beef came out.
The tub drained into the apartment below, where a hungry man lived, but Ian ignored that. He called his landlord on a rotary phone, and when he put the receiver to his ear, ground beef came out.
“The cracks in the walls are a map. Have you any porridge to pour down here? Imitation grits?” Fingers reached up through the garbage disposal. Ian turned on the hot water, blistering hot, and hammered at the fingers with a giant spoon. He flicked the switch that worked the garbage disposal, but this only lowered a disco ball in the closet.
The fingers retreated back down the drain, and a mouth took their place. It had two rows of teeth. Ian remembered his landlord, the sole time they met. The man had been chewing bubblegum, the pink rubber strung between two rows of teeth. Ian had signed the lease.
The hungry man was his landlord.
“I must have comfort food,” said the garbage disposal. “My food the comfort of others.” Ian thought you could interpret that in two ways.
He put a dirty plate over top of the drain.
Going for a beer, he remembered that the refrigerator was full of cake, every cubic inch of space, so that when he opened the door, it was just a wall of cake facing him. A wedding cake, to judge by its frosting.
The dirty plate on top of the drain was dirty with ketchup and soap suds.
Pissed at not having a beer, Ian went to his “office” and dug through his papers on the floor until he found his lease. He combed through it, trying to find some loophole out of this shit.
The lease said: “I agree to live in this shit for one (1) year and not complain. I agree to marry one (1) of your daughters and not complain. I, the undersigned, agree to live the Good Life and never, ever complain.”
He had signed it.
She came up behind him, put the cold beer on his neck playfully. He winced at the chill, and she slid her arm around his shoulders. He took the beer from her and opened it with his teeth, of which he had two rows.
The bottle was full of ground beef.
She said, “How are you?”
He said, “I can’t complain.”
She suggested they shower. In the shower, he soaped her breasts, and the showerhead bled ketchup and cold cuts.
The hungry man in the apartment below screwed his mouth to the ceiling, sucking down what drained from their shower. He ate well—grew huge—filled his apartment, so that when you opened the door, it was just a wall of him facing you. A Lonely man, to judge by his moaning.
Andrew Wayne Adams is an Amerikan-Kanadian writer and artist. His first book, Janitor of Planet Analingus, came out in 2012. The above is an excerpt from his new collection I Have No Idea What I’m Doing, which you should buy, and was previously published in Strange Edge Magazine.
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