The smell is what caught my attention first. Something wasn’t right. And since that ‘something’ was coming from my bedroom, I knew to proceed with caution. Admittingly, I could be a bit untidy every now and then. A dirty dish here a heap of dirty laundry there. But I was actually getting a little better. Living with Yuri left me no choice. She was a neat freak, to a fault. When first moving in with her about a year ago, I was stunned at how she kept everything so meticulously spotless. Her bed, appearing as though its never been slept in. Her shower door, never seeing a hint of soap film and the kitchen (at least when she cooked) never having a drop of grease, speck of food, or random dirty dish haphazardly laying around. Out of respect I knew to follow suit as far as upkeep and cleanliness around the house. However, my room was a different story. Since I was naturally a clutter bug and unorganized, there had to be some type of compromise regarding my cleaning
habits. So we came to an unspoken conclusion, that my room could be a disaster as long as the rest of the house was spotless.
However, as disastrous as I could be, by my own definitions, I wasn’t nasty. And the smell filling up my bedroom was putrid. Taking a deep breath, I decided to take the funk head on. Rummaging through my waste basket, pulling out drawers, sweeping everything from under my bed, overturning my laundry basket. Nothing.
“Fuck,” I sighed, as I flopped down on my bed. As my head sunk into my comforter, thats when it hit me. Like someone had slapped me in the face with death. The smell was beyond rotten. I can remember once leaving a meat tray sitting on the counter. After a weekend of not being home the smell that accumulated could only be described as: toxic sewage, ass, and death.
Leaping off the bed, I took the long end of my broom and pushed aside the blanket. The sight in front of me mimicked my wide eye stare and gaping mouth. As if in death, it was in as much shock as I was. However, my guts were still in tact and his seemed to be oozing from it’s now mutilated belly and slowly being devoured by a steady stream of six legged critters. Surprising myself by the sound of a rather loud gag reflex, I flew down the stairs, through the kitchen, and stumbled to the back patio door. I would have hurled myself right through it, except for the fact that it was exactly 11 degrees outside. And even though I had produced a decent amount of body heat from the sudden short distance sprint, there was no way that I’ll be able to hang out in the freezing cold for very long.
Relax, Jaymese. There’s nothing chasing you. Whatever that thing is, its dead.
I unclinched my hand from the glass sliding door and collasped onto the couch.
I need to get that shit out of here and fast. Yuri would be home soon and I was now dectecting roadkill funk from where I was seated in the living room. My brain was working over time. The physical side was up and walking through the kitchen finding gloves, trashbags, disinfectants. And trying to figure out if the vanilla glade under the bathroom sink would be strong enough to eradicate the smell. The other side was thinking how in the hell did that wild animal find its way in my room and under my blankets. Was it Krissy? My golden and brown spotted cat. Had she attacked some poor defenseless animal and dragged the carcass to my bedroom. In the past she has pounced on her share of small mice and even birds. But since this creature was almost the size of Krissy herself, that would be a bit extreme.
I found myself in my bedroom once again. This time armed with ‘protective’ gear and bleach. Placing the trash bag on the floor at the foot of my bed, I took the dust pan and chucked the multilated mammal onto it’s new plastic coffin. I placed another garbage bag on top, along with my comforter and sheets. After a few more throat wrenching gags, I somehow balled every thing up and shoved one half in a garbage bag, and the other half into another bag. I took the load in a big bear hug and out into the dumpster on the side of the house. Even though it was clearly freezing, the crisp air felt good against my flushed skin. Exhaling loudly, I took one last look at the black dumpster carrying my dead bed mate. Well that’s the end of that. Before the temperature could take affect on my extremeties, I quickly scrambled inside and got to work on sanitizing, cleaning, and defunking the house.
“Smells good.” I heard Yuri call out from downstairs.
Good. I thought. Even though I had used every cleaning product we had and sprayed enough glade to cause an asthma attack, I figured the best way to get rid of a smell was to create another one. Fried chicken, candied yams, greens, and baked macaroni and cheese.
Roadkill? What roadkill?
Ordinarily I would have told Yuri about the mysterious mammal in my bed, but I had a strong feeling that this was the works of Krissy, my naughty feline. I had to beg Yuri to let me keep Krissy when I moved in with her. She begrudgingly agreed, but told me that she would remain ‘locked’ in my room at all times. And since Krissy was an older cat and had the tendency to be lazy, I don’t think she minded my 250 sq ft kitty jail.
Heaven forbid Yuri found out and Krissy would find herself in the nearest animal shelter.
“I was hoping that you cooked tonight, ” she commented, as she lifted the lid off a pot of greens.
“Yeah, I was craving some good ole southern food.” I spoke up as I rounded the corner into the kitchen.
She simply nodded in approval and collected her briefcase and over night bag and headed upstairs. By now I knew her routine. Take a shower. Catch up on a few post work emails . Tidy up and eventually come downstairs for dinner. My week had been hectic. With Yuri gone on business for the past three nights, and myself working overtime for the past week due to a sick co-worker, not to mention the craziness that just took place this afternoon, it had almost slipped my mind to confront Yuri on Eric’s awkward visit over the past weekend. Almost.
Yuri usually sat at the dining room table, but this time she sprawled herself out on the couch and flipped on the T.V.
“Actually, yeah.” She replied, with one hand on the remote and the other tucked under her head.
“You want all the fixin’s?” I asked.
She paused. “Not tonight. Any ice tea?”
“Yep. This is definitely a country ass meal.”
“Yeah,” she replied. “But no ‘thick drank’ for me. Light on the sugar in my tea please.”
“Of course.” I said smiling.
After plates were made and we were both settled in I cut straight to the point.
“How did you meet Er–”
“How was your day?”
We both blurted out at the same time.
We both responded unanimously again. Rolling my eyes I burst out laughing.
“How was your day, Jaymese?” Yuri said slowly.
Hectic. Crazy. Insane.
“Good. Good. It was good.”
Yuri chuckled. “Good.”
“…brutally blugeoned to death. The 3 feet of snow kept his body hidden for days, however a store owner found his body in the back of an alley this evening. “Yeah, man I was unloading my truck and then I saw…a hand…sticking right out the snow…“
“The young man has been identified as Eric Bradshaw, 22 years old…college student…wrong place…at the wrong…gang related…robbery…suspects…”
The news anchors voice seemed to be drowning out in a cloud of haze. My heart began to pound loudly in my ears. There had to hundreds of Eric Bradshaws. Hundreds of black Eric Bradshaws. Right? All of them 22, college educated…
“Were on two different pages. He likes modern, I’m more traditional. What I don’t want is another stainless steel granite counter top kitchen…”
“Why did you turn the channel.” I snapped.
Yuri held the remote slightly dangling from her hand. Her expression bored and somewhat innocent.
She turned toward my direction.
“Why did you turn the channel?” I said. Speaking calmly and slowly.
She seemed genuinely confused. Yuri looked down at the remote in her hand and turned it back to the previous channel. By now the story had past. On to world politics.
“Eric,” I blurted. “Eric was one the news.”
She continued to stare at me blankly.
“Eric!” I yelled. “Eric. The guy you introduced me to on Sunday.”
She laughed. “Oh, Eric. What about him?”
I stared at her in utter amazement. Was I in the twilight zone? What the hell was going on?
“Eric,” I sighed. “He’s dead.” I motioned to the T.V. screen.
“Wait. Eric, Eric. That was him?” She shook her head. “That’s deep.”
“Didn’t you know him? Wasn’t that your friend?”
“Not really,” she shrugged. “He was one of TooSweet’s boys. Shit, I didn’t even know dudes last name.”
The expression on my face must have looked awe struck, because she sat up and brushed the hair from my face.
“What’s wrong, Jaymese?” She asked softly as she caressed my cheek.
“Nothing.” I said flatly.
She continued to stare at me.
“People die every day. He was probably caught up in some shit. Plus, its crazy out there. You know how folks act when it starts getting cold. People start acting crazy. That’s just the way it is.”
She gave my cheek one final stroke and settled back on the couch.
By now, my brain was completely numb. I simply gathered up my plate, dumping everything in the kitchen sink and proceeded to walk upstairs and call it a night.
“Jaymese?” Yuri called.
“Yes?” I said, suddenly feeling exhausted.
There was silence. I was half way up the stairs. She wanted me to come back in the living room.
I exhaled loudly and peeked my head around the corner.
She stared at me for a few seconds.
“What the hell is that smell?”