Space for Rent
There’s space for rent inside my heart. The plus side is there’s not much in there. Not many tenants, but they’re here to stay—don’t have the heart to evict them. Yes, I know some of them have moved out. Doesn’t matter. I’ll hang on to their stuff for them for as long as they want.
Most of this empty space I’ll admit I’ve been afraid to lease, worried I’ll find the wrong person to fill some rooms. But all this empty space makes me feel a little lonely. That’s gotten worse with time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current tenants. They live rent free—the space they occupy I make sure stays theirs.
I’ve gotten better at putting out my “For Rent” signs. Most of my applicants are boring though. Nice enough, I’m sure, just…not for me. I’m picky, I guess. Then again, one has to be selective when renting out space in the heart.
“For Rent.” What an odd concept, considering I give the space away for free. Maybe I should change my signs. But I don’t want anyone getting any ideas and taking advantage of me. I’ve got plenty of room. No hurry to change that.
The Great Recession of 2008
Space for rent is where you make the mistake of getting a place with four close friends so that you can become worst enemies. After three months, none of the cool things you wanted to do have materialized. You wanted to start your own brewery, so you bought the Mr. Beer™, "brew-your-own" kit and drank it a week after it'd started fermenting. Well, not you, but Tom.
You can remember Tom telling you, "My pee is cloudy and clotted like a Belgian wheat ale with a hint of classy orange peel zest!"
"Bro, you drank my Mr. Beer Belgian Wheat Ale Orange-boy Extra Hoppy Hops Machine™?!"
"Yeah, we didn't have beer money." Stupid you!
All four of your roommates work as "dough-spinners" or "pie-pounders", two terms that you created in order to un-demoralize the $7.50 an hour that you make, because that's .25 cents more than the Georgia minimum wage and you were lucky to land that prestigious job in one of America's formerly most affordable cities according to an issue of Forbes written in 2008, when every city was as affordable as Atlanta.
"Bro, who ate all the food?" One of four roommates will ask the other three people they're living on top of.
"The food's communal, remember?" Someone reminds you of the "group huddle" that you had when the first box of clothing landed on the apartment floor. That same box hasn't moved in months.
"Bro, I bought it all!" You're right this time, it was you who bought those 20 boxes of macaroni and cheese, but everyone thinks everyone else is wrong. Someone's gotta be the freeloader, right? Well it sure as hell isn't you!
"Yeah, but we gotta have munchies!" Weed. You get it? It's funny because they were high and ate all the food, and now there's no food, and the next paycheck isn't for a week. Actually, I stand corrected, there's a partial pack of Carolina Pride Baloney™ in the crisper drawer that you got for a "steal" at .69 cents a pack. No one touches it because it cooks up like plastic.
There are eventually conversations like, "Why aren't you at work?" with answers like, "Didn't feel like it.", or, "Hey man, can I just borrow like..." this sentence is cut short with a long stare, "...ten dollars to pay for rent?" You know that "ten dollars" is code for, "I'm short about $400 on my $200 rent, but I got another paycheck coming in from poundin' pies and spinnin' dough so high, up in the sky! I'll get you back for last month and this month." You'll never see that money.
Then one day the fourth roommate is gone, they took the X-box with them that no one seems to be sure who originally owned, but they all swear it was theirs. The chairs are gone too, so is the beanbag and, well, all the electronics. All you're left with is a bunch of bills and the $500 bong everyone thought it would be super funny to pitch in on. Sorry, I was wrong again, they took the bong too. All you're left with is blunt wraps, and they're somewhere beneath the blanket of bills.
"Man, I'm so sorry dude. I can't get rent this month, but I'll get you back next month." It's weird that Tom says this, because he came home the night prior bragging about how he was super broke, because he needed to get a new tattoo.
"Are you kidding?!" As someone also in dire financial straits, who doesn't have a single tattoo themselves, you try to understand.
"Why do you need a tattoo?"
"Well it wasn't a tattoo, I was just getting some ink touched up."
"With what money?!"
"Oh, don't worry, I got a good deal." The good deal only cost him about $200 an hour down at Ink City. You know when he's lying. He says he was only there for two hours, but don't worry, Ink City does good work.
He then fills you in on the fact that, "You should get some ink!" All you can do is nothing.
No one has anymore money, you all begin to slowly hate one another, you ask each other to keep respective hands off of respective food, but no one listens. Then you start bringing "pies" back from Dough-Dumpster™. It's stuff you screwed up intentionally so that you could bring it home with you, but no one listens. You swap out pizzas to slight one another when you could all just agree on what pizza you want for that night, but the spite digs in, so there are four extra large pizzas, all with different toppings. They sit on the kitchen counter and sometimes roaches get on them.
At some point you get one of the remaining pint glasses out of your cupboard and fill it with classy Steel Reserve. No wait, you can't afford Steel Reserve anymore. Now it's Hurricane. Wrong again, it's actually Milwaukee's Best. Then half a day later, that 30 pack runs out and you're forced to buy Keystone Ice, but the flavor is unbearable. You used to have money for limes and salt so that you didn't have to taste any of what you were drinking. You're sitting there alone in the dark because the power is off and don't know what to do about the flavor, so you dissolve a pizza into your beer. Pizza-beer! You think it's funny, but it's not. It's the official drink of the Depression-Bowl™.
One day you're sitting on the living room futon on top of some hard pizzas. It was smashed with a bat in a drunken rage. You go to the dining room, because the dining room futon hasn't been smashed yet and has way less pizza on it. You're having trouble walking. Is it a stroke? No, it's an ocean of beer cans that touches your knees. Then it dawns on you, how are you always able to afford beer, weed, and smokes? Whatever.
Everyone quits their job then slowly disappears along with the remaining items, and so does your credit score. You play musical-apartments with random friends, you eventually end up on a friend's family member's friend's couch somewhere before he tells you it's Kind of weird. You and your former friends proceed to despise one another for the entirety of the next year. That's it.
Well not exactly, because one day you have a great new job at Tony Pepperoni's Pizza Party Palace™ making a comfy $8.50 an hour. You've been talking to those old friends again because the air has cleared. You're a drunk, so you've forgotten exactly where it all began, and then you see a place you can't afford on your own, but that has enough space for so many activities; a music and art studio, a spot for brewing beer, and a room for all your Funko Pops™ and other manchild gear. On the front of the door it has those magical words that make you remember all the fun you had living with your former roommates, "Space for rent".
A House for Rent
A house for rent.
Abandoned and unloved;
Haunted by memories no one knows.
Someone’s life happened here but nobody cares;
The house stands alone, vacant and mournful.
A home for rent.
An empty house, ready to become a home;
Happy memories waiting to be made.
Someone moved on, and a family moved in;
A once-vacant space now filled with light and love.
Michael sighed, this was the fifth appartment veiwing at that he had been to that day, and nothing looked good. More specifically, nothing was good because they all did not fit his budget, $750 a month, and they are smelled like pot. They were nasty, but there was nothing that he could do. They were all one-bedroom apartments, so he could not really have a roommate, unless that roommate was willing to share a bedroom, or sleep in livingroom/entry-way. Was he willing to sleep there?
"I will let you know if I will rent it, do you have any other people looking at this one?" Michael asked the manager has they both left the apartment, the manger lady making sure the door was locked as she closed it.
"Yes, you are the third person I showed it too today, and there are four other appointments for later in the day Though I think one of them might cancel. There are also a few appointments tomorrow," she said as they both headed back to the front apartment doors. The hallway reeking like a high skunk. "If the price is too high for you, there are always others willing to pay the price."Michael only grunted in response, the last four managers all mentioned the samething. There was always someone willing to pay the high price.
"What we need are more apartment buildings, with more apartments per building. Anyway, thank you for your time." The manager thanked Michael as well as their parted ways. She headed back to her office while he went out to his small blue asian built car. Luckily, it stopped raining while he was in the building, but the ground was still wet and the puddles made the lower parts of his pants wet as he stepped through them. At least, he was down for the day. He was probably not going to rent any of the apartments he had viewed that day, and the thought of how much gas was wasted that day made him moody. Despite the age of the car, around 17 years old, it started up just fine when Michael put the key in and left.
He turned on the radio to 106.66 fm, a rock and pop station, but he didn't really listen. He was beginning to regret moving out to the city. The job that he had set up before moving here did not come with the pay increase that he thought would come, and he had left a good rent situation, with three roomates in a modest size house, for rent problems. If he didn't find something soon, he would be homeless. He only had few days at his motel 14. He had no prospects it seemed; he had dropped out of college a few years back and now it seemed like everything needed a college degree. However, they did not have a pay increase to with the degree, they only had higher requirements. The bills were increasing as well, faster than the 24 cent raise he got from his job. The raise was a joke, life sucked, how did it come to this?