My house is punishment for every bad thing I’ve ever done. It’s a test. When will I have a meltdown in this incubator of insanity. Right now the air conditioner is making a sound that will haunt the dreams I have when I’m dead. It sounds like plastic popcorn is popping at an ear piercing volume. I can’t focus on anything else. Trying to write makes me want to punch myself.
The air conditioner that I had to break out because the vengeful spirit of the indian returned for one last hurrah of humidity. It’s 88 degrees and the house is baking me alive. I thought I could live without an air conditioner but the septic glaze of the dying summer in the white ghetto of indianapolis is too much. My skin is glistening with the film of decrepit air. The atmosphere has its hands on my throat and its foot on my chest. I needed relief so I lugged a 70’s era lithuanian air conditioner out from the storage room and forced it into an ungainly position in an awkwardly sized window where it rattles and hums and leaks into the carpet.
I didn’t want to put the air conditioner in the window because it doesn’t fit. More bugs will get in. They’ll find comfortable lodgings here. Perfect for eating and fucking and spewing thousands of eggs in crevices and corners, in the sink and bathtub, within rotting wood panels and cabinets, under piles of dirty clothes and inside my shoes. They will invite their friends and families in the hundreds of millions and build neighborhoods and hang out all day on their porches in stained wife beaters with their engineless el caminos sitting on cindar blocks in patches of overgrown weeds.
My house is a psychological experiment run by the government, a grim, disavowed mind control program that rogue intelligence agents designed to shatter my personality so they can rebuild my tattered self into the ideal, featureless, anhedonic operative. The toilet fails to flush. I keep the lid off the tank so I can fiddle with the float valve until the toilet wheezes and gurgles and musters the minimum of force to suck down the fetid water. Getting a clean bowl means flushing in four or five stages with several hours between each flush. By the time it’s clean it’s time for me to desecrate it again. Keeping my toilet clean was the unreported 13th herculean labor.
I’ve painted the walls of my kitchen and living room. The fresh paint masks the smell of cigarettes. But I haven’t painted my bedroom yet. Its walls are the color of decay. A delinquent youth broke into the house when it was unoccupied and carved fuck you into the wall next to the window. I stare at the vicious etching of a ward of the state every night before I fall asleep. I begin to agree with him. Fuck me. Even when I repaint that wall the message of a mouthbreathing vandal will remain, engraved in eternity, taunting me as I toss and turn in the unforgiving night.
The kitchen has no drawers. There’s a thin curtain covering the piping underneath the sink. There are soft spots in the floor, spots that give when you step on them. One sleepless night I will take a fatefully heavy step and a hideous, groaning, cracking sound will be the last thing I hear as I fall through the floor into a damp, sightless hell where salamanders and fungus will feast on my body.
My house is on the corner of a street populated by poor whites and mexicans. The sidewalks are cluttered with garbage, broken furniture, car parts and bramble. There’s a drain right outside and there must be raw sewage flowing underneath because everytime I step outside I’m hit with the toxic stench of a thousand unwashed assholes. 400 pound white women with front loaded blubber push their caramel colored children in strollers. Wegros walk around in oversized basketball apparel. The surroundings of my house are dirtier and more depressing than the inside.
I’m not enough of an artist to justify this kind of poverty. This isn’t romantic destitution. This isn’t the price I gladly pay for devoting myself to a higher calling beyond the material realm of wealth and comfort. I crowbar a sliver of time out of my schedule to type to no one for nothing. I might as well be religious.