I sit down with a heavy sigh.

This is it. I finally got a reply to the add I sent out about my room-for-rent. I only have a few minutes to get myself together before I really have to sell the space.

Or I have to go back home, and deal with the fallout.

A knock on the door prevented me from getting lost in that thought.

Time to meet Joe Shmoe.


As soon as I open the door, I am met with a taller old man with a cute frog bucket hat with a white shirt, leather jacket and blue ripped jeans. Not what I was expecting at all.

“Hello there, Miss. You have a room you want to fill?”

“Hi! Yes, I’m assuming you’re Joe Shmoe?”

“Oh, not just ANY Joe Shmoe, I can assure you!” He grinned with a wink.

This might not be such a bad idea after all.

I giggle, “Of course! Just come on in and I’ll give you the basic information. Let me know if you have any questions!”

I let Joe in and begin the tour of the household. I talk to him about the normal stuff, like how the kitchen was organized, the layout of the rooms, the only place he could not explore being my own bedroom, and such things that was necessary to know before any big decisions were made.

Finally, we ended right by the front door.

"Any questions?"

There was a spark in Joe's eye as he smiled, "Well, yea. Bunches actually! First off, what is your policy on pets? Eh, specifically frogs?"

Caught by surprise, I blink and stutter, "Oh- Ah, w-well I-I guess? Um, I guess not? I'm kind of allergic to fur, so I'm pretty sure that will be alright."

"That's great! What about music? I play a little accordion and kazoo, it would be great if I could practice here! But I completely understand if I need to step out."

More prepared, I let out a little chuckle, "sure! But I may need to kick you out if my eardrums are at stake!"

Joe joined in with a very loud guffaw, "Wouldn't have it any other way! Now, how is your house's fire insurance? Or just insurance for ANY disaster?"

"Uhh... what?"

"Never mind, you shouldn't have you worry about it! I promise if it break it", he leaned in closer to conspiratorially whisper behind his hand, "or burn it", before leaning back out to continue in his original volume, "I'll be sure to pay for it!"

"Ok...?" I'm very unsure of the path this meeting took, but for some reason, I felt this was going to have to be a question to keep coming back to.

Joe shook his head, "Well, I guess I didn't actually have THAT many questions after all!" He turns to open the door yourself, "And I like how you run things around here! I might not rent you out, but I have a couple of friends that may be interested! I'll keep in touch and bring 'em over!"

He shuts the door and leaves, not even waiting for any response I may have given him. That last statement sent chills up my spine, though, and I can only hope it was because a breeze blew in with Joe's swift departure.


It was an average day. Joe still hasn’t gotten back to me and I am searching through my inbox for any other replies to the application I sent out.

The doorbell rings. Then rings again. By the time I’m walking towards the door, I’m already considering changing the ring.

I open the door to find a shorter girl with messy, choppy hair and her attitude clearly telegraphed in her crossed arms.

“Can I help you?”

“Yes. I understand the your current housing occupation has the space for another individual to coexist?” She spoke so fast I could hardly understand her. Epescially with all the words the was using.

“Um, yes. That’s right. Are you looking to rent?”

The girl looked me up and down, not of bit of her demeanor changing.

“I want to move out of the current abode that I presently share with my parents. I need my space.”

“Oh! Of course, would you like a tour?”

“No. I can live in any environment. The priority right now is the questions I have for you. It is in your best interest to be infallibly truthful.”

“Right…. Are you going to come in? We can sit on the couch, I can make you some tea? Coffee?”

The girl just stood there. I had never before seen someone who stay still for so long. I couldn’t even see a slight sway of balance from the wind.

She steps forward, and I jump back from the movement. “Coffee will be fine. No additives.”

Geez. What makes her so unpredictable? Guess this time body language won’t clue me in to anything she won’t tell me.

She finds the couch on her own and slouches into it, completely defying her earlier behavior.

The entire house is quiet as I prepare drinks and the girl just sits there. Doing nothing.

I try to still my hands as I carry our two cups back to the living room, but she is really freaking me out.

“So!” I exclaim as I set the drinks on the table in front of the couch, “I don’t believe I got your name”.

The girl stares at be just enough to make it awkward before she sighed, “you didn’t. The name’s Cal.”

“Right… Okay, well, what kind of questions did you have about living here?”

Cal sits straight and looks directly into my eyes, as if expecting me to read her mind. “What defense protocols do you have in place?”

I blink, trying to process the question.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“The defense protocol. What kind of protection do you have enabled in order to fight off any home-based attacks?”

“I don’t think I have anything like that… just your average apartment with your average facilities”.

“You have a facility? Is it located under this building?”

Ok, my this-is-freaky-meter is off the charts.

“No… I meant, like, the things you use around the house! Like the toilet, the lights, things like that…”

Cal only nods, “What is your escape route for any attack that may occur during your gathering of weapons and advanced locking mechanisms?”

“Um… I would use one of the back windows if anything. One of the ones that leads to a fire escape so I wouldn’t hurt yourself.”

“Interesting, so you are unwilling to put yourself in harms way…”

“OH! Would you look at the time!” I jump from my seat, “I have an appointment thing to get to, so you need to leave right now!”

Cal gets up too, but makes no move for the door, “what? I’ve been witnessing your everyday life to scope out your person and the areas you frequent. You mostly stay home all day if you are not working.”

“That sounds like a problem with your reconnaissance, not with me. So, you gotta leave! Bye!” I practically push Cal out the door and slam it shut.

I am back to one possible tenant, there is no way I’m living with that one.


I’m starting to doubt Joe’s interest. I haven’t gotten any contact from him whatsoever since his visit.

Luckily, I got a call from another interested person. Her name is Kori Lapiz.

Any moment now, she will come knocking on the door, hopefully securing a more promising tenant. At this rate, I’m going to get kicked out of my apartment.

As if I suddenly have the power of summoning, Kori showed up.

I go to open the door, “Hey, Kori! Want to come in for the tour or do you want to talk first?”

Whatever she says flies over my head. Kori looks just like I expected. Tall, long hair, pale complexion. But what I did NOT expect was the kid right by her side, stars in his eyes.

I cut off whatever Kori is saying, “Um, who’s the kid?”

Kori looks at me. I wouldn’t necessarily use the word “glare” but it had the same intensity. “This is my little brother. If we get the place, he’s staying with me.”

Brother? “Oh, I’m… not sure we’d have the space for that…”

“Fine. Guess we’ll just leave”, Kori turns on her heel and drags her brother by the arm away from the house. No other interaction, she just leaves. I swear I mentioned I only have the one bedroom…


One more. This is the last applicant I’m even entertaining. If this doesn’t go right, I’m living with my parents. How low I have sunken…

The bell rings and I just barely muster up a welcoming face and voice as I open the door. But I’m not the one who gets to speak first.

“Heyo!” The redhead greets loading with a wide wave of his hand. Oh, god. I’m not ready for this.

“I’m sorry, and you are?” I sigh. Even if he WAS here for the apartment, I can’t muster up any hope. Everyone else so far has been a weirdo and hasn’t even contacted me back. Something tells me this dude isn’t going to be any different.

“Oh! Whoops, my name is Ash! I’ve heard from a couple of friends that you were looking for a roommate. Sorry I didn’t contact in advance, I don’t have a phone…”. He rubbed the back of his neck and gave a soft chuckle.

I massage my eyes so that they can continue to stay open through today, “ok. Come on in and we’ll have a chat. I’m assuming you don’t want a tour?”

Ash steps right into the apartment, “I’m good! Thank you!”

Ok. In my defense, this dude was real good looking. He was a red head, but had a deep shade of red instead of an orangish tint like you would normally think with the label. His eyes were a bright blue that seemed as open as the skies while still holding deep secrets. That’s not even mentioning the well toned muscles being highlighted by a white tank top that looks a size too small on him. Plus, I really DO need a roommate.

We sit on the couch. I don’t even get a breath before he blurts out, “How is fire insurance in this place?”

No. “Um… I don’t know. I haven’t really checked… I don’t do too much stove cooking. Why? Do you cook?”

“Oh yea!”, thank god, “But it’s actually because I can start a lot of fires on accident…”. His neck rub comes back.

God no.

“Um… what do you mean?”

Please not this one too.

“Well, it’s more like being too hot for surrounding flammables…”

Maybe he’s just a narcissist?

“I can increase temperature of the surrounding air, sometimes to the burning point. I do well controlling it, but it’s not perfect!”

I stand up abruptly and point towards the door, “Get. Out.”

I could tell he wanted an explanation, but I just gave him my best glare and he scrambled off the couch and through the door.

Guess I’m just going to have to move out.


I was almost done packing the rest of my stuff when the doorbell rings. It rings again. And again.

I couldn’t suppress my groan as I walked to the door to see if it was my parents, who I was allowed to crash with till I had enough for a new place.


I try to process the group at my door. First and foremost was Joe freaking Shmoe.

Without even waiting for a greeting, he gave me a bright smile, “I heard you met my friends! What do you think?”

I don’t know what happens, but it’s almost as if a tangible string of sanity snaps.

“I THINK YOU’RE ALL CRAZY! I think that if I had to deal with one of you for a prolonged period of time, I would have to be admitted in to a mental hospital! I think that I am going to live with my parents so I don’t have to be homeless, and I think you all should leave!”

I was granted a wonderful five seconds of silence after my outburst before Joe burst out laughing, followed my the kid and the red head. The two girls just gave knowing smiles.

I can only wilt, relying on the door frame for some support, while they finish their bout.

Joe swipes under his eye, “well of course we’re crazy! I would never wish you to deal with one of us for an extended period of time. Actually, we all like it here and you are everyone’s favorite housing option so far!”

I didn’t like the sound of that.

“What would you think if we rotated? Say… every week? We all have things to do and don’t need a full time home, but just a space for a few breaks here and there.”

Cal stepped forward, adding, “Plus, we can pay you for any inconvenience in addition to paying part of the rent.”

Hmm… it seems they’re twisting my arm.

I rub my face, trying not to showcase the smile that I’m fighting.

“Fine. Help me unpack.”

Comments 0