Rent’s Due

“God damn it!” you yell staring at the paper on you front door. You tear it down, angrily shove your key in the lock, and slam the door behind you. The paper is half wadded up in your hand that is shaking with rage. Two weeks to come up with three month’s rent. That fucking bastard of a roommate said he paid his half of the next three months. The late rent notice on the door leads you to believe he didn’t.

You glare at the empty bedroom as if it holds some connection to the asshole that previously lived there. It’s not the end of the world. You can empty your savings to pay off a month and maybe talk to the apartment manager about setting up a payment plan. You’ll have to get a new roommate sooner than you thought. You enter your bedroom to drop off your bag.

“Fucking hell!” you scream letting out some more of your frustration. You ball the paper up further and toss it at the wall. It bounces harmlessly off the wall and falls behind the headboard of your bed. Great, you think, now I have to clean out everything from under there. Before you can take more than a step you hear something rustling under your bed. Rats! Great, now I have rats. A smoothed out eviction warning slides out from under the bed with a small stack of hundred dollar bills on it. You briefly see a clawed hand pushing it but maybe it was just a trick of the light.

For several minutes, you stare at the paper and money from across the room. You lay down and look under your bed from a distance. Storage containers, an old pair of sneakers, a plate and fork, and dust bunnies. No strange man or monster. It’s not there now but something uncrumpled the late rent notice. Something pushed it out from under the bed. Maybe if you keep looking it can’t come back. You crawl across the floor keeping your eyes fixed under the bed. When you are close enough, you grab the corner of the paper and drag it closer to you, while crawling backward.

Once you feel safe you stand up and walk briskly into the the other room closing the bedroom door behind you. The money is enough to cover what you owe and a little extra. You count it again, setting aside the extra hundred dollar bill. You look at the late rent notice and see scratches in the paper. Around the amount due are circular scratches. As you continue to examine the bill you notice more scratches. Is that a “B”? Carefully tracing the scratches with a pencil you reveal a message.

pay rent BACON keep change

You briefly wonder if you can afford to break your lease, before deciding to go to the store.