Hey, so here’s some advice for those of you suffering from writer’s block: get a convict roommate; preferably one with a serious drug dependency problem. Said dependency problem will inevitably lead this convict to befriend people with similar problems (read: convicts), and then the real fun begins.
This is a story about Steve.
Steve is your classic free loader. He drives around in a Lexus ES300 (it’s in horrible condition, but still!), yet doesn’t have an apartment of his own. He jumps from friend to friend, borrowing their apartments and their time, and occasionally their check books. But I’m getting ahead of myself…I was first introduced to Steve as James’s friend from prison who needed a place to crash for a night or two (note: I knew he was bad news from the start; this isn’t a “I should have known then..” story). Monte and I took pity on him, and agreed to let him live on our couch for two days while he looked for an apartment. I tried to be hospitable, even telling him he could give the Wii a try after he expressed some interest.At the end of the two days, he asked if he could stay for another week. I was heading off to Maui (did I mention I vacation there with my fabulous friends?) so I left the decision to Monte, who begrudgingly agreed. Nearly three weeks later he finally stopped sleeping on our couch. I was gone for two of those three weeks, but that didn’t make me any less upset that he was staying in an apartment filled with my belongings. The situation was very uncomfortable, because Monte and I kept assuming that he or James would realize how rude it was to stay three times as long as you were originally allowed without asking for permission. Of course, we eventually remembered that we were dealing with people who met in jail, and that kept us from confronting either of them. It also got me to start locking my bedroom door…in my own apartment.
Anyway, the problem eventually corrected itself, and Steve stopped staying over. I assume that he moved on to another unassuming friend. He would occasionally come visit James, and always leave in a hurry. One time he practically ran down the stairs and out to his car, where he waited for five minutes before two of James’s other friends left the apartment and came to discuss something in his car. Their behavior was so shady that I stood at my window watching his for nearly ten minutes, convinced they were planning to steal something from the apartment. Eventually they drove off, but I was extra-suspicious from that point on. Steve showed up once more, with some random skank, telling me that James said he could hang out in his room for a bit. I assumed he just wanted a place to have sex, but regardless of the reason I didn’t ever want him in the apartment when James wasn’t there. Thankfully, James went back to jail for thirty days, and Steve stopped showing up.
But he wasn’t out of our lives. Not even close. Within a week of James being gone, Monte received a barrage of calls from Steve. He left messages with different reasons for needing to get into James’s room. My personal favorite was, “I left my birth certificate in there.” Thankfully James left explicit instructions to not let any of his friends in the apartment, so Monte never called Steve back. Then one night Steve called after midnight, and Monte decided to answer so he could get him to stop calling. The conversation went something like this:
Steve: Hey man, sorry, we’ve been driving around all night and just need a place to crash…
Monte: (Who the fuck is “we”, and why the fuck are you calling me when we don’t know each other) Umm, I’m gonna say “no”.
Steve: I’ll give you the keys to my car so you know I won’t steal anything…
Monte: (The fact that you have to make that statement is the reason I will NEVER let you in this apartment voluntarily) I’m just gonna say “no”.
And that was the last time Steve called Monte. A few weeks later James got back from his stint (when else will I ever be able to use that word?), and was really grateful to Monte for not letting Steve in while he was gone. He told us how he thought his friends were all stealing from him, and how he realized he was hanging out with the wrong people. Monte and I were thrilled that he was finally thinking clearly. Who knew that hanging out with known criminals and drug addicts would be a bad influence on someone trying to keep himself clean?
Unfortunately, that hope lasted less than a week before Steve started showing up again. Three days ago, I went downstairs in my boxers at 4:30 AM to find him and his girlfriend on my couch watching programs on my TiVo. So many things about that situation bugged me: 1) James let him stay over without asking either me or Monte. 2) James let him and some skankcushion stay over without asking me or Monte. 3) He was watching my TiVo. 4) I felt awkward walking around in my own apartment, which should just never happen. I was furious, and spend the rest of the night planning my speech to James in the morning. It was clear that we did not share the same common understanding of roommate etiquette. Of course, I didn’t see him at all the next day, so I never got to have that talk (I still haven’t seen him since that incident, actually).
The next day started off poorly. For some reason, James decided to wear my only pair of sandals all day. He knew they weren’t his, yet he went ahead and wore them anyway. I still don’t understand this behavior, but we’ll move on for the sake of the story. That night, I left a note on his door explaining that he still owed Jose rent, me utilities, and Monte cable money. I also passively asked him if he’d seen my sandals (they miraculously showed up by the front door the next morning). I went to bed at 3:30, and he still wasn’t home. The next day I woke up at noon to find two missed calls and two voicemails from Monte on my phone. Here’s a rough break down of what happened:
Sometime between 3:30 and 4:30, James came home drunk. Steve called him up and asked him for a place to stay, and James drunkenly agreed. He never asked me or Monte. Steve shows up with his chlamydia trap and another friend. At 4:30, Shadow wakes up Monte because he has to go out, and Monte realizes that they’re all there as he’s leaving. Now we’ll momentarily flash forward to 8:00 AM, when Monte is at 7-11 and realizes that he doesn’t have his Wells Fargo debit card or his ID. Okay, flash back. Evidently whenever Monte took Shadow out for a walk, Steve went INTO HIS ROOM and stole those items from his wallet, along with his house key. Somehow he thought we wouldn’t immediately know that he was the one responsible for the theft. That still baffles me. Anyway, the first voicemail from Monte was frantic, explaining that Steve stole from him and he was calling the cops.The second voicemail was about an hour later, and basically informed me that he had talked with James and Steve was no longer allowed in the apartment. Monte would later tell me that he and James confronted Steve, who only admitted to stealing the key. That’s right; in the ten minute window when everything was stolen Steve took Monte’s key, but had no idea what happened to his credit card!
“I didn’t do it, he says, and he throws up his hands
I was only robbin the register, I hope you understand.”
According to Monte, James was livid during the encounter and nearly broke down in tears. Either he’s playing Monte, or he’s slowly realizing how fucked up his life has become. He promised to cover any damages and drive Monte to the DMV to get a new ID. Anyway, a few hours later Monte saw two purchases pop up on his Wells Fargo account. The first was a $1 purchase at 7-11 (testing the card), and the second was a $103 purchase at Wal-Mart. Evidently Steve stole the credit card, left his whore pillow at the apartment, drove to Wal-Mart to commit credit card fraud, and then returned to pick her up.
Worried that it might somehow implicate James, Monte held off from calling the cops, though he did cancel his cards. However, around 4:00 PM he was looking for the remote control and found all of his Wells Fargo papers in a folder under the couch. Apparently Steve also went into the shoe box where Monte stores his important documents, and took them out. There were also two check books in there. Oh, did I not mention that Steve served eighteen months for writing hot checks? Well I guess this is a good time to mention it. Monte immediately called the cops and filed a report. We also called our landlord to get our locks replaced, which James is also covering. Steve with our key + trip to Wal-Mart = not taking any chances.
Steve also played my Wii last night, and didn’t put anything back the way it was set up. All of the video games and electronics downstairs are meticulously arranged and he just threw the controllers on top, messed up the games, and unplugged the cable to hook it up (preventing TiVo from recording any shows) because he’s a moron. It’s nothing compared to what he did to Monte, but it made me want to punch him in the face nonetheless.
That’s all I’ve got for now.
Ryan Ward (not a convict)
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY RACHEL!!