Good morning! You’re probably surprised to see me in your kitchen cabinet, chewing the edge of a Lucky Charms box, clothed only in cobwebs. I’m the man who lives in your walls. No, wait, just listen! There’s a crawl space, you see, with wires, pipes, insulation, and I — being a man of small proportions — managed to nestle my modest frame inside like a tiny unemployed baby in a womb full of roaches and mouse skeletons. Then I moved in a few of my belongings: a wet picnic blanket, a Jewel Osco bag full of dirty clothes (for a pillow), the movie Frailty, several crates of 5 Hour Energy, and my anxiety medication. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it at first since I’m intensely claustrophobic, but once the sobbing stopped, I became numb to most sensations, though I do still spontaneously scream from time to time at the sheer horror of being alive. You’ve heard it late at night, I’m sure. Aren’t you glad it was just me and not a ghost in your walls? That would’ve been scary!
Before you ask, yes, I’ve been sneaking out at night through the ceiling vents to steal your food, gorging furiously like a hungry raccoon in a CiCi’s dumpster, digging my dirty fingers into the green bean casserole your mom sent you, licking, licking, licking everything in sight, puking into empty shopping bags, throwing the shopping bags out the kitchen window onto parked cars. It was wrong of me to act so selfishly; I know that now. I’m awash with clarity. I’m reborn in moral luminescence. However, you’re an altruistic person who believes in helping those in need, and I needed your cinnamon rolls for my mouth. I remember listening to you watch that Kony video through the wall, so I know you want to put a stop to global injustice. What’s more unjust than a starving man in your wall? Speaking of online videos, I’ve been stealing your laptop while you’re at work, and I downloaded the film Piss in Boots to the folder “esoteric computer data,” so, you know, I’d like to watch it whenever you’re not using the laptop, if that’s cool. It’s about a guy who gets peed on.
By the way, you need to be more patient with your roommate. Two days ago, your roommate came in, and you were like, “Hey, you left a dirty dish on the counter,” and he said, “Oh yeah, sorry,” and you were like, “Stop leaving your nasty dishes all over the house,” and he said, “Yeah, sure, I’ll try,” and you were like, “Whatever.” Remember that? That conversation hurt my heart. I don’t have television, so I listen to your conversations through the wall, and it’s enthralling, like a slow-paced brooding radio show, like a subtler The Wire. By the way, Sarah’s not going to put up with your insensitive mind games much longer — she’s a classy intelligent woman with a strong personality, and you’re driving her away with this ‘I’m not going to text her back because I want her to be in suspense,’ stuff. You’re not in high school anymore, and if you lose a woman like Sarah, you’ll regret it forever. Also, call your mother. Every time she calls, I hear you say, “I’m sorry I haven’t called in so long,” but if you were really sorry, you would call her more often instead of being a selfish child. Whew, it’s so amazing I get to tell you all this. It’s like if I could tell Lady Mary to stop wasting everyone’s time and kiss Matthew.
In my little crawlspace, there’s a leaky pipe overhead, and to shower, I rub the drips all over my body. I rub those drips. Rub them. A comprehensive shower takes about four hours, so, to be honest, I’ve been a bit erratic in terms of hygiene. Hence, the pungent aroma of rotten meat, bag of dead moths, and campground porta potty. Oh, don’t cringe and put your shirt over your nose please. That hurts my feelings. It makes me feel like I’m repulsive as a human being, and reduces my overall self-esteem, which isn’t fair because I can’t control the way I smell. Actually, if anyone should be embarrassed, it’s you for having such a putrid malodorous crawlspace behind the wall. Clean your crawlspace, you irresponsible home renter. You slob. There are disgusting things back there: decomposing mice, dry roach corpses that crackle under foot, a tin box full of Polaroid photos of strong but delicate fingers. Is that your tin box? I’ll bet it is, you sicko, you pervert. You disgust me.
Not to be a nag, but I have a list of recommended changes to the apartment: 1) More sugar, 2) a pumpkin, 3) I want holes two inches in diameter drilled every couple feet along the walls, you know, for looking, 4) more variety in you and Sarah’s sex positions, 5) amp up the drama between you and your friends — don’t bore me, 6) a tiny door for me to crawl through at night. All of these propositions would be so easy to implement — particularly the pumpkin — so I hope you don’t think I’m being too dictatorial. I don’t want this list to damage our new friendship. Like when I go back in the wall, I don’t want you to be like, “Oh man, that guy in our wall—what a bossy jerk.” I don’t want that. You’re such a great roommate, and I think you’re so cool, and I would hate to have to murder you.