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I wake up naturally. No alarm. I've taken the day off work to witness the death and destruction of that which is the bane of my current existence. I roll over and check my phone. One voicemail. Brady is on her way.
Brady and I flip the bed up against the wall. We take a foam mattress that I've been wanting to get rid of to the trash. On our way down, we run into my neighbor George. I ask him how his dog is, a cute old Corgie named Ginger. "No more dog," he says. He had to put her to sleep. "She was a good dog." At the curb, we see the super. I ask him if he knows what time the exterminator is supposed to be coming. He says he doesn't know. Not helpful.
He's here! He's here! Exterminator Larry is here! And he's nice! He says I cleaned really well. I'm so relieved! I was worried I hadn't done enough, even though I really knocked myself out. Larry's glad the drawers are empty. He says most people didn't do that. He's exterminating all my infested neighbors today too. One of them has to leave for work at noon. I tell him he can go there first because I'm going to be around all day. When he steps out, I jump up and down. "I'm so happy! He's here! He's here! It's almost over!"
"Hello?" Larry calls to me from my bedroom while Brady and I are in the living room organizing my laundry to take to the basement. "I think you're going to need to move your cat." My little one, Donnie the scaredy cat, is petrified under one of the radiators. I pull him out and he starts thrashing around. I let him go and he careens around the bookcases and holes himself under the nearest dresser. Poor guy. At least I didn't have to box him up. (My other cat, Ozzie? He's just fine. He's looking at everyone with his wide green eyes. What's going on? Is it time to eat? Scratch my chin!)
Brady has left to take care of her own business for the day. I'm so glad she was around for the morning. I'm on the bus to Home Depot where I'll buy caulk. I pass a car dealership, and I think of my friend Mike, who always helps his friends when they need to buy a car. In Home Depot, I find the caulk in the paint department, which makes me think of Fish, who always paints her room when she moves into a new apartment. On my way back, I pass a van that says, "Maggie's Paratransport," which reminds me of Eleanor, whose nickname for me is Maggie. On my way in, I see the super, and I think of Will, who, when I told him earlier about the super's un-helpfulness, said I should kick him in the nuts. A lot of you are on my mind. I feel my friends are with me today.
I just put in the first loads of laundry. In the basement, while loading the machines with bedding, I met a neighbor, Gloria. She was putting her two cats into a meeting room. She is being exterminated today, too. She sits down and we chat while I pour Tide and OxyClean into the wash. She's been crying over the amount of work that needs to be done; her husband hasn't helped her at all. I tell her I've been crying too. We compare welts, scabs and scars up and down our arms. I want to give her a hug, and I do. I think this weekend I'll go upstairs and knock on her door, see how she's doing.
Coming out of the elevator, I see Larry. He's been waiting for the super for over half an hour to let him into my next door neighbor's apartment to exterminate it. My opinion of the super is going down by the hour.
I'm going to caulk.
I don't have a caulking gun.
After searching the basement on my own, I find the super and ask if I can borrow his caulking gun. He says he doesn't have one. "Home Depot," he tells me. Thanks. He must be lying. How can a superintendent of a large apartment building not have a tool like a calking gun?
I've run out of quarters. I have no more money. I spent my last $20 on caulk, dryer sheets and batteries for my portable CD player. I'll do the rest of the wash and buy the calking gun tomorrow when I get paid. I make a cheeseburger, smoke a cigarette, take a shower, and lay down on the couch for what I hope will be a long nap.
I can't sleep on the couch. I get my roommate, who is home from work, to help me put my bed back together. I take a risk and get between the sheets wearing only a tank top and shorts. I haven't slept wearing so little in a long time.
I wake up scratching my arm. Welts! ... I don't even have the words for it.
I felt my friends in my heart earlier, but right now I feel so very lonely. I have no tears left as I squirt Raid to kill three bedbugs I see on the wall.
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