“MY LANDLORD POSTS THE EVICTIONS ON INSTAGRAM FOR LAUGHS” by Joshua Dalton

Stoned in my car, I whisper, “I feel scared… all the time.”

Siri says, “I found ten thousand results for ‘I feel scared all the time.’”

*

Behind the register at work, I start crying.

A customer comes up to me, clutching a crinkled store bag. “Are you okay?” he asks.

“No,” I say.

The customer hands me the bag. “I need to return this.”

I process the return, hand the customer tear-stained bills.

He wipes the wet money on his jeans and says, “Yuck.”

*

When I get home there’s a note taped to my door. “Thought you could use this,” my landlord scrawled across the top.

It’s a phony casting call for MTV True Life: I Just Got Evicted.

*

I’m driving around in the rain, all my belongings in my trunk. I pass a billboard for liposuction and a billboard for fast food.

The sky is gloomy, like my mood.

“‘It was a dark and stormy night,’” I say, not sure what I’m quoting.

Siri chirps, “I found one million results for—” and I turn my phone off.

*

“Thanks for letting me crash here,” I say. Wherever I go, I’m crashing.

My friend says, “No problem, we’ve got plenty of room.”

Her girlfriend adds, “How long do you think you might stay?”

*

At work the next morning, I bring my manager coffee and a cruller.

“Thanks,” he says, glaring at me suspiciously.

“So, I was just wondering, could I pick up an extra shift or two?”

“That depends,” my manager says. “Are you going to keep bursting into tears?

*

I pass the homeless guy who loiters outside. Today’s sign reads, “Please Help – I’m a Veteran.”

“I’m homeless now, too,” I tell him.

“Very funny,” he says. “Do you have any more donuts?”

“No,” I say, “but I think I have a quarter.”

I dig around in my pockets. All I can find is a dime.

“Thanks a lot,” he says.

*

I call my father and tell him about being evicted again.

“You did this to yourself,” he says. “All that money wasted on drugs.”

I say, “You mean my antidepressants?” and hang up.

*

On the way to my friend’s place, I take a short detour.

I drive past my apartment’s front office, just to flip it off. I pretend my landlord can see me.

It doesn’t really help.

*

I’m eating vegan pizza with my friend and her girlfriend. It tastes as bad as I feel. The girlfriend notices the look of disgust on my face.

“Yeahhhh,” she says, with heavy vocal fry. “Normally I like this pizza, but I’ve had the strangest taste in my mouth all day.”

“I think it tastes alright,” my friend says.

The girlfriend says, “But babe, you’ll eat anything,” and they laugh cutely, and I hate them both.

*

Once they’re in bed, I go out onto their balcony. I look up at planes flying where stars should be.

I suck on my empty vape pen, wishing that I had a different life – or at least more weed.

“I feel like dying,” I say.

Siri says, “Did you mean ‘I Feel Like Dying’ by Lil Wayne?”

Again, I start crying.

*

But the part I didn’t tell you is that all of this is my fault. That I’m not a good person.

That every time I pass that homeless guy, I think “at least you don’t have to work retail.”

That I did use the rent money my dad gave me to buy weed.

That last night I dipped the girlfriend’s toothbrush in the toilet.

“Depression is anger turned inward,” my therapist once said, back before I quit therapy and went off all my meds.

“But what if I deserve to be angry at myself?” I asked. “What if I feel bad because I am bad?”

My therapist answered, “I’m sorry, but our time is up.”

 

Joshua Dalton lives in Texas. His work has previously appeared in Philosophical Idiot, PANK and Userlandshttps://joshua-dalton.com/

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