Experiments: One Page at a Time - 3


Janet thought that she would have gotten up by now.

She was still sitting on the ugly brown couch with her cell phone in her lap. Her tube-socked legs were crossed and propped on the ash-blonde coffee table. They were shaking slightly to an internal rhythm of Nirvana’s “Scentless Apprentice,” which was on a perpetual loop in her mind whenever she contemplated what to do with her life, or if she would ever get a job worth doing if she ever found out what she was good at in the first place.

“Chocolate,” she thought. "I like chocolate."

The dishes from yesterday were still in the sink. The remaining blotches of brown and black from the German chocolate cake she had served for dessert from Bing’s was now partially dried out and moderately wet in the two inches of water that had been poured on the top plates but not any of the others. Cleaning the dishes could have potentially been an excuse to show her overly nosy mother and herself that she was good at something besides the absolute uselessness she currently felt about another uneventful day searching Internet sites for a job making more than $12.16 an hour.

Phil had been with Janet since the first divorce was finalized. He hadn’t been a permanent fixture in the house, until recently when his roommates had banded together real-world-style to confront him about several lively parties and an improper use of the vegan-only-fridge. “WTF?” was the only response that Phil had offered to his roommates via text during the intervention. Then he grabbed some clothes and headed out. He didn’t even bother to pack the rest of his things. He called a moving service the next day and moved in with Janet.

It was now Tuesday. It had been six weeks since his self-administered banishment. He was half-dressed on the bed with the comforter pulled underneath him and the remote control cradled between both his hands as he watched the evening news.

“Stocks in Blockbuster have plummeted after executives announced a closing of all 300 retail stores later this month. Moving out of physical DVD sales, it is Blockbuster’s hope to bring its competitive edge to the market of video on demand..."

Phil had been in the bedroom during the whole conversation. Had he heard Janet’s gasps he might have gone out to see what had happened. He was not as insensitive a person as his vegan roommates had made him out to be.

"You've got some good qualities," Antonio had said flirtatiously.

"Yes, some," Gary agreed, nodding towards Phil's crotch. "But your love for Philly cheese steaks and Korean BBQ doesn’t give you free reign to pollute the refrigerator with the death of animals."

"That's true," Antonio said. "We agreed before you moved in that we would put meat products in a separate fridge. We didn't say we'd mix. That's not okay."

"We definitely didn't say mixing was okay," Gary said.

Gary and Antonio had given Phil an intervention and a lecture about animal products. Phil's response aside from the text was only slightly obscene. He didn't consider it insensitive.

"Kicking a guy out of an apartment for eating a cheese steak and throwing a party that's insensitive."

What do you call throwing tobacco spit on their cars?" Janet had asked.

Last week, Phil had saved the swill from his first experiment chewing tobacco for a neighborly gesture and poured out the contents of the blackish grit onto the front windshields of his ex-roommates’ cars.

"Do unto others," Phil said.

Janet had found Phil’s act to be childish. She had challenged him to go back and clean it up or move out after he told her about the whole affair, but she chickened out when Phil actually began to pack his bags.

"What are you doing?"


"Are you serious?"


"Just because I don't agree with you throwing spit on people's cars?"

"That's right."

Janet wanted to tell him about the phone call. She thought about how she would bring it up. She could write a note and bring it to him with breakfast. She could smack him in the face and scream at him. She could even let him threaten to leave again. Those were all possibilities. But somehow it was easier to envision herself doing house chores and tabulating the big life questions she had yet to accomplish because the ugly brown couch and talking to her mother had sucked her into a time warp of nothingness yet again.