by Francis Scudellari
Edom Visits Jacob
The doorknob smacked into the wall with a dull thud. Edom stood on the landing clad in black. “Hey Jake, aren’t you going to invite me in.” Edom walked in uninvited. “How’s the great American novel coming? Written anything about me yet?”
“Fuck off, Ed. I haven’t written anything about anyone yet. All I’ve done all day is waste paper.”
“Hope you don’t mind if I help myself.” Edom wandered off into the kitchen. The refrigerator door squeaked open and slammed shut. Edom re-emerged with a bottle of beer in one hand and a cold slice of pizza in the other. “Jesus, Jake, you oughta do some dishes some time. It’s pretty gross in there. I’ve never seen so many roaches. You’re violating some major health codes.”
“Lay off the roaches, they’re my pets. That bastard Virgil won’t let me keep a cat or a dog. The fucker won’t even let me buy a goldfish. He says it’s in the lease. The roaches were my only option. I tried to name each of them, but they all look alike, so I just call them all Gregor. They’re easy to take care of. I don’t have to buy them any food or anything. Don’t have to bring them to a vet. They’re not so ugly when you get used to them.”
“Yeah? Well, maybe you can teach them some tricks. Maybe you can teach them how to sweep.” Edom shuffled toward the couch, kicking the balls of paper. “You must have destroyed a couple of forests today. Greenpeace is gonna come after you if you keep this up.” He fell back into the pink and green floral cushions.
“Fuck Greenpeace. I gotta find something to write about. I’m going nuts. I can’t even get started. I’ve tried everything. My head hurts from thinking so much.”
“Maybe it hurts from all the gin and smoke, or from being locked up in this stale apartment all day. You need to get out of here for a while, Jake. Why don’t you come with me to the show tonight? Scour is playing down at the Pit. It should be pretty wild. You could get inspired.”
“I’ve got all the inspiration I need in my jazz and my gin. Besides, I’m not leaving this place until I write something, anything.” Jacob drained his glass.
Edom got up. He finished his beer and tossed the empty bottle on the couch. “Suit yourself. It’s your loss. I’ll let you know what you missed tomorrow.” Edom walked to the door stroking his beard. He grasped the doorknob and turned back toward Jacob.
“Hey, Jacob, do yourself a favor and open a window. This place reeks.” He slammed the door behind him. Footsteps cascaded down the stairwell.