Phil and I hit hard times. We'd lost our jobs at AT&T and had been cast as technical piriahs. Phil was looking at changing tires to make ends meet. I was working at a freakin' bookstore--again.

Dave P. had just been fucked over by Sara. Sara had dated Phil at one point, but that all ended when she was caught on the living room floor of Phil's old apartment fucking someone who wasn't Phil. There had been some mild fireworks between Phil and Dave because of it but I think by the time we moved in, everything had been delt with.

Dave had entered a year lease with Sara on a house in Garland. The deal was $600 something a month for a three bedroom house, plus water, gas, and electricity, plus phone, plus labor on the house to get it into the $800-$1000 a month range. So, it was a fixer-upper to say the least.

Sara decided she didn't want to live with Dave anymore and split for Denton. She didn't move any of her shit out of the master bedroom and that was eventually shuffled into the garage. Most of it was ripped up by the giant, wild rat which lived in the garage. We couldn't get to the rat's hole because somebody's couch was in the way.

Speaking of rats, before Chris and April moved in, Chris' rats were already in the house. The female's cage was in the kitchen and the male's cage was next to that. Both cages stank of urine and feces. I spent five hours cleaning the kitchen and moving the female's cage out was part of that. Later, the stench of rat shit got worse and Phil and I were having trouble breathing; I moved the rats into the garage.

When Chris and April moved in, we voted that all rodents were to stay in the garage. This included Chris' pet chinchila. I don't remember the poor beast's name, but we always refered to him as "Herr Chinchila Schindler" after writing "Mauchewitz--Joy through Labor" on the female's cage and "Bercanrat" on the male's. A lot of this comes from how chinchilas let you know who's in charge--it involves a lot of huffing and wheezing. Phil had said from the begining that Herr Chinchila reminded him of a 50-year-old asmatic Jew. In the long run, he was right.

After Chris moved in he spent all his time on the computer. This would have been mid- April. For three nights, all you could hear in the house was the ruckus of Quake II; during the day, Chris would pass out on the couch. We didn't have a phone during this time, so he was unable to call in to work. Needless to say, he lost his job.

By this time, I had told the bookstore to blow me and was working at Efficient Technologies and making $32.5K a year. Phil and I had discussed work in general, and I felt I was making enough to support the two of us. Phil was to become a 'house-husband' and spent the days taking care of the house. I liked it; I left home in the morning with breakfast in my belly and I came home to a clean house and dinner waiting. It gave Phil time to fix the things around the house that needed fixing as well as work on Sabine, his 30-year-old BMW 2002.

Chris thought that was a fine idea. He convinced April he could be a 'house-husband' and stay home to take care of their 9-month-old daughter, Celeste.

Let me state at this point none of the electrical outlets had covers and none of the light switches had switch-plates. None of the outlets were grounded. The bathroom Phil and I shared with Chris and April was in need of work--the bathtub could not drain properly. The air-conditioner did not work. The gas oven in the kitchen had been disconnected. The gas stove could not hold a pilot light.

Celeste was born when April was 17. (I remember Chris running up to Phil and saying, "Fuck my wife, please! I can't do it. I can do it knowing that thing is in there!") The young couple were moving to Dave's because it was cheap rent and they were going to save up to provide a better life for their daughter. Chris' parents would have custody of Celeste the first year. Unfortunately, Chris' mother couldn't afford day-care, so Celeste was dropped off with her parents at the house during the day and picked up at night.

April started working at a day-care center, but the center wasn't licensed to care for a child more than four-hours. Day-care would cost $3 an hour for employees, and April was making minimum wage and hadn't been scheduled to work full 40-hour weeks. It wouldn't have worked anyway; Celeste was less that a year old and the day-care center didn't want her there.

Dave had the phone turned back on and now the ruckus of networked Quake II filled the house most hours. We had asked Chris to not tie up the phone during the day because we were waiting on callbacks from our resumes. This rule was not followed and we lost more than a couple opportunities because employers couldn't get past the busy signal.

After a couple of shouting matches, we convinced Chris to stay off the phone during the day or "something might happen". Chris responded by playing Quake all night and sleeping on the couch during the day. You would go to sleep to the thuds and screams of Chris' advasaries and wake up the next day to the same noise. His idea of taking care of his daughter Celeste was putting socks on her hands so she couldn't pick anything up and put it in her mouth. The sock solution also prevented her from scratching his naked arms and chest as he slept on the couch. It's my personal belief that Celeste learned to walk as quickly as she did in an effort to leave a pitiful situation.

I lost my job with Efficient Technologies before it had a chance to pay off. After three days they decided to ask me the tough, hard-hitting questions like "Have you had any programming experiance?" or "Have you had any experiance with UNIX?" or "Have you had any engieneering experiance?"These were all questions I would have asked during an interview, but I guess they do things a little differently over there. I had never said anything about UNIX or programming on my resume, so I don't understand why they thought I had that sort of experiance. Quite honestly, I think what they were really looking for goes for $60k a year and I wasn't making $60k.

Phil was still looking for work and had given up on computers; he was calling tire places and garages. Both of us were looking for employment and had spread a net of resumes across town. (At one point, we thought it'd be a great idea to stand on the corner of a busy intersection and pass out resumes to passers-by.)

Phil and I now had more time to work on the house. I pruned the dead branches out of the tree in the front yard and did some cosmetic work on the crape myrtle and hedges. Phil put plates on electrical outlets and switch-plates on light switches. We got a room painted. We cleaned the garage. Sara's brother came over and we fixed the air-conditioning. Gavin came over and shimmied into the crawl space behind the tub to help with the drain.

The bathtub became a major bone of contention. Everyone was after Phil to fix it because he was the only person who could. The only problem was, Phil couldn't fit into the crawl space. (Phil couldn't even get into the attic; his shoulders were so broad.) It was coming down to deadlines, nasty notes, and the water being shut off for three days. With Gavin's help, Phil got the bathtub to drain.

The other problem with the bathroom was the suprising number of leaks. The bathroom sink leaked no mater what, the showerhead leaked at the wall when you took a shower, and the faucet leaked the rest of the time. Dave decided to fix the faucets and soon the u-pipe under the sink was leaking. The leaking faucet in the bathtub was solved with new knobs. After that time, the bathtub was in 'shower-only' mode. Water didn't come out of the faucet, only the showerhead.

I remember one weekend before the A/C was repaired when Phil and I spent the weekend with his parents'. The main reason we left when we did was because...if I had stayed a moment longer, I would have killed Chris. There's just no other way to put it. I wanted to rip his throat out.

April had to be at work at 5 p.m. No biggie. That was her scheduled time to come in. BUT, she was on call starting at 10 a.m. Well, her employer called and asked, "Can you be here at 1" or 2, but something before 5. So, April asked Chris if he's give her a ride at 2 (he had his mom's car for the day.)

"But I haven't slept yet. That's going against how I scheduled my day. I'll be in no state to drive by then."

So April says, "Well, take a nap and I'll wake you up before I have to be there. Chris, I need to be there. I could lose my job if I don't show up."

And this is where I lost it. This is when I decided he needed to die a slow, painfull death.

"Well, I think loosing your job is a better choice than endangering our lives. I mean, think about Celeste for once."

I had to leave. I was out the door in a flash and Phil followed to see what was wrong. I was livid. Here was this, this....slug who couldn't get off his lasy ass and take care of his WIFE and his DAUGHTER and he's bitching at her! I wanted to wanted to wanted to hurt him so very very much. Most of all, I hated him for what he was doing to April and how powerless she was aginst him. He represented everything evil I had ever known and because it was Dave's house with Dave's rules, I couldn't do anything to this pus-filled sore in the living-room.

So, we left, and Phil commented on how Chris had been bitching that his chinchilla didn't have any hay because A wouldn't spend $3 on it. Chris had a ciggarette in his hand when he had said it. Chris usually had a cigarette in his hand. Boy smoked more than Phil and I together.

We spent most of our time at Phil's parents' building a working machine for Phil's dad, and we wound up staying the entire weekend enjoying the pool, the TV, the fridge. We were bums for three days and it was great. I started to question why I'd ever left home.

Phil was the one who discovered Herr Chinchilla Sunday night. I don't know what Herr Chinchilla Shindler was reaching for, but he'd gotten his furry little arm caught in the cage and panicked. Now, animals that panic when trapped know only one thing: get away. If a body part is a reason thhey can't get away, they'll chew it off. Foxes will gnaw off tails, wolves will chew away legs, Herr Chinchilla had tried to remove his arm--and for a herbavore, that takes some doing. He had no food in his cage; he had no water. The body had been there a while, more than a day.

"Hey, Chris, your chinchilla's dead."

"Huh?" and he shook the cage. Herr Chinchilla's body wound up in the garbage with little or no ceremony. Chris spent some time bitching at April about it. Apparently it was her fault because she was the negligent one.

Then, in order to "clense his soul" or something like that, Chris took his mace (and we're talking ball and chain, not pepper spray) and proceeded to bash the chinchilla cage. This rare moment prooves what I had thought long ago--Chris' weponry was for show and would never stand up to a real battle.

Final score: chinchilla cage-1, Chris' mace-0.

I heard he hurt his toe during the whole thing. I doubt it was from flailing that mace around. More likely than not he kicked the stupid cage. It was a well built cage.

Despite it all the mess and busy signals and stress, I managed to get a job that paid better than $10 an hour (Phil joined me after a couple weeks) and we were saving up to move out. Any money coming in has one purpose-for Phil and I to get our own place.

Some brain-surgeon decided to fix up things around the house and turned the power to the house off while the A/C was in a cooling cycle. Because there was no cycle down, the freon valve was still open and all the freon leaked from the A/C unit. On its way out, the freon destroyed the valve that kept it in its tank-call it revenge. This was in August and Dallas was setting records for X number days at 100 degrees or more. Phil and I were the only ones spending the night there because we didn't have mommy and daddy's house to run to.

I suggested to Phil we fix the A/C. The rest of the household could pay us back, but I would need physical collateral I could use. (I've been burned by Taurus roomates before.) Phil suggested it to Chris and April with the disclaimer: "Mila doesn't like lending money, but she's making enough to fix things. Right now, her only goal is getting out of here and any cash spent elsewhere is going to be seen as a set-back." April mulled it over and stated, "I don't own anything worth that kind of money." Chris immediately piped up with, "I promised myself I would never sell or pawn my baby (his computer)."

April's response, "That's too bad. I guess it'll be hot a while longer."

Dave got the landlord to replace the A/C unit (at $4000.00) and Phil and I announced our move-out date. I asked Dave, "Do you need us to find a replacement?"

"No," said Dave. "Chris and April said they were going to take over the room for the baby."

I laughed, but said okay.

Two weeks later we were sitting around with Dave in the evening and he told us Chris and April were moving out on the first so, yes, he would need a replacement. Our suggestions fell flat and we couldn't convince anyone to live there (our own fault-we told too many horror stories).

I failed to mention the huge fight during the A/C problem. At some point Chris' rats(which at the time were un-watered, un-fed, un-cleaned, and stuck in a garage in 100 plus heat) were poisoned. There was a greenish powder discovered in the female's cage that "tasted of cyanide".

(Maybe it's just me, but if you have rats in a cage, and two rats are dead, and one rat is twitching, and you find a greenish powder, do you taste it? Isn't it obvious what's happened? Do you have to taste the powder? C did and complained of headache and dizziness afterwards. NO DUH. It killed three of your rats and you taste it. I'm not going to put my hand in a guillotine just to see if that's what's cutting everyone's head off. Let's use some brainpower here, please.)

Also at this time, someone moved the phone cord from the "wall" jack on Chris' modem to the "phone" jack. Somehow or other the phone cord melted into the modem rendering it useless. Chris blamed people up and down and accused Phil and myself of it because we were "the only ones there" (even though we were at work all day and tried to spend as little time in the sweat lodge as possible).

Chris wrote a three-page letter and left it for us. Phil wasn't happy with the letter, called Chris a coward for writing a letter rather than coming straight to us and accusing us or discussing it. Phil knocked on Chris door asking to discuss the matter, Chris answered the door with his Hibben knife, and Phil grabbed Chris by the wrist and swung him into the living room. Chris was a little disoriented and we sat and had our discussion (an uneasy truce) from opposite ends of the room.

Phil and I moved out in a day. Two days later we got the last of our things and the house was mostly philandmila shit free. We dropped by to see how everyone was doing and Chris was bitching about the phone jack in his room at his mom's. He and April were moving into a back room and the one phone jack was a party line. The noise would make an internet connection impossible.

Phil jibbed, "Guess that pretty much scraps the idea of having the computer in there, huh?"

"Oh, I don't have to worry about that," said Chris. "I'm getting a cable modem."

"Where are you working?" I asked.

"I'm not."

I would stop there, but Chris' father died recently and as much as Chris had said he would party when the old man kicked it, he apparently moped and cried. (Now, I'm taking this second hand from the people who lived with the boy, so if anyone hears different let me know and I'll make the correct apologies and amendments.) After the initial shock wore off, Chris started spouting off about how he was going to inherit all this money and he was going to by a car and get all these computer parts. Funny part is, his mom found a hand-written will leaving everything to her. Chris started spouting about how he was going to sue her for his "rightfull inheritance". Not a bright move, considering he's living in her house. She could always just throw him out.

His daughter Celeste still does not have a collage fund and I have also heard his wife is pregnant again but with twins. I've been told that Chris' mom is working to set up a trust fund for Celeste. That's cool. I think she'll use it for the right things.

To learn more about Chris, the Queen Bean, try here or vist the Clan Cthulu website. I bet if you ask the right people, you'll be able to find out which one he is.

Oh yeah, I asked for them; they're there. If you feel there are more corrections that need to be made, write your own page.

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