I am woken up by a group of musicians rehearsing in the next room. There are maybe four or five of them and they are jamming out Metallica songs. They are excited because James Hetfield is supposed to come over later. Other than that I don’t know what they are doing here. I am mad they woke me up. Their presence irritates me. I pass by them in a daze and shuffle upstairs. I am shocked to discover that all my stuff, furniture, books, everything, has been removed. The rooms are empty. The floor is covered in dirt and debris. There are extension cords and wires running down the hallway and through all the rooms. I’m confused. I go into the bathroom. While hanging it out I accidently knock a pile of hot wires into the toilet. They hit the water and come alive like pissed off electric eels. I drop the seat but don’t flush. I go back out into the hallway. My landlord is there. He is not happy about the loud music downstairs. Neither am I, I say, and tell him I’ll make sure they leave soon. He informs me he’s going to be doing some renovations. He is a licensed carpenter and plumber. He tells me the renovations will take four or five weeks, working on weekends, if they are diligent.
I leave my apartment. I go to a movie with a friend I’ve known since we were ten. It’s been about six years since I’ve last spoken to this person. Something to do with a girl both of us liked. I was with her and he wanted to be, I guess, but wasn’t. In their MSN conversations he told her what a big loser I was. Later she printed off these conversations and showed them to me and I took them over to him. He denied having said anything despite the evidence to the contrary I held in my hands. This is what happens. The hazards of life. At the concession, instead of giant watered down sodas and buckets of gooey yellow popcorn they hand out cushions and pillows so we’ll be more comfortable. We take a few and go to our seats. The theatre is very small by average theatre standards. Cineplex’s they’re called now. Everything has gotten so big they now must be referred to as “plex.” Imagine going down to the Bowlingplex on a weeknight and tossing rock hard balls down one of the hundred-and-fifty slicked up hardwood lanes all running the length of a football field to a set of itty bitty pins that resemble a row of bleached white front teeth. Even though it’s a small theatre there are two screens playing two different movies at the same time. On one screen a movie is showing that stars Benicio del Toro as a charismatic political radical not Che Guevara. On the other screen is a comedy starring a chuiwawa or maybe Dane Cook, it’s hard to tell the difference. I’m not sure what part of the audience came to see which movie. After the movie we hang out for a while, then go get something to eat. We have a good time and agree to hang out again sometime soon. I am glad we are friends again.
I go back to my apartment. As I approach my street I see that large crowds have gathered and traffic has been blocked off. Police have been brought in to keep things in order. The reason for the excitement is the Cohen Brothers are in town to direct my home renovations. To get in closer I decide to go undercover. I disguise myself as a telephone booth. I make my way through the people undetected. An officer waves me in, and I’m home. Inside, the renovations are complete. I go in and look around. The apartment has been drastically transformed. For one thing, the walls are red. There are more rooms then there used to be, all of them divided into snug little compartments designed in perfect geometrical dimensions. There is one room that is rectangular like a hallway only it doesn’t lead anywhere. A dead end. Also the floors are on a downward slope so that when you stand in the front hallway you have to brace yourself against the wall so you don’t fall forward. At first I am no at all happy with the new design. Then I slowly start to warm to it. It is a unique apartment, I think. Nobody else has one quite like this one. And besides that, I have a newly renovated apartment and am still paying the same rent as I used to, the Scottish part of my brain says. I tell my landlord I am happy with the changes, I will stay here. We shake hands. He leaves and I go upstairs into a large, perfectly squared room. All my furniture is back, including my bed and desk. I plug my phone in to charge it. I never got to meet the Cohen brothers.
I’m in my new house. I have moved from my old apartment. I’m with a girl. She has dark hair and dark skin and blue eyes that are as big and inviting as her smile. I tell her, where I used to live I was close to the ocean and almost always alone. Now you’re in the middle of the city, she says, and surrounded by people. I know, I say. She smiles at me. I laugh for no reason. I look out the window at the rows of houses along the block and recognize some of the people outside. That night we will go inside some of those houses and drink and eat food and laugh for no reason.