In a household of girls, Cindy and her fellow housemates looked to their one male housemate as a neutraliser of dramas to come. For the first few months James seemed normal. He was quiet in nature, pale, except for his inked up arms and had an impressive facial beard. He was an avid vegetarian with a passion for heavy metal music. After money, a birthday card, food, alcohol and other menial household objects had gone missing, and a few bills were not paid due to wild excuses, the cracks began to show, but bill-skipping and compulsive lying were not even his worst traits. The absolute worst thing about living with this particular creature, and it was bad, was the smell. This insufferable smell that one single human’s bedroom produced was so obnoxious to the nostrils that the girls rarely had guests over.
James would spend all day in his dark blue dressing gown which stank. It harboured the most offensive, gag-worthy stench; a mixture of a thousand stale armpits and actual scrotum. One would be greeted by a waft of perspiring ball bag every time they had the luxury of passing him. His legs were so hairy that you couldn’t tell them apart from the carpet.
Every day James would take the same, mouldy old Tesco’s bag out with him, disappearing for a few hours. Where was he skulking off to everyday with that shopping bag which had seen better days? One morning, the female housemates were discussing the latest missing item from the house, sausage gate. As the front door slammed shut, Cindy and the girls jumped up the stairs, armed with smelly candles and incense sticks, ready to battle the stench and spray everything. What greeted them next was far more shocking than any smell. There, on the bedroom floor, was the dressing gown of sin, and all around it was a floor covered in trash. As they took a closer look, they found that it was indeed their trash. There was the missing tin opener, along with an open sardines tin with leftover juice, which worryingly wasn’t even strong enough to contribute to the smell. Under the bed was an even bigger state; a booze bottle graveyard, from missing nights passed, Pringle tubes he’d sworn he hadn’t seen, and countless old tobacco pouches – he was hoarding quite the collection! On the cluttered desk was the most horrific revelation of all – an empty pack of ham. They’d been tricked! All this time they thought James was a vegetarian. Suddenly, the girls jumped, as they heard a crunch, and all turned around, terrified. Luckily it was just Cindy, who had trodden on something. She lifted her slipper an uncovered egg shells.
“Christ, what goes on in here?” she whispered, as they continued their search through the dumping ground of lost items.
“My fucking birthday card!” cried Seline, hurt that her twenty-first birthday card from her parents had missing chunks cut out of it, which to her dismay, had obviously been used as roach card for smoking spliffs. Who was this stranger they were living with? As they stood silently for an age, taking in the scenery of surrounding evidence, the silence was broken by Seline’s passing thought,
“I bet he’s gone somewhere to cook my sausages.”
Words and Photography by Loo Loo Rose
Originally published in ‘ROUGH UK Magazine’