it was my own choice, really, but i had to do it. i mean, it was driving me mad and if i didn't answer it, i swear i'd have dismembered the next person who came to the door.

let me back up a bit.

imagine, if you will, two college freshmen rooming together for the first time, each of them from distinctly opposing upbringings and living in a single tiny room with a bathroom and a closet.

one from a modest, lower middle class family complete with virtues and sensibilities and hygiene and whatnot.

the other from the planet Unsanitaria.

quick guess which one i am.

so anyway, life with james the first week was fine. i thought how cool it would be sharing a room with someone and, who knows, he and i might even wind up the best of friends. that would have been great! i'd be able to look fondly back at my years at university and the trials and tribulations he and i went through. he'd be that "friend from college" i'd speak of when i'm all old and tired. now, a month later, he has become That Roommate.

a tone of dread would escape my mouth as i would utter those three syllables. That. Roommate. as in, That Roommate who doesn't take his nasty greasy blond hair out of the bathtub drain. That Roommate who walks around the room in hearts-covered boxer shorts that he conveniently cut a slit up the side in, conveniently overlooking the mounds of (his) dirty and moist laundry he lay all over the floor. That Roommate who hung up a musty dirty blanket from the ceiling, walling off his bed so that he can have sex while i'm in the room, studying. yes, That Roommate.

grumble.

i've often entertained the thought of setting him on fire but stopped myself each time for fear that everything else in the room would go up in a blaze of glory. including my things. it was a daily battle of priorities, i assure you.

at any rate, about three days ago, james decides to pick up a cellphone. why? because he's suddenly of the opinion that he's important enough to warrant one. i'll never understand why a loser college kid like himself would get the impression people would want to reach him at all hours of the day, regardless of his whereabouts. so anyway, yah.. a cellphone. whatever. it'll get him out of the dorm more. and the times he's been home, it's never rung once.

until today.

i remember the day he got it, he was all excited. he was playing around with the settings, trying to figure out how he should customize it. even wound up selecting "mary has a little lamb" for the ringer. great, i thought. an annoying ring. he thought it was clever because his band has this wanna-be ska version of that childhood song on their demo tape. yah, real clever.

(not.)

so anyway, he takes off this afternoon (because he never rolls out of bed till like 1 in the afternoon) and just bounds out the front door. me, i'm studying and trying to get work done in preparation for an exam that afternoon. i was just glad to see him go because his music was already annoying me. thank god he turned it off before he left.

it had been a good fifteen minutes of hard core british literature and precious, precious silence when it happened.

at first i thought i was hearing things but i wasn't.

it was "mary had a little lamb". all digitized. and kinda muffled.

"what?", i thought. "no one calls him!" but there it was - "mary had a little lamb" and it was getting louder. i paused from what i was doing to make sure i wasn't imagining it. apparently he had set his phone to ring louder for each successive ring it made.

"fine", i said to myself, "just let it go to voicemail" and plunged back into my work.

but it just kept ringing.

and ringing.

and ringing.

mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..

mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..
the bastard didn't have voicemail!
mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..
i jumped across the room and started looking for it, furtively.

mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..

his desk was the first place that i attacked. i pulled open drawers, threw papers onto the floor, looked under it even. oh, the smells that emanated from the crevices of that desk seemed to have been issued from beyond the grave. i swear i saw something move in there, too.

mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..

my eyes were cast upon the floor. kicking at piles of moldy laundry, searching like a rabid animal for that infernal cellular device. i managed to liberate a pizza box from the piles of sweatshirts and flannels that trapped it in their dirty grips for what could have very well have been weeks.

mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..

and then i realized that the sound didn't come from my right or my left or even in front of me. that ringing came from behind me. beyond the gray blanket tarp that served as his barrier between lewd sexual acts and the rest of the world. between his take on the world and decency. somewhere.. beyond that blanket.. was his phone.

mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..

with a hesitant hand, i parted the curtain of wool surrounding his place of rest. i was immediately greeted by an odor most foul as well as the constant droning of a small handful of flies buzzing in their no longer contained orbits about his discolored sheets and pillows. there lay, amid his sweat- and god knows what other fluids-stained blankets, all his used socks, towels, and heart-covered boxer shorts in a haphazard mountain of filmy residue.

mary had a little lamb.. little lamb.. little lamb.. mary had a little lamb.. its fleece was white as snow..

i gazed at it in horror. it was an unholy shrine to eutrophication, a monument to uncleanliness, a tower of filth.

Mary Had A Little Lamb.. Little Lamb.. Little Lamb.. Mary Had A Little Lamb.. Its Fleece Was White As Snow..

and the ringing was coming from within it.

i almost cried in frustration. all i could think of was making that torturous melody meet its end but i feared what i knew would have to happen for that noise to cease.

MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB.. LITTLE LAMB.. LITTLE LAMB.. MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB.. ITS FLEECE WAS WHITE AS SNOW..

MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB.. LITTLE LAMB.. LITTLE LAMB.. MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB.. ITS FLEECE WAS WHITE AS SNOW..

MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB.. LITTLE LAMB.. LITTLE LAMB.. MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB.. ITS FLEECE WAS WHITE AS SNOW..

without thinking, i shoved my arm up to my elbow into the filthy pile. i closed my eyes, grimacing and holding my breath. i felt all sorts of textures, mostly damp here and fluid-hardened there. at one point i felt something fuzzy. kind of like moss but warm. then suddenly my fingers stumbled upon lukewarm plastic. without hesitation, i extracted the phone from its infernal womb...

MARY HAD A LITTLE..

*beep*

"..hello?"

"oh, is this miller? did i leave my cellular at home?"


another nodeshell rescued.

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