It's not that Jamie was bad at managing his money, it's that he was so bad at it that he had to put out an ad for a roommate when his job paid him enough to comfortably live on his own. His latest issue was getting into the new superhero movies, and before he knew it, he had bought special edition versions of all the movies, several licensed action figures, and gone to a convention, picking up bits and pieces that he thought were cute. His savings was pretty well shot to nothing. He was fine for this month, but the next one he wasn't so sure about.
So he put out an ad for a roommate, and he said yes to the first person that inquired. Jamie had (some) standards, but the first person to call him looked promising, so why would he say no? Weird to be sure, but promising. "I have something of an... unusual appetite," the man had said over the phone, and Jamie told him that was fine. BDSM wasn't for everyone—least of all himself—but he wished they wouldn't be so damn dramatic all the time. The guy had a stable job, and unlike Jamie, a good understanding of his own finances and how to manage them. His personal life was going to be just that: personal. They set up a time and date for him to move in, and that was that.
A knock came on the door, and Jamie got his first look at Luke. He was wearing full length pants and long sleeves, sunglasses firmly on his face, and a big floppy hat casting a shadow over the rest of the skin on his face.
"Are you sensitive to light or just hungover?"
"A bit sensitive," he said mildly, stepping through the doorway when Jamie waved him in. Once in the apartment, he took off the hat and sunglasses, revealing a pale face and long dark hair that had been tied back so it was out of his way.
'A bit sensitive' was an understatement. If it weren't for the clarity in his eyes, Jamie would have thought he was sick. As it was, he only blinked. "Alright. Well this is it," he said, motioning at the apartment. "Down on the left is your room. Do you want help with your boxes?"
"That would be nice, thank you." He brought the backpack he'd carried to his room and set it just inside the doorway, then put the hat and sunglasses back on as he walked out with Jamie following him.
Luke didn't have all that much, so it was a short move. In that time, Jamie learned that Luke was a gym rat. Some of the boxes he carried were heavy as hell, yet Luke wasn't even breaking a sweat. By god, if Jamie didn't have to do this, he wouldn't be. People who worked out that much were stupid insufferable to live with.
A couple weeks later, a coffin was delivered, and Jamie really didn't want to know. He signed for it, heaved it inch by inch into Luke's room, and left it there. Halfway through dragging it down the hallway, he thought about giving up and leaving it there for Luke to deal with. It was his stupid coffin—made of real wood, and real wood was heavy—and he hadn't even warned Jamie about its arrival. The only reason he didn't abandon his mission of getting it into Luke's room was because it was a challenge now. He didn't want to cart this dumbass thing from one end of the apartment to the other, but he needed to prove that he was capable of it.
When Luke got home and saw the coffin in his room, he seemed surprised. "It... doesn't bother you," he said cautiously, inquiring.
"What you get up to in your own time is none of my business," Jamie said, not looking up from his computer screen where he was scrolling through a store's catalogue.
"Most people would be curious."
Jamie shrugged, not wanting to hear the particulars of his freaky lifestyle. Who cared if he slept in a coffin? He paid his half of the bills, and that's all Jamie cared about. A couple days after that, he saw Luke drinking a dark red liquid from a wine glass. "Do you mind if I have a glass of that wine? I've had a hell of a day."
"It's not wine, it's blood."
Jamie huffed and rolled his eyes. "A simple 'no' would have sufficed," he muttered, walking away. Honestly, the things he put up with in a roommate to make rent: hardcore BDSM, sleeping in a coffin, and pretending that he was drinking blood. Absolutely ridiculous.
Camille Davis is a young writer, specializing in short fiction and fantasy. She is currently working on a short story collection for publication.
Copyright © 2020 Whatever Keeps the Lights On - All Rights Reserved.