By: Aadel M Al-Mahdy
Steve was very tired and trying hard to sleep. He worked late last night, trying to supplement his humble disability income by editing movies of birthdays, weddings, safaris and other occasion. But while he was sleeping on the sofa in the living room after long hours of work, Tim, his roommate, had a loud chat with his native girlfriend and her son in the dining room, paying no heed to him as though he did not exist.
“Guys, could you please lower your voices? I am trying to sleep” Steve pleaded. “It is day time now” Tim said; his voice coarse and arrogant ─ What did the son of a bitch mean? So what, it is a day time ─ Steve thought ─ doesn’t a man have the right to sleep whenever he wants? Shouldn’t room-mates care and respect each personal circumstances. “You son of a coward, are you trying to show off in front of your girlfriend. You, bastard, get out of my face right now or I’ll kill you” yelling, Steve jumped off the sofa forgetting that he was naked, grabbed the computer’s chair and threw it at Tim. Shocked, Tim tucked his tail between his legs and left along with his company.
Tim and Steve lived together sharing one-bedroom apartment. Knowing that Tim was a womanizer, Steve let him stay in the bed room to have privacy as Steve did not want to be embarrassed by seeing Tim having sex with one of his whores had Tim been living in the living room. Steve made it clear to Tim that the living room was also a private area though it was open to the rest of the apartment.
A couple of hours later the police knocked on the Steve’s door their main concern was Steve’s threat-to-kill, but as soon as Steve explained the situation to them and how edgy he was because of his lack of sleep, they realized that the threat was just hot-air. “Well, he’s scared to come back. Will you let him sleep in his bed, tonight” the female officer asked. “By all means, he pays rent, too, and please ask him to watch out for his sharp tongue and show some respect” Steve pleaded.
Steve met Tim and a pregnant girl named Beverly, her kids and a cat named Obie at the apartment of Joseph, Tim’s half brother. Tim was hiding from the police as he was a key-witness in an assault involving drug dealers and the pregnant girl from her husband who was a member of the dealers. Joseph hosted them for as long as the visitation rules allowed and then asked them to leave. Beverly and her kids did but Tim had nowhere to go. Tim and Joseph had a big argument and Joseph had to call the police to force Tim to leave. Steve happened to be around during the argument. He did not like one bit of it and out of the goodness of his heart, he asked Tim to stay with him.
“Tell me what your secret is, Steve. I can not believe you’re still living with each other” Joseph asked Steve one day. “Why not, Joe, people should help each other out” Steve said. “Yes, but Tim is a druggie and troubles. We lived together before but we ended up being evicted because of the drugs?” Joseph said. “Have you ever asked him to stop?” Steve asked. “I have, but he did not care. Man, his wife left him because of the drugs?” Joseph said. “Well, he has not had any drugs in my apartment so far. I made it clear for him that having no drugs was a proviso for him to stay” Steve said. “I do not know what to say but time will tell, my friend” Joseph said.
Days passed by and the nasty corps of Tim’s personality revealed itself a bit everyday. He did not look for a job under the pretext that he was depressed; however in the meantime, he spent hours on the computer chatting on MSN Messenger with girls and surfing porno and dating sites, using Steve’s internet.
Tim was an electrician, and one day, a friend of his called from Vancouver to help him design marijuana growing electric system that won’t attract the electricity company, hence the police. Promising to be back in a couple of days, Tim left for Vancouver, leaving Obie, his cat behind. A week passed and Tim did not return, so Steve had to call him and tell him that he ran out of Obie’s food and if he did not show up in two days, he’d call the animal shelter people to come and pick up the cat. Five days later, Tim returned. Two days later after Tim’s return from Vancouver, Steve received a notice from the building manager stating that his guest had to leave as his allowed stay had expired. Steve asked Tim to pack up and leave. Tim didn’t and Steve ended up receiving an eviction notice. Tim told Steve that he new of a place where they could share the rent. Steve was skeptical at the beginning, but thinking of becoming able to save few hundred dollars every month, he was tempted. “Well, Tim you have to promise me to change your attitude as this time you won’t be my guest anymore and I won’t be obliged to serve you” Steve said. “Definitely, my friend, and I’m going to start hunting for a job, too” Tim said. “Good and there are certain rules we both have to observe” Steve said. “Like what? I am curious” Tim asked “I’ll jot them down on a piece of paper and give it to you later” Steve said.
Steve packed up his belongings and on the moving day, Tim pretended to be badly constipated to avoid helping Steve with the so many boxes he had, though on the same day he had a date with one of the girls he knew over the internet and his alleged constipation did not prevent him from seeing her. “Hey Steve, I’m going to see this girl today. Wish me luck! I haven’t got laid since I divorced my wife” Tim said, moving his groin area in a pretend thrusting movement. Steve made no comments and resumed moving the boxes. His friend Henry who had a truck helped him make the move though he was sick.
During the first week in the new apartment, Steve had a verbal fight with Tim. Time gave Steve’s cell-phone’s number to all the whores he relation with and the phone never stopped ringing. Finally Tim purchased a pay-as-you-go cell phone and the problem was solved. Two month later, Tim’s friend, Chris, showed up and the beads strung on the thread of time moved; each one smeared with Tim and Chris’ action that turned Steve’s life into a nightmare.
Chris is a muscular man in his late thirties, but from the way he talked, Steve sensed a lack of education as well as a lack of the main ingredient that made a man a gentleman; honesty. He seemed to have the character of a weasel. Chris and Tim used to go out every day for an hour or two and come back, eat the food which Steve prepared for supper, drink Steve’s juice and spend the rest of the day on the internet in Tim’s room. Though upset, Steve did not complain as Chris was still within the period during which he was still a guest. Days later, parcels reached the apartment in the name of people who did not live there. Steve became suspicious and started digging. Steve found out that Tim and Chris, during the time they spent outside, collected credit card receipts from garbage pins of big stores and used the card numbers in purchasing things on-line not heeding that they used his internet IP address in the process, thus making him a member in their fraud activities. He also found out that Chris was a fugitive wanted by the police for assault charges. “Tim, why are you doing this fraud?” Steve asked Tim. “Credit card companies are damn rich and monstrous. They can absorb the loss” Tim answered. “But, isn’t this robbing; theft?” I wondered. “Nop, they’re the ones who rob us. Look at the interest they charge you. Look at their diabolic ways for making money” Tim explained. “I agree with you, Tim. I myself think the credit cards are the weapons of the devil on which the whole economical system has been built , but still I cannot place the total blame on them because their clients consented by signing a contract. Responsibility here goes both ways”
Steve knew that his words were falling on deaf ears. So he came to the point which is the usage of his internet for illegal activities. “Well, I don’t like it that you’re using my second IP address in your fraud operation, Tim” Steve objected. “We’re not. Chris has already ordered for the internet and phone to be supplied in my room” Tim explained. “When did that happen and under whose name?” Steve asked. “Last week and everything is in Chris’ name” Tim said. “But Chris does not live here, Tim. This is still illegal” Steve said. “Oh, don’t fret about it. He’s moving to an apartment in the building pretty soon and will get everything with him. I am thinking of moving with him, too, so I’ll get out of your hair”
Steve was extremely angry. Now he remembered what Joseph, Tim’s half brother said about Tim. “Ok, your friend still has a few days left. If he overstays his visit, I’ll call the police” Steve said. “But he’s staying in my room!” Tim said sounding a bit upset. “I do not give a damn to the details. And I am not going to waste my time explaining the rental law to you. Your friend is a con-artist and a fugitive, and I have been patient so far, but I am not going to let myself be burnt by the sparks of your activities”
One of the scammed items that reached the apartment was a three-grand 42” LCD TV. Chris wanted to sell it right away as he badly needed the money. He asked Steve if he knew someone to buy the TV for half the price. Steve was hesitant at the beginning but finally seeing the window of opportunity to get back at him and Tim, he agreed to let a friend of his buy it. “Henry, I checked the price of the TV on the internet. It is a three-grand TV but I am going to let you get it for have of the price Chris suggested” Steve said. “Which is how much?” Henry asked. “Half of 15 hundreds” Steve said. “That is 750. But how are you going to do that?” Henry asked. “Well, Chris wants 15 hundreds” Steve explained, “I want you to pay him right now through me 750 and promise to pay the balance in a few days. What happen after that, leave it to beaver!”
Steve’s friend agreed and on the same day Henry paid Chris 750 through Steve who promised Chris that the balance would be paid in a few days. Chris agreed. Two days later Steve kicked Chris out of the apartment, saying that Chris over stayed the allowed guest-stay. Chris left peacefully as Steve still owed him money and also he was scared that Steve might call the police if he refused. A few days later Chris showed up with a woman at Steve’s apartment, asking for his money. “What money are you talking about, Chris?” Steve asked. “The money you owe me for the TV” Chris answered. “Ah, the scammed TV. Well, as a matter of fact, I owe you nothing” Steve said. “Yes, you owe me 750” Chris answered angrily. “Ah, the 750. In fact, I am keeping this money as a payment for food and board and all the service you received during your stay” Steve said. “Look at this guy. He is trying to con me” Chris said, talking to the woman, “He’s trying to rob me of my money“ The woman said, “The TV is mine and I want that money” Chris said, “If he doesn’t pay that money, I’m calling the police” ─ “A con coning a con, Chris. Isn’t that funny” Ignoring the woman’s threat, Steve said and laughed wholeheartedly. “I expected this to happen and that’s why I talked to the police before I came. They will be here any moment” Chris warned. “Well, I am waiting. Don’t leave and stay put. If you set one foot inside the apartment, I’ll break your leg” Steve said. “If you don’t pay me my money right now, I’ll torch your face and this apartment” Chris yelled, realizing that his trick did not work. Picking up his cell phone, Steve said, “Well, do that if you can, Chris. In the meantime, I am calling the police”
Chris and the woman ran away like a rabbit hounded by dogs. On their way out, Chris intentionally broke the fire-alarm glass and pulled the lever. Steve called the Fire Department and told them that the alarm was an accident and then called the police and reported Chris’ threat. A couple of weeks later, Steve heard that Chris was arrested in Burnaby and thrown in jail for an old charge of threat-to-kill with deadly weapon. On the same day, Steve talked to the building manager and told him about Chris and Tim and about his desire to move in bachelor suite. In the meantime, Time met this hybrid native woman (half native, half European) on one of the internet dating sites. She had two boys from a previous husband who, as per her account, was abusive. She lived in a two-bedroom apartment with her current husband. Steve knew later that Beth, Tim’s native girl friend, had an agreement with her husband that she could do what she liked and he could do the same. “I though after your divorce, Tim, you were going to look for unattached woman and start a new life. This sugar-cane of yours is not going to cut it” Steve told Tim one day. “Why do you think so?” Tim asked. “On one hand, she is already married. On the other hand, she is not beautiful. She has a fake eye, and you told me she lost her ovaries long time ago as she had ovary cancer. She is barren and you won’t be able to have kids with her” Steve explained. “But, I love her and she’s going to leave her husband” Tim said. “Great! But I do not think you love her, Tim. I think you’re addicted to sex. Do you remember the woman you knew in Langley?” I said. “What about her?” Tim asked. “She had a venereal disease, and you still had sex with her”
A month later, Tim’s check for his rent share bounced and a few days later, the building manager told Steve if Tim failed to pay his share of the rent then he’d have to come up with the money because the two of them signed one lease. Steve told the manager that he had already paid his share and he would pay Tim’s share if Tim was evicted. The manger said he couldn’t evict Tim alone and if payment was not made in a few days, he’d have to evict both of them. Tim did not pay the rent and Steve handed a notice for terminating his tenancy contract. By the end of the month, Tim left to live with his girl friend, her husband and children. He did not pay the rent or repair the damage he made to his room, leaving Steve stuck with everything.