My roomie, Jed, liked to throw parties. He liked tarantulas, too, and kept six.

He brought his motorcycle into our common room because he was “afraid it would be stolen.” This was fine, but then he started it and let it idle for 15 minutes without opening any windows, causing all of our stuff to smell like motor exhaust.

After his girlfriend left him, he went berserk in his private bathroom with a sledgehammer and smashed all of his bathroom fixtures. His toilet was inoperative at this point, so he used mine for a time, until I refused him access. Later I would find out that he shat in garbage bags and kept them in the common room closet for weeks.

He set fire to our carpet with alcohol during a party. He pissed in the fridge. He shat in the fridge. He shat in the crisper drawer. He shat on the oven top, and instead of cleaning it up, turned on the burner, reasoning that carbon is easier to clean than feces. He left a dead cat he found somewhere in our oven for a week and forgot about it. I discovered it later.

He owned 6 tarantulas, and would let one run around free-range. He assured me he had “tamed it”. I assured him he was a stupid shithead.

He never showered.

He sold drugs from his room. He smoked pot with his friends in the common area. He spilled bong water on two of my text books. He and his friends did cocaine off of the television set in the common area.

He had a party to which he invited too many people, and they spilled into my room. Strangers had sex in my room at that party. In my bed. One of them had pubic lice. Someone took a dump in my closet. Someone left a used condom in my slipper. I discovered all of these things after it was too late.

Crackheads would regularly come by our apartment at all hours of the night trying to buy drugs because of his illicit activities. Whenever I answered the door and indicated that there was no crack to be had, they would sometimes get, desperate, belligerent and violent, and refuse to leave.

He got angry at some video game he and his friends were playing in the common area, so he busted into my room while I was sleeping, and punched me in the face and stomach.

A few days later he put a tarantula in my bedsheets while I was sleeping. Thankfully I wasn’t bitten, but I was freaked out and still sometimes jump out of bed in the middle of the night for no reason and attack my sheets.

He shat in a lot of our fixtures. He would put his shit in baggies and leave them in strange places. I was thankful for when he used a baggie. A few words of advice for potential room-mates: A light fixture is not a toilet. A heating vent is not a toilet. The sink is not a toilet. The oven is not a toilet. That is all.

I was fucked at this point. He refused to clean or take care of all of the messes listed above, so I ended up cleaning them. I was tired of cleaning feces out of our refrigerator, finding turds in our crisper drawer, shit on the stovetop, vomit on the carpet, vomit in our potted plants, vomit on the grille of our television set, urine on the carpet, urine on the kitchen floor seeping behind the refrigerator, dead animals in our oven and freezer units, and bags of feces hidden in our light fixtures.

Upon retrospect, I think maybe he became mentally ill after losing his girlfriend, and not being able to part with his feces was part of his illness. This is purely speculative.

I had had enough. I bought a minifridge, a plug-in stovetop, two padlocked footlockers, a wooden bar, duct tape, a remote-control car, and an external padlock. My private area was dubbed the “Home Alone” security system.

I had two potential entrances; a sliding glass patio door and a regular door to the common area. I secured the common door with a padlock on the outside which was really just for show. The inside was barricaded. At the bottom I had a rolled up towel, and I sealed the rest of it with tape to avoid smell or other chemical assaults from the common area. I packed against the door with my king-sized bed, which was in turn secured from being dislodged by a bookshelf full of weights and books. Even if he got through the padlock, he would not have been able to open the door without busting it in two.

Now the sliding glass door is where the home alone shit comes in. It had a lock, but it was nonfunctional and only accessible from the inside. So in order to secure the door while I was away, I got a remote controlled car, attached it to a string which was secured by a fisheye screw at the top of the door, and tied to a security bar which would drop into the tread of the sliding door, preventing it from being opened. So when I came home, I would whip out my little remote control, make the RC car run off and lift the bar, then gain access to the apartment.

I think he went crazy and lost all his friends at some point, because around the time I barricaded, I stopped hearing parties. In fact, I stopped hearing anything from the common area of the apartment, except for the occasional formless moans and thumping. I don’t know precisely what went on in there, because I mentally washed my hands of the whole area. I did, however, start smelling odors. I taped up my door. I know it wasn’t smart to do things like this, but I was just fucking sick of dealing with his shit. I didn’t call the landlord or anything, despite the fact that I knew he was destroying things over there. After cleaning so much of his shit up, I just wanted the universal ass of justice to see what a wreck the place would become without my presence.

Forgive me for being a little spotty in my descriptions after this point. What I do know of what transpired over there I can only reconstruct from forensic evidence, what precisely was destroyed, what common friends have told me in their accounts, and two forays over into the waste zone over the next two months. I essentially didn’t even see the front door of our apartment during this time.

For those of you wondering why I didn’t call the landlord. I was kind of in denial. I just figured that whatever happened over there was Jed’s business. I think I was on a sublease under him at the time, so I wasn’t too worried about damage to the apartment. I withheld rent from him during this time too.

Have you ever had something go wrong, and, knowing it was someone else’s responsibility, just didn’t intervene out of sheer curiosity about how it fucking bad it would get? I didn’t turn him in for that reason too. I just…wanted to see how bad it would get. I was stupid, mad, curious, and really didn’t have any responsibility for damage to the unit, knowing his family would cover the costs.

I’m very preoccupied with work and school at this point. Since my point of entry on the house is opposite from the front door, the only real contact I have with Jed at this point is what I can hear from him through the walls, and whatever odor seeps under the door past my homeland security setup. This is pretty tolerable as a condition, definitely worth the $50 a month I was paying for it, but I was starting to get worried. I was worried about Jed’s tarantulas getting into the ventilation system, so I sealed that off with plastic wrap and duct tape. Then I started worrying about fire. Jed liked to play with heating elements and flames, and he was an alcoholic, so I was worried that with the sealed off vent I wouldn’t know if the house were on fire. At around 3pm, I was studying, when I noticed that my feet were getting wet. Upon inspection, the carpet next to the wall was wet. I went around to the front of the house and found that the door was ajar. I went back to my apartment and picked up a plumber’s wrench and a flashlight to see what was wrong.

I unlocked the front door of the apartment and pushed it open, after confirming that Jed’s truck was gone. The lights in the place were out and the shades were drawn. The light shone inside and revealed that there were strange particulates hanging in the air. Not quite smoke. I would almost say that the odor was so thick in the apartment that it could be seen with the naked eye. Upon reflection, I imagine that what I was seeing was mold spores.

As the arc of light from the bright outside swept across the room, a few things were revealed in sequence. First off, the common area was absolutely covered in free student newspapers. There were obviously things underneath because the newspapers bulged, and I could even identify an easy chair covered in newspapers in the corner. The kitchen was crammed with garbage. I could identify two large bulky garbage bags in the corner of the common room. Investigating them further, I discovered that they were covered in some kind of glistening brown muck. The whole place smelled absolutely rank. I swept my light across the place a few times, just to make sure Jed wasn’t there lying in wait with a knife or something, and I proceeded into the apartment, leaving the door open. I took some Vic’s vaporrub from my pocket and daubed just under my nose. The garbage bags had been hastily pulled out of the common room closet, the one which contains pipes leading to Jed’s bathroom. I shined a light into the closet and a rat or mouse or something ran very quickly under the newspapers in the common room. I looked and saw that there were several dents in a pipe in the common closet, and it was otherwise soaked. Finding no immediate source for the water, I proceeded into the hallway area towards Jed’s room.

I was a little uneasy, because the whole place was filled with debris. The common furniture that came with the apartment was lodged in the strangest places. Like the hallway to Jed’s room had the common couch in it, upturned. I climbed over that after making sure Jed wasn’t under it.

It looked like he was salvaging equipment and building materials from local construction yards. I could identify in the hallway, piping materials, a toilet lid, cinder blocks, scrap wood, and a box of pilfered nails. Jed’s large sledgehammer was lodged in the door of his room. I pushed it open and the damn thing fell out, giving me a fright. Anyway, I proceeded into his room, which was strangely clean. There was nothing in there, but the floor was absolutely soaked. I realized what happened; he realized there was water everywhere and threw all of his shit outside of the room into the hallway, and leaned his mattress against the sliding door (where it remained, to my knowledge, for like two weeks. I have no idea where he was sleeping.). The leak was coming from his bathroom, so I went in with my wrench ready to clock the fuck out of my crazy room mate if he should jump out at me.

I saw the familiar smashed bathroom fixtures, and I was very thankful for the Vic’s vaporrub, but the stench stung my eyes still. There was a bathtub covered in newspapers. I prodded it with my wrench and the newspapers gave way, like they were on top of jello or something soft and organic. I prodded it harder and what I can only describe as fecal fluid seeped from the sides of the newspaper. I think he was taking shits in the bathtub and covering it with newspapers, like some kind of foul lasagna. The leak was coming from under his sink, which he had dislodged through some violence. I could see the remains of a cinder block on the pipe, so I think he might have been hitting the pipe with a cinder block. I turned off the water to the sink, stopping the leak, and decided that it would be best if I left before he returned.

On my way out, I climbed into the kitchen area and opened the fridge, just out of curiosity. There was a ball-like, organic mass in the middle, with tendrils of mold growing out of it. It was roughly the size of a human head with a large dent in it. Not desiring to get toxic mold in my nostrils, I closed the fridge and surveyed the common closet again. The walls of the closet were covered in a black shiny material which glistened. Upon closer inspection, it was mold. I didn’t know that mold looked like that. I prodded the newspapers a little bit, but remembering the rat, and not wanting to get bitten, I left the apartment, closing the door behind me.

I got a towel and did my best to dry out the carpet. I left my sliding glass door open to help air the place out. I printed out a notice to Jed that I had entered and fixed his sink, and placed it under the door. I later heard Jed come home, and he obviously discovered I had been in there, because he started freaking out, swearing, and throwing things around. I heard the couch in the hallway get rammed into my door. He threw a tantrum for another five minutes, and then I heard the front of the apartment door slam. I heard him approach my sliding glass door, swearing, and I can only imagine that after seeing it open, he decided not to come any further. Like I said, the guy was afraid of me. He left in his truck a few minutes later, to return in ten minutes. I heard strange moaning and stumbling around in the apartment after that. I think he was moving furniture or something. I heard breaking glass a few times, but after that, silence.

Now, the kidnapping.

So as I said, I am a pretty easy going person and I could tolerate this situation pretty endlessly. But as I hinted earlier, Jed eventually made this situation unlivable. Here’s how it goes down.

I’ve long been using a cellphone since Jed pretty much has control of our apartment phone, and whenever anyone calls he’ll answer with crazytalk. To my knowledge, he still has access to the store room in Longs Drugs, from which he has been stealing crates full of random stuff.

Anyway, lately, Jed was more active than usual. I hear a lot of heavy stuff getting dragged around, and crashing, and lots of moaning, hollering, and other psychotic outbursts.

One evening I hear Jed making a hell of a lot of noise, then silence. Then I hear the front door slam, and his truck goes off. A while later, he comes back, I hear more slamming into things, and a bunch of really high pitched loud vocalizations, kind of like whales mating.

I get a call on my cellphone. This is basically how it goes. ring, pickup Jed: SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSATAN! Me: Hi Jed. You’re nuts. Jed: I HAVE SARAH (Jed’s ex girlfriend) Me: Really. Jed: LISTEN. I immediately hear a high pitched shrieking from the other end of the apartment, and banging and stumbling around. Sarah is a water polo champ. I think if he somehow got her into the apartment, he would have to hit her in the head with his big sledgehammer, because there’s no way he would be able to wrestle her inside conscious. At any rate, I bet at the time that he hadn’t grabbed Sarah, and the high pitched screaming was really that crazy motherfucker. I’ve been getting all kinds of crazy phone calls from Jed lately, so I call bluff: Me: That sounds like you Jed. Jed: COME AND SEE. Me: I need to study. Bye Jed. *click*

This is a very normal response from me, because by this point Jed has been calling me and saying all kinds of crazy shit. Basically, if I can hear him through the wall, I completely disregard anything he might say on the phone. He’s called me once and begged for help because he’s stranded on the Nascar race track in the middle of a race and I can clearly hear him through the wall. So I have a very trained automated response to Jed’s calls: “Hi Jed. You’re crazy. That’s nice. I need to study. Bye Jed.”

At this point, I smell smoke. This is very disconcerting, because as I said earlier, I have been living in fear of the whole place going up in flames. I stand up from my desk, and at that very moment, the power goes out, and I hear Jed laughing like crazy through the wall. I hear what sounds like something banging against the pipes in his bathroom, and some other, deeper noises, which I haven’t heard before. The noises have a sort of deep bass resonance, like a big drum, as if a bull or some other large creature were banging around over there. Jed’s a small guy, and I didn’t think him capable of moving shit around heavy enough to make that kind of noise with that degree of frequency. Since I smelled smoke and the power was out, I grab my gigantic wrench, smear some vic’s on my nose, put on my leather jacket, put on a motorcycle helmet I confiscated from Jed, and prepare myself for battle, maglight in hand.

I am really psyched up at this point. I know a lot of you will be saying that I was stupid for operating like this, but I reasoned with myself that I had better go over there just in case he HAD captured some poor girl and was, I dunno, by the noise of it, bludgeoning her to death with a tuba. I headed around to Jed’s car and looked inside. I saw he had rope and there was blood inside the cabin. I tried the door, it was locked. I smashed the window with a wrench and went inside the cabin. Behind the seat was some bloody rags. Ohhhh shit. At this point I decide I had better get the fuck in there and stop whatever he was up to. I felt really guilty at this point for letting it get this far. I decided that if I were to go in there and die, I would’ve earned it for letting him get that crazy for that long.

I trucked it over to the door, set my wrench on the ground, and fumbled for my keys. I unlocked the door but it wouldn’t give. The door was moist. I didn’t quite understand that. I pushed and pushed but it hardly moved an inch. So I started stomping at the door as hard as I could. Eventually I heard something slide and shift and collapse on the other side of the door, and I gave it another kick. My foot actually made a hole and went through the door, and I fell over. I started freaking out because I was worried Jed would stab my boot or something, so I struggled and hurt my ankle. I also broke my foot from the kicking. Eventually I calmed and got my foot out of the door, and bodychecked the door. It came flying off the hinges, and came completely to pieces.

Ok, so I bashed the door in, and I went flying into the apartment, head first into a wall that is right in front of the doorway. The couch had been barricaded against the door, and my kicking caused it to tip over. It was still partially blocking the door. I immediately started struggling wildly once I was on the floor, flailing my wrench and maglight everywhere in case something was about to jump on me. I immediately exited the apartment, grabbed a metal patio chair, and hurled it into the blackened apartment in case anyone was in there. The motorcycle helmet was making it really hard to hear any kind of ambush, and it was covered in grease and filth from the couch, so I ditched it, and proceeded inside. It was night time out so I didn’t get the benefit of a good light source from outside, and my maglight had grease on it. I saw a glow coming from the corner. I tried to smell if there was smoke coming from a particular direction, but the Vic’s vaporrub made it difficult. I swung my light around the room and found it full of trash like it was before. There was no way I could ascertain whether Jed was hiding under something. I did note that some of the newspapers were covered in what looked like splotches of blood.

I bounded over the couch into the apartment, landing on my broken foot, and falling on my face, in a lot of pain. I remembered the tarantulas and freaked out again, scrambling to my feet and stumbling over towards the source of light. I discovered that Jed had stolen a large floodlight from Longs drugs, which was in the corner, smoldering the carpet. I grabbed that and quickly shone it all over the place. Suddenly I saw that there was a guy about 6 feet tall wearing a beige suit about two feet away from me, so I flipped the fuck out and tackled it. It turned out to be a cardboard stand-up of Captain Kirk Jed got somehow. I picked up my wrench again and limped onward.

The apartment was completely silent by this point. All I could hear was some kind of dull tubal thumping from inside the place, that same dull bass noise I heard earlier. Instead of going further in, I limped over to the kitchen area and flung shit around to make sure that nobody was hiding under the newspapers. I could see that he had gotten a lot more crap since the last time I was here. There were mason jars of urine in the kitchen, along with gallon jugs of the stuff. There were a lot of things he had obviously stolen from Long’s drugs. There was a crate of sour patch kids all over the place. On one wall was a poster of Homer Simpson naked drinking beer, and a bunch of knives had been stabbed into it. I was too angered and pumped up to be frightened. I opened the refrigerator and stomped the shelves apart while I was at it, just to be sure he wasn’t hiding in there.

I had a huge floodlight but it couldn’t illuminate everything all the time, especially with the dank murk of mold spores and the smoke, so I ended up trying to shine it everywhere at once as I proceeded. The common closet was closed, so I kicked that in and swung my wrench into the dark area within. I hit something soft so I kept pounding at it, but it wasn’t human. It was a trash bag full of something soft and yielding. I gave it a kick and moved on.

I ripped the doorway off of the hall closet and swung my wrench inside, but I only hit a few canned goods in there.

I could hear high pitched shrieks coming from the interior of his room. His hallway was pretty fucking well blocked with shit, so I started grabbing things and chucking them into the common room. He had a gigantic stuffed Pluto doll, about as big as a gorilla, which I chucked. Among the other things I hurled was a futon I recognized as salvaged from the end of our block, some patio furniture, a bag full of McDonald’s playpen balls, and something which was big, black, disgusting, soft, covered in grout, which I cannot, even to this day, identify.

I crawled through the remaining debris with the wrench in front of me. This is embarrassing, but as I was hurling stuff I had my wrench in my hand still, and so I hit myself in the face with it. It required some stitches, and, since I had hit the trashbag full of feces with the wrench, it got infected.

So to tally it up, we have one broken foot, one twisted ankle, one gouged and splintered shin, and one bleedingassed face.

So anyway, I am crawling through the hole I’ve made in the blockaded hallway. I finally realize why he has been making so much noise. The fucker has made some kind of evil fortress. If my room is the fortress of light, his is the fortress of evil. And feces.

I crawl through the hole and pop out in his room. This place was full of fucking Hostess products. The guy must have stolen at least two crates worth of the damn things. They were still in their wrapping. Twinkies, Hostess cupcakes, all kinds of stuff. There was nobody in the room, but there was blood all over the place. I could hear that strange bass resonance from inside the bathroom. There was actually a light coming from there, it was rosy red, coming from a crack in the bathroom door.

The very air in Jed’s room was absolutely thick with mold and smoke, which I couldn’t smell from the Vic’s, but it still stung my eyes anyway. He had smeared all kinds of crazy gibberish on the walls with what looked like red lipstick, and the walls themselves were absolutely covered in growth. The barricades in the hallway must’ve been there for a while, because they essentially kept a lot of moisture in the air in Jed’s back section.

The carpets in his room were really rank. The previous water leak had made them dank with mold, and I can only imagine what the high fecal content of the air did. It was difficult to breathe, and nearly impossible to see, which really added to my panic. It was almost like I had been buried alive. The scrawling on the wall, though I didn’t really get to see them in much detail because I was far more concerned with other things at the time, were just…creepy. The vibrations made me think for a second or two that he had tunneled under the apartment and I’d have to go into some kind of underground basement he’d made.

I got to my feet and regained my composure. I stomped over the hostess cupcakes and other misc crap he had lying on the ground. I would limp every time I remembered I had a hurt foot, but really, by this time, I didn’t give a fuck about the pain. I heard the shrieking from inside the bathroom, like some kind of high pitched wailing, and the strange bass resonance. I kicked open the bathroom door and screamed at the top of my lungs, “YOU FUCKING SHITHEAD!!”

I stomped into the bathroom and was immediately PHYSICALLY STRUCK by the most powerful odor I have ever, ever encountered. Somehow, my eyeballs felt like they could smell the odor. I swung my wrench before I really looked to see what was going on and totaled what was left of the sink. In the corner of the bath tub I saw Jed writhing around with a golden metallic object in the shit lasagna. He was freaking out and screaming. The other thing I noticed was the fire. In the remains of the toilet tank was a bunch of flaming papers, right next to a can of paint thinner. I figured that Jeb threw in the thinner thinking it would burst into flames, but he neglected to uncap the thing. So I grabbed the can of paint thinner and in one swift motion clocked Jeb in the head with it. He started freaking out even more, and at this point I could see that the object he was writhing with in the tub was a saxophone. He seemed to be bleeding all over his head but it was hard to tell because of the shit smeared everywhere, coming out onto the floor. The lightbulb was covered in either nail polish or blood.

I backed out of the room and grabbed a jug of urine, and threw it at the fire. Remembering I should probably uncap the jug before using it to extinguish flames, I grabbed another one and actually poured it out. By this time Jeb was trying to get out of the bath tub, so I stomped at him with my boot, closed the bathroom door, and jammed the fuck out of there after one final check for any hostages in the bedroom.

Then I got the fuck out of there, rammed the exterior door with a patio table, and called the cops, the fire department, an ambulance, and, after getting back into my place and looking up the number, the landlord.

There. Done.

Aftermath: there was some court action for back rent, but all said and done they couldn’t prove I was withholding rent because I paid Jed with cash, and I ended up actually getting paid money to stay there in the long run.

Just to clarify, the shriek noises were his psychotic wailing, not the sax, which was full of shit and inoperable. The strange bass noises was his movements in the damn lasagna tub, amplified by the fact that it is a gigantic shitty cheap plastic tub and next to my wall.

There were never tarantulas actually running around in the apartment. They were all in their cages and quite dead by the time the showdown occurred. I wish I had known that, because I might not have been so berserk frenzied at the time of re-entry.

The cleaning costs were somewhere around twenty five thousand dollars. I know I scored around 8 thousand dollars after it was all said and done. I don’t know what the police said, and his parents refused to speak to me except through lawyers.

I know they called some special unit or something with moonsuits to extract Jeb from his shithole, but I didn’t stick around much after that before going to the hospital. I drove myself.