Closet for Rent
Listed 03/04/2014 9.17pm
$50 per week.
One closet in one flat – available now!
Comes with food, electricity, furniture (a mattress) and unconditional love.
No windows required.
Answer attached questionnaire to apply for viewing.
Updated 04/04/2014 12.08am
I Promise I’m Not Crazy:
Here is a reference proving that I’m delightful:
Basically a Reference:
When my ex-flatmate first met me, she thought I was awesome. She told my sister that I seemed super nice, solid and dependable. She’d just gotten out of a nuclear war of a relationship and thought I’d be good for her. These are all positive things. On a few occasions prior to her becoming freakishly mean, she would commend me on my tidiness and reliability.
My sister told my ex-flatmate to move out.
I would prefer that you bothered me – and at all hours. I’d love it if you woke me with your heavy breathing in the closet, which is close to my bedroom. Or if you watched me while I sleep. It’s also okay if you’re an insomniac, I totally don’t judge you.
If you enjoy watching me sleep, I will cover your rent for the first week.
Updated 21/04/2014 3pm
Mature Response to Ex-Flatmate:
I don’t hold anything against my ex-flatmate, even though she tormented me near the end of our living arrangement and romantic connection. I’m a very tolerant and forgiving guy. I’m quite positive, rarely messy and I clean the toilet whenever I make a mess. Don’t even worry about that.
Updated 21/04/2014 3.45pm
I Won’t be Letting Abandoners Live Here:
I am handling the break-up really well @Richardflames255. Have you ever had someone experience every part of you and your home and then abandon you? I bet you haven’t – because no one likes to get close to flames.
You Cannot Do Things Like This to Me:
Here is an example of how my ex-flatmate is a demon woman and I forgave her, which is a good reason for you to flat with me. Out of all the insults, arguments shouted or insinuated, this is the memory that still makes my skin crawl:
We were in bed one night and we were not cold. Her left leg’s home was between mine, our arms were plaited together. She chose that time to whisper, “A man flirted with me today.”
“It does, but I don’t normally notice it.”
We shifted, or she shifted. Anyway, then I was facing the window. She moved her mouth close to my ear, so all I could do was hear.
“I thought about him … I seriously considered him.”
I remember that breathing was a victory at this point. “Why?”
“It didn’t feel bad. It just felt like a natural progression.” Once she said this, it was I who was trying to move. I wanted to fall onto the floor. But I couldn’t, she held me. “I mean, what’s next for us, Neil?”
“I haven’t thought …” Saying that made me feel so weak, so like a boy. She sighed and I knew that men must always think of tomorrow.
“Sometimes I have these panic attacks and I can’t help but think you’re causing them.”
She left our bed for the night. I don’t know where she went, but she left the light on in the closet as she pulled on her heels. I was going to get up and turn the light off, but staring at it stopped me from crying. I finally felt safe, like there was another person in my life, out of sight and weird enough to live in a closet.
I was thinking of you – you who are reading this and will be my perfect flatmate. If you think I’m crazy then you’re just like her: an evil ex-flatmate who didn’t like my insomnia, anxiety disorder, introverted nature, job or maturity. If you are going to flat here, you have to enjoy all of these things about me, please.
I remember waking in the morning with her next to me, her arms binding me again. The light was off.
Updated 30/04/2014 2.13am
Yes, it’s freezing here. And yes, the walls often weep in winter, but that’s how community is formed – like glorious mould clumps. When you have to sleep in the same area to stay warm and ward off colds, of course you’ll become a stronger person. Of course loneliness will leave you like a sickness.
Updated 30/04/2014 3.30am
I’m a Positive Guy Who Puts Things in Perspective:
I can’t sleep because I don’t have a flatmate.
Listen, don’t worry. I promise I won’t be depressed around you. All my ugliness will be packed away in a suitcase beneath my bed by the time you arrive. But I need to solve this situation now – I need someone to talk to who will make this feeling go away …
I’ve noticed a neighbour across the street who’s been abandoned just like me. She’s so old, she’s so small and her adult daughter left her for Australia. The old woman didn’t used to shiver like she does now. She’s been losing weight; food won’t stay in shaking hands.
Updated 02/05/2014 3.20pm
Discreetly Watch Your Neighbours, They Might Need You:
After the last time I wrote you, I went over to the old woman’s house with a meal. She was still awake, watching infomercials on the telly. I fed her, which annoyed her a little.
She said, “When you get old, you become a baby again – you need people.”
I said, “I’m not old and I need people. I think there are just people who need people.”
“I knew boys like you when I was younger. I’d want to get close to them, but I was sure I was the wrong fit – everyone seemed to be. So they stayed alone. It always made me sad, because they were too precious to be lonely. You’re like a gem, sweetie. You’re always looking for another gem. But people are dirt.”
This was significant. I’ve composed a second questionnaire that I want you to answer – it will determine if you have gem-like properties.
If You Live Here, You Have to be Okay With Elderly People:
Marigold has become my old lady friend. She doesn’t mind when I come over in the night. I have an emergency key – that’s trust. I ball up in the reading chair near her bed. This old abandoned woman smiles in her sleep because she knows if a burglar comes in through her window, they’ll feel less sure about their prospects when they see another body in the room.
Updated 19/05/2014 12.13am
You Cannot Live Here If You Are a Woman:
Let me explain. I went to a party tonight with my friend that I can’t live with: Jason. If I lived with Jason I would be miserable, but I am quite happy to go to parties with him. Things were awkward the moment I got there. Everyone was dressed in fancy dress from the Costume Cave. I had made an arts and crafts outfit. I was a sign that said “Flatmate Wanted” – I’d included headlines from this advertisement. I thought I should cast my net wide because, to be honest, people’s comments here have not been very affirming …
I stood next to an SPCA worker who was dressed as a sick dog. We got talking. She saw my sign wasn’t made by a homeless man; she noted the crisp corners, the smell of neatly applied PVA.
It was on.
I’m not a sleaze. I don’t kiss and tell (I mean, I would tell you all the time if you were my flatmate because I’d trust you with all my dirty secrets – you’d live in a closet, and by definition that’s where skeletons are kept), but I need to tell you about this because it proves that flatting with women does not work out.
Believe me, she wasn’t outwardly psychotic. She had the cutest buck teeth. I’m attracted to weird protrusions because I know I’m never going to have a traditionally attractive woman. I’m not traditionally handsome – and that’s okay, because I have nice hands.
I liked her qualities. She hadn’t written an essay or anything, but conversation is kind of like a creative essay. Everything seemed nice. I closed my eyes and kissed her a little, until I felt someone savaging my sign, tearing up my body. It was her flatmate Robbie.
I blame both of them for this incident because of what Jason told me afterwards. Outside the flat, which was warmer than the interior, Jason was using broken sign pieces to bandage my bloodied arm.
I said, “People who are taken should wear big warning stickers over their mouths.”
“She’s not taken, she’s single.”
“Then what the hell?”
“I don’t know. I think they slept together once, or maybe he intended to sleep with her before they started flatting together. You know how it is, mate.”
This incident is proof that flatting with women is a bloody affair.
Updated 19/05/2014 2am
Concerned About the Nature of Our Bond?:
You’ll complete me – not in a woman/man jigsaw way, but in a lasting, communal kind of way.
I Do Require a Flatmate, But Yes, I’m Afraid of Mediocre People:
There has been a lot of confusion regarding the questionnaire attached to this advertisement. Many of you do not want to write a 5000 word essay on why you are interesting.
An Apology for My Incoherent Advertising Skills:
You see, I posted this advertisement when I was in the thralls of a deep depression. I am rarely depressed. I’m only depressed when I don’t have a flatmate, so you won’t need to worry about that.
Terminology and Other Dangerous Things:
There have been some questions regarding my description of the space advertised, specifically the word “closet”. I thought I was being clear, but clearly not, and I apologise for my unintended lack of clarity.
When I say that the closet is next to my bedroom, the closet is the walk-in kind. It’s just off my bedroom. The architect of the house did not consult me on its positioning, and you should know that I will never view your closet as mine just because some architect deemed it so.
The closet is large enough to fit a single mattress, although the edges of the mattress do curl up like feet. But you should see this as a positive because it makes you appreciate your mattress more. It helps you relate to your mattress. Crap, now I’m bleeding on my keyboard! I need actual bandages.
Updated 20/05/2014 8.32pm
I’m Not Worthy of the Perfect Flatmate:
Here’s an example of how I’m not a nice man:
After I left you, I went over to Marigold’s because I needed real bandages – and yes, the supermarket is only a few minutes away, but supermarkets do not provide bandages for metaphorical wounds of the heart; Marigold does. Her place is too big to be empty. It makes me want to run down the corridors with my eyes shut. She was not in her bed, I thought she’d abandoned me.
I don’t want to tell you what happened next.
I found Marigold, but it took some literal digging. She’d hidden beneath her bed. I was pleased to see, just like me, that she couldn’t sleep. I asked, “Bandages?”
“In the bathroom, why?”
“I got beaten up.”
“I told you to be careful around people …”
I came back with more bandages than skin. Marigold was still underneath the bed. I pulled up her quilt wall to see her. “What are you doing?” She shuffled out with practiced ease.
“If a burglar or murderer breaks in, that’s where I’d want to be. I was being precautionary.”
“That’s pretty crazy.”
She slapped me.
“Any young man can sit with an old woman, talk about nothing and make her feel she’ll still die alone.”
Updated 15/06/2014 7.41am
You Didn’t Stand a Chance:
I took Marigold from her house yesterday. She made a fuss, until she saw her closet. Then she wrapped her arms around my torso and cried. She curled up within the closet. We both slept.
Updated 25/12/2014 6.16am
A Successful Flatmate:
I’ve met someone. She is eighty-six and we share the same dreams. Here’s an example:
One was a falling dream. The wind tried to push us out of this world with strong arms.
It was failing and we were falling to our deaths.
We hit the ground. We did not hurt, but we knew we’d lost everything. All we were left with were memories and the memories were unusual, as they always are. They were all the things weird enough to have made an impression on our lives. They appeared on our skin like tattoos, they bled up to the surface.
The tattoos were a map to our closets. Those tightly contained places, full of loved, beautifully bent things. Everything within disfigured by the small space they bumped against in the night.
I’m not sure if we actually shared this dream. But when Marigold described it to me, I knew it was the dream I had for my life. To be stowed safely away, somewhere unusual.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alisha Tyson is a New Zealand/Australian hybrid. She works in libraries where she can often be found reading to children about bears who feel strongly about hats. Her work has appeared in The Daily Science Fiction. She has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Creative Writing from Whitireia Community Polytechnic.