Monday, April 27, 2009

The Monkey Pit.

That title has nothing to do with the post.

So, two weeks ago, I decided to sleep in the laundry room of an apartment building where I used to live. I had a really good reason; It was four in the morning, I had to be up at 8, and I had to have all my laundry done. I don't have a car, so I decided to just chill in the laundry room while the clothes were getting cleaned, and have my ride pick me up down there. The laundry room in question doubles as a storage room for any extra furniture, so I figured I'd have a couch to sleep on at the very least.

I carried my laundry basket the three blocks, along with a pillow and a blanket. I scoped out my sleeping arrangements as I was separating the laundry into the various machines. There was no longer a couch, but there were two mattresses leaning against the wall. Perfect. I flipped the larger, outer one over, and lay down on it and promptly fell asleep.

I awoke a little while later with a distinct feeling that someone else was in the room with me. That freaked me out a bit. I opened my eyes. It was nearly pitch black, and I was facing the wall in the space just above the other mattress that was still leaning against it. Without moving, I said, "hello?"

There's this moment in "Signs" that scares me to pieces. Mel Gibson's character is looking out his window at the barn. It's pretty dark out there, and the viewer can't be entirely sure of what he's seeing, and then suddenly something in the blackness moves, and you realize there was an alien standing there in plain sight all along. When I saw that movie, I screamed hysterically.

Almost as hysterically as I screamed in that laundry room when a dark patch mere inches from my face raised up to eye level and responded in a meek voice: "hi."

When I was done screaming, and after I shouted "What the HELL!" I gathered myself to ask, "who are you?"

"I'm Darwin."

"Darwin? Do you live in here?"

"I don't live in here. I just survive in here, I guess."

He had been asleep in the space between the mattresses and the wall when I had first come in, I now realized. The mattresses had been his little lean-to shelter.

I was still breathing heavily, my heart rate at LEAST 180. "Oh, man, you scared me to death!"

"Sorry," came his feeble reply. Try as I might, I couldn't make out any feature of his face besides its silhouette. "I thought you knew I was in here when you laid down."

"No, I did NOT know you were there," I assured him.

"Well, don't tell anyone I was here, okay? They already caught me once, and they said if they catch me again I'm going to jail.

"Ok," I lied, already thinking about how I would blog about this, and maybe eventually turn it into a short film.

I got up, switched my clothes over to the dryers, and went back to sleep next to Darwin, who, despite having frightened me so badly, did not actually seem all that scary.

In the morning, I tried to get a picture of him, but it was still too dark in there. I called my friend Heather, who works at the Food and Care Coalition, and she told me that Darwin was not at all scary, and that he was one of the cleaner homelesses they got, so there was probably little concern of my having gotten fleas or lice from sleeping with him.

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