So. In my long awaited return to blogging, I offer an amusing tale of triumph in the face of almost assured defeat.
To say the least of it, Dan, Robby and I had a roommate that none of us quite meshed with. It progressed in to full on dislike in the couple weeks prior to his departure, which culminated in a celebratory easter/the-jerk-roommate-is-gone dinner. The shadow had been lifted. Ding Dong… the witch was dead.
That’s what we thought, anyway.
Recently, Dan was going through his things, and happened to notice that a few bottles of his more expensive liquor, and a nice cocktail shaker that his sister had gifted him for his birthday had oddly gone missing.
Dan sends a friendly non threatening message to our ex roommate asking if he’d happened to have seen these things, or if he’d accidentally taken them in the maelstrom that is moving. Dan gets a response: “I don’t know. Will check when get home. Can’t stop by this week.”
Two days go by.
Dan sends another message, asking for a verdict. Had the guy seen the stuff? No answer.
Two more days go by. Still no answer.
Then, on the guy’s crappy band page… an ambiguous status update. A song lyric? An inside joke, perhaps? Openly mocking a man merely asking for his belongings back? You be the judge: “Gimme my alcohol back.”
At this point, Dan was at work, and I was alone at the apartment with my awesome roommates, Joe and Robby. We were all more or less agreed. The guy was being a jerk… and what’s worse, he was being a coward. Posting behind the semi anonymity of his band, and on a page that Dan never would have looked at was, in so many words, a verbal sucker punch.
I thought about responding in kind. After a few minutes of mulling over the contents of this response with my roommates, we decided that the best course of action would be to set our wrath aside and think. If I were to post something as scathingly angry as I felt, Dan’s things were all but lost to him.
We went a different route.
A few minutes of Robby’s amateur sleuthing, and we had an address.
There was no hesitation. It was either showing up at this guy’s doorstep, or accepting insult and injury… and defeat. Not tonight, my friends. Not. Tonight. From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few… we band of brothers. For he who shall accompany me in the middle of the night to an ex roommate’s apartment to retrieve stolen goods, is truly my brother.
We pumped ourselves up on the way there by listening to “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. We danced, we sang, we applauded ourselves on our overall cleverness… though victory had yet to be secured.
It wasn’t too long before the GPS alerted us to the fact that we had arrived at our destination 50 feet too late. This led to not a little confusion, and we parked in a nearby Wendy’s lot. We got out of the car. We walked across the street and began searching; Robby and I pulling our hoods up, Joe lamenting the fact that he didn’t have one. My heart was racing.
This was crazy. Even for me.
After a short search, we found the address. After a shorter search, we saw that his car was there – the best indication of said jerk ex roommate actually being home. I approached the apartment on my own. Robby and Joe stayed back. This was my fight. I called the guy. The phone was allowed two rings before being unceremoniously sent to voicemail. Even the dullest among us could infer that he had pointedly decided not to answer my call.
I texted. A warning shot, if you will.
I told him I was there. That I was just around to pick up Dan’s things, and that I would be on my way after that. Those of you familiar with iPhones will be also familiar with the fact that you can see if someone has read your text or not. He read it. He did not answer. Ten minutes went by, and he did not answer.
So, I let myself in to the apartment complex… and rang his doorbell.
His roommate answered.
“Hello?” He asked. There was no going back now. For better or for worse, this was the direction my night had irrevocably gone.
“Hi. Does ______ live here?” I responded.
“Yes. Who’s asking?” He didn’t seem to know of the silent war that raged.
“I’m Terin. I’m his ex roommate. Just came to pick up some of my boyfriend’s things.”
“Oh, okay.” He said kindly. No. He didn’t know. “Would you like to come in?”
No. The last thing I wanted was to be behind enemy lines with no line of sight to my friends – across the street, hidden in the shadows, their fists raised in quiet camaraderie.
“No, I’m good out here. Just passing through.”
He nodded. A moment later, my seemingly befuddled ex roommate was walking toward me. As though he didn’t know I had been there for quite some time, or what’s more… why.
“Hey.” He said uncertainly. A liar to the last.
“Hey, there. I just happened to be in the neighborhood. Just thought I’d make things easier for you and come by to get Dan’s things.”
He took an affected and untrusting step back.
“Okay, first of all… that’s really weird.” He said with the kind of indignation one could only muster as a last ditch effort to seem in the right. “I don’t like that at all.”
It was clearer to me then than it had been all night, or in the days leading up to this debacle. He was going to forgo being a gentleman in combat, forgo gracefully admitting to his own fault, and put on a show for me. He was playing the part of the confused victim, and painting me as the villain. As fate would have it, he cannot act. I can.
“Okay.” I said cheerfully. “Can I get Dan’s things back?”
He took a few more steps back.
“What was it again?” He asked, still affecting annoyance and indignation.
“A very expensive bottle of Grand Marnier, and a cocktail shaker that his sister had given to him.” I listed only two of the many things that were missing, because I had quickly surmised that choosing the most important of the lot and then cutting my losses was the best and surest course of action.
“Oh, okay.” He said with a roll of his eyes, and just before he was out of sight, “Pretty sure that shaker’s mine and a friend gave it to me, but whatever. I’m not going to argue.”
“Okay, great!” I responded sweetly.
This, and this only, was his admittance of fault. Making up a quick and half hearted story as to why he would have taken something that clearly did not belong to him, and then making it seem like he, again, was the victim by deciding to give it up. If he had, indeed, believed it to be his… he should have, and most certainly would have, fought for it. He gave it up, because he knew he was wrong.
A few moments later, he returned with Dan’s belongings.
“How did you find out where I lived?” He asked as he begrudgingly handed me over the prize.
“Robby saw a flyer for your housewarming party.” Was all I said.
He stood silent for a moment.
“… Okay.” He finally responded… put out, and defeated. I smiled again.
“Thanks, ______!” I exclaimed, and was off to join my brothers across the street. We cheered together as we raced toward the car.
We had won. The night was ours.
We returned home to Dan, showing him the fruits of our efforts. There were hugs and cheers aplenty… and then there was a subdued Denny’s celebration.
As I write this, me and my fellow veterans enjoy delicious cocktails… made all the more sweet by the fact that they were shaken in a newly retrieved cocktail shaker, and by its rightful owner.