Friday, August 24, 2012

Binghamtownie: Curry Monster love Curry (I)

It turns out, we don't really know which tenant called our roommate, Homeschool, that day and neither did Natalie. This sort of confusion became commonplace in our interactions with her and probably should've been some sort of warning, but hey, I guess I'm incapable of that kind of foresight.

Here's an unrelated video about mermaid murder, because it's awesome and full of mayhem. Which is kind-of how our stay in Binghamton was--full of mermaid murder.

When we pulled up a woman was bent over weeding the grass and raking what seemed to be a flower bed. She wore a dress that dangled like a set of drapes, tied back at the waist with a belt to accentuate her curves.

We parked, got out, walked up to white Aunt Jemima and asked, “Do you know where the landlord is? We’re here for a tour of the apartment that’s up for rent.”

Natalie's attire, minus sunhat
“Oh yes, yes,” she said in a raspy voice with a heavy Russian accent. Her face looked like what would’ve been the result of Harvey Dent’s reconstructive surgeries had he not died. “Please, don’t mind my mess. I am Natalie. I’ve been working all day. I own this building and that purple one across the street. I showed four girls around there earlier today. They will probably move in in September.

“You guys are so handsome. You must be students,” she assumed. “Everyone is a student here except first floor.”

We followed her up the small front porch into the building, trying to figure out how to tell her only one of us was a student and settled on letting her talk to our one roommate, Homeschool, in order to avoid the issue.

Natalie told us to wait in the entryway before scurrying up the set of stairs to check if the apartment was open. A loud knock came from the second floor followed by brief quiet. No response. Knock knock. Again, no response. After this Natalie's patience had reached its limit. “Khristoff, answer the door. It is Natalie. Please, I am trying to give tour.” Still, Khristoff wouldn’t answer and Natalie wasn’t ready to give up. She came rushing back down the stairs and said, “I’m so sorry. Please, wait one minute I will get Khristoff,” then went out the front door.

In hindsight, I’ve realized Natalie’s body always seemed to be in conflict with her feet. Like in cartoons where the character’s feet move so fast that the motion becomes a blur, Natalie’s feet seemed to rush around while the rest of her body, including her customary oversized sunhat, seemed at rest.

Anyways, we followed Natalie outside where she started yelling, “Khristoff, I must give a tour. Please come to the window.” To our surprise, we discovered Khristoff was home when the window slid open and he shouted back, “I can’t today, Natalie. I have work and the place is a mess. Ask Curry Monster.”

“But we agreed…”

“No. I said you could yesterday. You didn’t say anything about today.”

“Oh, oh. Okay. I will speak to Curry Monster,” Natalie said, then turned to us and said, shielding her mouth to the side with one hand, “I knew he was in there. His car's parked out back."

Leading us back inside, Natalie continued her rant, "Khristoff... such a pig. He leaves giant mess. I tell him he must be out this week, but he says, 'Oh Natalie I am just cleaning, please, just a couple more days,' but he never leaves.

"Oh, I am so sorry guys," she said, then knocked on, what we presumed to be, Curry Monster's door. This time the door opened after the first knock and a young Indian man with a scraggly beard opened the door.

Before he could greet her, Natalie said, "Ah yes, Curry Monster, can I please show these boys around your apartment? It will only take a few minutes I promise. Out in no time."

"Probably, Natalie. Let me just check with everyone else." He closed the door and then came back after a few minutes. "Ok, you can come look around, but we haven't cleaned yet or anything."

"Thank you, thank you, Curry Monster. We will be very quick."

When we went in, the first thing I noticed was a lack of any real furniture. Shortly after I was nostril raped by the smell of curry. It was like these students had bathed in curry then sprinkled the rest around the place as some sort of Indian deodorizer. Perhaps they'd never heard of a Glade Plug-in? 

Saving you the boring details, the place had basically been turned into a giant bedroom with mattresses in each room except the kitchen and bedroom. The stove top was filthy and, though I didn't notice at the time, the whole bathtub and surrounding walls were covered in mildew. Blinded by cheap rent, off street parking and what seemed to be a good location, Homeschool and I overlooked this "mild" filth and were content with renting the apartment. Our other roommate, I'll call him Jimi, voiced his apprehension.

Jimi's protests came off as a polite, "I don't know guys, this place is pretty messy and the landlord seems kind-of off." Really, it should've been more like, "Holy fuck, are you guys crazy? You're really considering this pig sty? Located a couple buildings away from the projects? Surrounded by meth-heads and drowned in the stench of curry? The landlord is obviously a kook. I refuse to move in here with you."

Even then he would've been missing the bigger problems we would face. Oh well, live and let learn I guess.

Other Sections: Prologue - I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII

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