You are, for you, lucky this time. In one of the few jobs you managed not to get fired from in the first week, you learned to cook a little when you weren’t waiting tables. You look at the groceries, you look in cupboards. You find very little in the cupboards, but you do find salt and pepper. You fry half the bacon in the frying pan while you cut up the mushrooms, onion and a quarter of the kielbasa. Thad comes in and eats half the bacon off the paper towels you were blotting the grease off on while you’re sautéing the vegetables and kielbasa in the bacon grease. You say nothing, but you eat some bacon yourself when he leaves. You scoop the meat and vegetables out of the grease and onto paper towels to drain. You get a sauce pan really hot and dump six eggs and butter into it and, while broiling some bread, scramble the eggs very quickly. You put a piece of toast on a plate, pile the vegetables, kielbasa and bacon on them, and then pile the eggs on top of that. You arrange squares of toast around this to keep it from spilling out the sides. You grab a knife and fork and bring it to him on the couch. He sends you back into the kitchen for salt and pepper, which he doesn’t use because you actually seasoned it well enough while cooking it. You go back into the kitchen and clean up.
Thad wolfs down half of it before he notices you slouching in the kitchen doorway, looking at your feet. “You hungry?” he asks, or demands, depending on your point of view.
He parks in front of a grim apartment building with dead grass and broken toys in front of it. He uncuffs you and drags you across the driver’s seat to get out of the car, which he does not lock because everyone knows this is Thad G’s car and dying for fucking with it would be painful, pointless and humiliating. Anyone with any brains would steal a newer car from someone less lethal than Thad G.
Going into the building, you notice what you think is his name on the buzzer panel: Thaddeus Gorski. Even this name that might be his name intimidates you, but you’re not sure why. You are shoved up three flights of broken, filthy stairs to his apartment. It has the most boring furniture you have ever seen and looks like no one lives there.
“Find shit to clean this place with,” he says, throwing himself on the couch where he can see you rummaging under the sink and in the bathroom until you find a broom, rags and Comet powder.
You get to work. You’re glad he doesn’t have a dog. You hate cleaning up after dogs. You wash a lot of dishes without breaking any and have to really scrub the stove, twice. The bathroom is something you hope you can forget very soon. After you sweep the floors, you dilute some vinegar in hot water to wash them with because there isn’t any ammonia or bleach in the place. There’s a laundry basket full of bunched-up sheets and towels in the bedroom. Thad tells you to make the bed, which only has some naked pillows and tangled blankets up on it. You find lube and used condoms in the bed. You also find one very high heeled shoe there. You never find the other one. But you’re good at making beds, hospital corners and all, so it looks nice when you’re done.
You Know You Should be a Better Person (But You’re Not) 1/3
By Karmen Ghia
With apologies to Jay McInerney (or maybe he should thank me).
You know you’re unlucky when you and Thad G get to the post office after it’s closed. You knock politely on the glass door and are ignored. Thad G slams your body against the glass door until a postal employee threatens to call the police. You know it could be worse, but you’re not sure how.
“I swear, Thad, the money is there,” you whine like the sniveling little creep you are. “They open at 8:30 tomorrow, I’ll meet you–”
“I’m not meeting you anywhere,” Thad says in a way that makes your flesh crawl, as you marvel yet again that he can drag you down the street twisting your arm, while lighting a cigarette and talk at the same time. You hope he isn’t going to kill you now, but it’s hard to know what Thad G might do depending on his mood. He has a reputation for being a very moody guy.