Pike and Terry

Like most men, I gotta pee when I wake up, and quickly. The bathroom, however, was occupied, and not by Pike, my flatmate who's always late with the rent but pays eventually. Nope, it was Terry, his girlfriend who stays here rent-free.

Waiting for shared space in the john is a minor hassle, but you can't complain because a flatmate has the right to pee.

Terry, though, is an uninvited guest. She pays no rent. Pike and I have talked about this, and twice he's said she'll start paying, but she's never paid, and I've just peed into a milk carton because that obnoxious sneezing freeloader has been in my bathroom for half an hour.

Well, it's "my bathroom," for as long as it takes me to move out of this place, which is not much longer.

Win place, and show, when I'm out of this damned apartment the three things I won't miss most are Terry, Terry, and Terry.

I also won't miss the loud neighbors, the loud neighbors' loud music, the loud neighbors' loud kids and their loud music, and their visitors who honk their horns instead of ringing the doorbells.

Won't miss the endless bass backbeat from upstairs and downstairs, the never-ending rhythm of the block. Won't miss the screams and shouts in every language of the world, the drive-by shootings and insults. Won't miss the tough-guy pose I have to adopt when walking home after sundown. Won't miss the diagonally-walking winos, crackheads, gangsters, and everything else about the Mission.

Might miss the burritos. Do they make good burritos in Berkeley?

And I will miss Pike, a little. He's a doper, a slouch, and always late with the rent, but he's an OK guy. Has a sense of humor. Has been known to make a not-stupid observation. I could share a flat with Pike, and it wouldn't be a problem.

The problem is his girlfriend, and there's simply no limit to how much I won't miss Terry.

Just now, towel over my neck, bar of soap in one hand, and a milk carton half full of piss in the other, I emerged from my room to take a shower. That's not an unreasonable hope, is it?

Terry was in the kitchen eating a sandwich, probably made with my bread. She  saw me coming, I'm sure, and put down the sandwich and skipped into the bathroom quicker than a roach when you turn the light on.

The door doesn't fully latch, so it wasn't hard to kick it open and boot her out, and you're damn right I did. "I'm gonna shower now, Terry. You can watch if you want," and I took my t-shirt off and thumbed the waistline of my shorts, and she shrieked and went back to the kitchen.

Pike said nothing; I think he thought it was funny. An hour or so later, I thought it was funny too, but in the moment I was pissed off.

Did Terry think I was going to turn around and wait again, after waiting half an hour already?

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Then I worked all day at Black Sheets, and when I came home Pike and Terry were arguing.

  From Pathetic Life #13
Monday, June 19, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


  1. I've lost my patience with Terry. But also with the way your mom never stops harping on the same things. I get that there's no comparison in your life. Of course. But to your dear readers, it's all behavior that we see you putting up with, making you a candidate for Sainthood of something or other.

    1. It makes me a putz, not a saint. Patience is a good thing, in moderation, but same as me and ice cream, if there's no end to it, it's a problem.

      Terry was unbearable because I never gave her the good screaming-at she deserved, and my mom owns me because it's only now, in my 60s, that I'm starting to stand up to her.

      If I'm a saint, I'm Saint Stupid.

    2. Is it patience, or you just don't like confrontation?

    3. Both? Is there a difference? Never gave it any thought, but it seems to me patience and good manners spring from a desire to avoid confrontation. Also I'm a coward.


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