Subcutaneous Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 17

Singles Only by Ashley O’Melia “It’s a good thing you came along when you did,” Mrs. Pritchett said as she climbed the steps. “This is the last apartment I had available, and with all the college kids coming into town I doubt you would find one anywhere else.” I frowned at the ancient Victorian. It had been carved up into apartments in the kind of architectural slaughter that was pretty common in this small town. Big, gorgeous homes weren’t needed anymore when everyone was just trying to get by on their last dime. The trees had dropped most of their leaves into the front yard and driveway, making the house look as though it had risen straight from the deciduous pile. “How much did you say the deposit was?” “Five hundred,” the old woman responded, holding up all the fingers on her left hand as she fished a key out of the pocket of her trousers with her right. A cursory glance made her appear as though she had gotten her wardrobe from a pile of Goodwill rejects. Her yellow blouse was covered in tiny red flowers and hung on her body like a springtime circus tent. The purple striped pants she wore underneath it were an interesting contrast; not that I was one to be judging. With my current financial situation, I’d be dressed like that in six months flat. “And then five hundred a month, right? Does that include any utilities?” For the millionth time, I mentally calculated the expense of moving. I blamed Jake. I wouldn’t have to be doing any of this if he could have just kept it in his pants. We were at the top of the stairs now, which had been incongruously placed against the side of the house to give access to the second story apartment. I could just imagine how much it was going to suck to haul all my groceries up here. Mrs. Pritchett didn’t respond right away. She was too busy placing the key in the slot, jiggling it, taking it out, and trying again, all the while cursing under her breath.  “What was that, dear?” She turned to glance at me over her shoulder, and I caught a glimpse of cloudy eyes set deep into her skull. I wasn’t sure how she managed to see at all. “Oh, yes. Water, sewer, and trash are included. But you’ll have your own separate electric bill. The meter is right here.” She pointed at a meter set into the wall right next to the door. “Okay.” Cha-ching. That went onto the list of