I don’t have a great disposition for roommates. I can be cagey and odd, and usually want to be left alone—not necessarily to write, but to fuck the dog while sweating not writing. But in this apartment, down a side street just below Mount Royal metro station that the garbage truck barely squeezed down, I strove to be friendly and stay out of my room. My roommate was a friend of a friend, and for the most part we got along, bonding over a half-sarcastic, half-legit love for CSI and Doritos. The space was awkward for an unromantic couple, the bedrooms right next to one another (they might have been one room cloven in two by empty wall) and the living room gigantic and high-ceilinged, so hard to decorate. It was this tall living room that my roommate and I tried to turn into a communal office, her illustrating and me trying to keep up the writing stuff the first summer out of school. Roomie loved the idea of us creating in the same space, and I pretended to. In secret I set up a makeshift desk in my bedroom, which is where half of Pardon Our Monsters was written.
After two months of living in this apartment, I returned to Ontario for a few weeks to go on a camping trip. When I returned, my roommate cornered me with something important to tell confess. Before I could fret the possibilities, she dropped the news: while I was portaging she had successfully cast a spell and now considered herself a functioning witch. My digestion of this information was complicated by my roommates other lifestyle switch: she had become besotted with a group of metal-loving French-Canadian crusty punks. When I’d come home from my 9 to 5 brewery job, wanting only to shower and get drunk, the shower would be occupied (can you wash dreads) and the kitchen and living room was all torn denim, studded, patched leather, and single dreadlocks. A few of these guys, who were all very sweet and mostly children of wealth, were in a metal band they called Excreted Cowboy. They had no songs, but had stickers and t shirts. My favorite sticker of theirs showed the Statue of Liberty holding an automatic weapon in each hand while fighter jets soared above her. The band’s name was up top, in creepy spray paint font, and below was what I presumed to be the band’s slogan (I didn’t know bands had slogans): Audio Terrorism.
I moved out a month early, on foot--the place was just up the street--and paid two rents that month. This was an ebullient, kind person I had been living with. The shit part of the situation was that she hadn't been living with the same.