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Ghosting

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Nothing makes you feel more unwelcome in your own home than knowing that none of the furniture there belongs to you. 

The duplex he'd rented came "fully" furnished-- though, it looked incredibly sparse, despite the fact the home wasn't huge, to begin with. There was a threadbare couch in the living room, one that at one point was perhaps a bright, obnoxious neon pink. Now, it's dusky, muted, like it'd partied itself out in the eighties and went back to couch nightschool to get a degree in couch accounting. Next to it, a dining chair that's  insisting  it's an armchair, though it's certainly not fooling anyone. The cushion of it is forest green and rubbed-raw velvet. The scratched-up coffee table was just the right height for new guests (and, for now, Formaggio himself) to really fuck up their shins on its aggressively sharp edges.

The bedroom only had a  twin , for Christ's sake. He was supposed to feel like an adult. Though, let's face it: he doubts he'll ever truly feel like an adult. No one he knew seemed to.

Except, perhaps, Proscuitto and Risotto. But Risotto is a million years old, and Proscuitto is...

Proscuitto. 

Regardless. The bedroom, he knew upon purchase, was pathetic, small bed included. The walls were goth-kid purple, which made the whole room look dark regardless of how brightly the sun shined through the meager window above the bed. To the right was a generic, white, IKEA dresser, and the only normal fucking thing in the house. On the back of the door sits a huge, rectangular mirror ("Good for selfies!" the listing insisted).

The only items of furniture in the house that truly belonged to him was the shiny flatscreen television he'd won in a raffle, and the mattress he bought upon learning that the original bedding was included in the listing. 

Formaggio lays on the bed, his arm hanging off the side and brushing the plush, black rug beneath. On his chest sits his (illegal) cat, purring as she paws at the mesh of his undershirt. It can't be any earlier than two AM, and he's... Miserably drunk. A one-man housewarming party gone wrong.

"Pretty, pretty kitty... Prettiest kitty..." He sing-songs, his hand manipulating the cat's ears to flap back and forth. It's not long before she's had enough, hissing and swiftly biting her master's fingers.

"OW, WHORE--" he screams, causing the cat, claws at the ready, to scramble off his exposed stomach and through the door. In his belated reaction time, he manages to grab the empty whiskey bottle sitting near his hand and flings it at the door, where the cat had been mere moments before. It crashes into the door proper, and explodes into a shower of glass, sparkling like a diamond chandelier in the dim moonlight of the window. "Fuck," he mumbles, and slowly rolls out of bed to assess the damage. There's a lot of glass, far too much to be from the whiskey bottle alone. He looks up at the door and is met with half of his own gaze, a single green eye cracked down the middle. It's just as drunk and frustrated as he is.  "Fuck,"  he repeats, eloquent. He stands, and, luckily, he'd fallen into bed with his shoes on, because he crunches his way through the sparkling sea into the kitchen to get the broom and dustpan. 

He returns and sets to sweeping up the glass. The cat-- who, as far as Forma is concerned, is the catalyst of the problem, sits on the diningarmchair, cleaning her ears that her master had so wrongly disrespected. He makes eye contact with the creature, who muurps  at him. 

Idiot,  her eyes read.

"Shut up," he says, aloud. He finishes sweeping up the glass and balances the full dustpan out the front door to head to the garbage.

Where his neighbor is waiting.

His very clearly pissed neighbor. 

Said neighbor, Ghiaccio, was irredeemably short, in stature and in temper. Right now, his mint-blue hair, which normally was put up in stupid, intricate curls all over his head, was wavy and down, clipped with little red bobby pins to keep out of his face. His huge, red glasses were sitting a bit haphazardly on his nose.  Velma , Formaggio's whiskey-soaked brain supplied. It wasn't far off, but he doubted Ghiaccio would appreciate the comparison, now or ever.

"Are you fucking insane," Blue Velma snarls at him while he meanders over to the trashcan to dump the glass.

"Not really," he responds, dumping his deposit into the garbage.

"It's three o'clock in the fucking morning. What are you doing?"

"If I'm honest, my best." There are four Blue Velmas in front of him, and each of them has his creepily perfect teeth exposed in a snarl. They overlap into a single Velma when he blinks a few times. "Had a bit to drink," obviously, "n' I smashed the mirror on accident. Sorry for waking you up."

"I have work in three hours!"

"Well, good morning, then." He's already halfway back up the stairs. "Now you can make a big breakfast or take a long shower. It's, like, a blessing in disguise or somethin'."

BAM.

Formaggio turns, and Ghiaccio's trashcan is flipped on its side, and the little man himself is practically frothing at the mouth.

"Blessings," he hisses, "are INANIMATE FUCKING OBJECTS! THEY CAN'T FUCKING WEAR DISGUISES! "

"What," Formaggio says, and the neighborhood seems to be in agreement, as the lights in a few nearby houses click on.

"THAT'S STUPID! YOU'RE SO FUCKING STUPID-- "

"Ghiaccio," comes a voice, rich and deep, one Formaggio would imagine a python would have to convince its prey to relax. He looks towards the door on Ghiaccio's side of the fence, where a purple-haired man's head sticks out. He looks like he's bent impossibly, his shoulders somehow parallel with the doorframe. "You're going to wake the neighborhood."

"What the fuck," Formaggio whispers.

"WHATEVER!" Ghiaccio screeches, then stalks his way up the stairs to push past the man at the door. The man looks towards Formaggio with a doctor's scrutiny. 

"Your eyes are dim," he says clinically, and if it weren't for the tone Formaggio would think he was calling him stupid. "You should eat more calcium-rich foods." And as quickly as he came, he's gone. The door barely clicks shut.

"What the fuck ,"  Formaggio whispers, to himself, and to God. The only answer he gets is the neighborhood lights clicking back off. He takes his dustpan back inside and kicks off his shoes, tossing the pan onto the kitchen counter and trudging back to his bedroom. He's barely two feet in the door when a sharp, stabbing pain enters his foot.

"FUCK!"  He shouts, which was met with a harsh slam on the wall. He missed some glass, it seems. He hops on his good foot to the bed and pulls out the shard. "Fuuuck..." How the fuck did he miss the monstrosity, he's unsure-- the shard is the length of his middle finger, and triangular, a perfect shank for the sole of his stupid, drunk foot. He throws it onto the bedside table to deal with later.


The next morning, he sits on the Accountant Couch (his cat, who had so graciously forgiven him, sat on the arm of the sofa, cleaning her ears again), cross-legged, and hunched over his piece of shit laptop, several craigslist ads open for him to peruse through. 

He liked having that mirror there. It was, after all, Great For Selfies. He had an Instagram following on the line, now. A replacement was in order, preferably an affordable one. It takes a bit of keyword-jumping, but a listing catches his eye:

FORECLOSURE SALE.

SORRENTO Villa. All original furniture and art for sale.

Includes:

  • 5 Bedroom sets (Whole set sale ONLY)
  • 4 Bathtubs, Toilets.
  • 2 single sinks, 2 double sinks
  • Assorted rugs, mirrors, paintings, etc.
  • Sale ends 6:30 PM Sunday

Sorrento was close enough, and if a mirror there was too expensive, he could just go into town and buy one there... It felt good to go out and drive, anyways.

The Villa in question, when he arrived, was in complete disarray. The house itself was massive, with three or more stories. The windows have long since been broken, but he could tell at one point they were grand structures, and in the front sits a dome of them, looking out onto a manmade lake, which spits a useless, mildewy green sludge rather than a grand arc that the fountain looks used to. The front door is twice Formaggio's height, though the mahogany is faded and dreary. 

The "yard sale" takes place on the grand, overgrown lawn, the house's contents spewed haphazardly across it, as if the house had puked out its furnishings.

And. Toilets, which look a special sort of out of place surrounded by glass. Formaggio exits his car and approaches a man bent down in front of a long dining table, etching a price onto a sticky note and smoothing it out on the table's surface.

"Uh, excuse me?" He begins, and the man starts, bumping his head on the table.

"Owww, ouch, ouch..." The man whimpers, and turns to Formaggio, and--

Is that. His fucking landlord? He takes a closer look at the man in front of him, and, yes. He's wearing the same slit, cropped sweater he wore when he handed Formaggio the keys, and his fried lilac hair is hard to miss. "Formaggio? From C-2?"

"Yeah," he confirms, dumbfounded, "What're you doing here?"

"Oh, we won this house in an auction, so we're selling off all the furniture and stuff so we can renovate it properly."

"We?" He glances around and finds no one else.

"Me and my partner. He's not here right now." He states, his tone nearly robotic with practice.

"Oh," Formaggio says, "okay. Hey, do you have any, like... Floor-length mirrors here?"

"Did you break the old one?" His landlord ventures, a thin, purple brow raised.

"No," he replies, too fast. "I want one for the bathroom, too."

"Ah, alright! We do have one, it's over here..." He smooths the sticky note on the table one more time and bounces his way past a maze of rolled carpets, Formaggio following close behind. They arrive at a set of chairs, all covered in mirrors of all sizes, from circles to squat little squares. Leaning against one of the chairs is the floor-length mirror in question, and it's... way more decorated than the one he'd broken. It's oval-shaped, framed in shiny gold metal, fashioned into looping vines that curl up and over the mirror like a thorny, gnarled crown. The glass was dusty and on the bottom was a huge gash that cut up to around the mid-point. 

"Here we are!" Chirps his landlord. "If you want it, it's a hundred bucks."

Formaggio sputters.  "A hundred bucks?  The thing's fucking cracked! Can't you give me, like, a tenant's discount, or something?"

His landlord kisses his teeth. "A tenant's discount? Why would I do that?"

Fucking landlords.

"Fine, but there's  still  a crack! Make it twenty!"

"Twenty!?" It's the lilac man's turn to sputter. "No way! We still have a house to renovate, you know! Ninety!"

"Twenty-five."

"Seventy-five!"

"Thirty."

"Seventy!!"

"Thirty-five..."

"You're annoying!" The landlord whines and Formaggio notes that if the brat was a decent haggler, they wouldn't have gotten as far as they did. "Fine! Forty! I can't sit here and do this all day with you!"

"You're killin' me, but I'll take it." He reaches into his pocket, pulling out his wallet and leafing through it, taking out the cash and handing it to his landlord, who swipes it from his hand and stalks off.

Formaggio grins to himself, and rolls his shoulders, picking up the surprisingly heavy mirror and dragging it towards his car. It takes some careful effort to make sure it's laid in a way that it won't slide around and kill him-mid transit, but he's happy with his haul regardless.


It's just as hard to get it out of the car as it was to get it in, but he'll be damned if he asked his cranky-ass neighbor for help. He drags it up the stairs and through the living room, where his cat watches him with owlish eyes. The closer the mirror comes to her, the more hairs raise on her back.

"What's your problem," Formaggio grunts, and as he and the mirror pass, the cat yowls and darts for the bathroom. Weird. He pulls the mirror into the bedroom, and he mounts it with the cord running along the back, which, despite the mirror's age, held strong.

"There y'go..." He pats the side of the mirror, "welcome home, bud."

The mirror doesn't reply, and Formaggio is stuck staring at his reflection. 

Still dusty. 

He leaves the mirror there, and ducks into the kitchen. He grabs a spray bottle of cleaner and a paper towel roll, then returns to the bedroom to spritz and wipe down the glass. He makes his way down the surface and in his haphazard haste, cuts his pinkie open on the gash. 

"Shiiiit..." He whimpers, shaking out his hand. The mirror is sharper than anticipated, and beads of blood drip onto the glass's surface. He grips his pinkie in his other hand, hissing in pain. "After I welcomed you in here, asshole? Rude." The mirror remains silent.

He gets up to get a bandage.

He makes his way to the bathroom, opening the medicine cabinet and retrieving the small box of bandages. He takes one from the packaging and uses his teeth to help pull the paper open. Once he applies it, he tosses the box into the sink and returns to the mirror.

"Alright, dickhead, one more time now..." He bends back down with the intent to wipe the blood from the glass and stops. Huh. He could have sworn he'd gotten some on it, but the surface is blood-free. The dust he hadn't gotten to hasn't even moved.

No matter, then. He finishes the dusting and stands back up. Despite the gash, the mirror looks damn near brand new, now. He traces his finger along one of the twisting, thorny vines surrounding the glass's edge. "It's cool. You didn't mean it." 

He really needs to stop talking to inanimate objects.