Category Archives: haunted

Seriously, Fuck Bed Bugs

The  the mahogany flat, the crimson rambler, the heavy dragoon, the chinche bug, and the dreaded redcoat. Though these may sound like the codex cognomens of a fleet of roguish pirate ships they refer instead to another terrifying plunderer of booty, the bed bug, whose treasure is paid in blood and the sight of which can instil more terror than that of the Jolly Rodger. It’s fucking Jolly, for god’s sake.

I'M OWN EEEH CHEW

I ended the last post with Girlfriend and I abating our unease with our room, coming to terms with it and finally being able to call it home. Then suddenly, FUCKING BEDBUGS. And it’s not funny. Everyone I’ve told gives a cursory “That’s terrible,”  or “lol sounds bad” completely unaware of the enormity of the problem.

On Girlfriend’s birthday (last Wednesday) I started to notice small red dots on my arms and feet which later began to swell and itch. Then, she too began to suffer the pinprick plight. Google told us they were hives and then told us that hives happen for pretty much no good reason at all.  So we were resigned that they’d eventually go away. Then, on Saturday, waking up in the middle of the night after an essay-nap we caught the scarlet night-time visitor, this scuttling Santa of Doom. And, just like that moment you spot an ant on concrete only to realise you’ve just spotted the patch of concrete in between the ants so too with our bedsheets, as we started to see more of the Crimson Cunts scarper about in satisfying contrast to our sky-blue bed-linen. We spent the night mostly awake with the light on to dissuade them  from emerging again. They mostly come at night, you see.

..Mewstly

We knew what we had to do. I said we should take off and nuke the entire site from orbit at which point Girlfriend started shouting “Fucking A, man, fucking A!” in agreement so we called a 24/7 exterminator to get a quote. Usually it’s around 150 squids but because of the Easter holiday it’d be closer to 350. What a stupid fucking holiday. This meant the problem wouldn’t be dealt with till the following Tuesday, as we knew our landlords would have their pockets, and not our health and well-being, at heart. The next day first thing we black-bagged every last item of clothing and called the landlords. It was around 2 when the landlord’s son came out to us, bringing with him what we thought to be only a temporary solution; an insecticide bomb.

"It's the only way to be sure...right?"

I tore the pin off the top, threw it in and jumped out of the room in slow-motion, cascading to the floor. We took off for a well deserved Easter Cream Egg McFlurry while we imagined our enemies choking to death underneath our mattress and after 2 hours we returned, only to find the bomb was a dud and failed to ignite. Landlordson appeared again, this time with a can of ACME Bed-Bug-B-Gone. Heaving up the mattress I located some soon-to-be Red Dead BaBedbaBugs, took aim and shot a jet of carcinogens in their faces.

and they just KEPT. COMING.

We took everything we had to a laundrette, washing and drying for 2 hours and at one stage occupied every single machine. We rang the landlord, demanding fumigation and a new bed; the new bed they could get (by Tuesday) but they seemed reticent to call in the professionals.

This is what made the entire thing so horrendously stressful. The bugs are horrible, scuttling nightmares who’d been feeding on us for some time, and we had marks from our feet to our faces and forced us to fleer our home but they’re still neither inherently good nor bad.

Girlfriend's arm. Each Bed bug feeds for 10 Minutes before they become engorged. Seriously, fuck them.

It was not knowing whether we could trust the people who’d caused this mess to fix it, to believe them when they said they would bring in an exterminator and the lengths they’d go to save themselves some dosh. It was this that made Girlfriend burst into tears outside King’s Cross station as we headed to a mate’s house to escape. As Ripley put it in Aliens:

 “I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage. “

That night we stayed in our friend’s living room which we had to share with their new pet rabbit. A strange Easter treat which gave our bizarre weekend another spin of the absurd. After two days of stressful displacement and with essay deadlines looming we finally got a call from the landlord saying they’d thrown out the bed and paid the man who’d fitted the new bed £100 to spray the room. Real encouraging. After surveying the room we headed downstairs and caught the landlord on the landing. His puffy face swelled with guilt and behind his glasses he wore the expressions of a child who’d been caught.

“Everything was new when you came and now I’ve gotten you a new bed too! You should appreciate what I’ve done for you!”

He implored. We were having none of it, our demands strengthened by our position at the top of the stairs.

I told him the whole house will have to be fumigated or we’re getting our deposit back. The nerve…chyeah, we really appreciate being the bloodmeal for the parasites of a rapist drug addict. With our ultimatum he winced his wet, piggy eyes and scarpered back downstairs, corkscrew tail between his little legs.

Fuck Bed bugs.

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The Haunted Room

We were elated. It was a silly, spontaneous act but we agreed that moving in together made the most sense; the time and money we were wasting getting to and from our respective abodes and the amount spent in eachother’s company was getting into silly territory. This way we could spend time with each other as a by-product of doing all the little daily things we’d be doing anyway.

Well, maybe not all the little things...

The house-hunt was mercifully short as we settled on the second place we’d come to view; a large room in a flat-share with a brand new kingsize bed, lovely wee kitchenette, two work-desks and access to the gorgeous rooftop terrace which looks out onto the cute behinds of Tufnell Park’s houses and flats. The location was great (Tube station less than 5 mins away) the price was sweet and the room had the potential to fulfil our cutesy dreams of being hip, young poverty-stricken urbanites so we giggled a bit, said yes to the hilariously combustible Greek family that rents the flats, and giggled some more, planning to invest in necessities such as wall hangings, fairy-lights and incense.

Some things are just too good to be true…

Oh why didn’t I heed your warnings BBC3’s The Real Hustle!

Soon after we’d dumped our stuff in our new room we bounded down the stairs, eager to acquaint ourselves with the area and perhaps with our new housemates. We bumped into one on the landing below ours, a handsome young chap who was just exiting his room. We pounced on him in unison, shaking hands and declaring our arrival with goodwill and were met with a friendly but oddly tired response. He was just moving out you see, oh that’s a pity we said, trouble with the neighbours he said, oh dear we said, now getting worried, no need to worry he said, the culprit was in Room 7, our room, so he was gone too. Oh that’s a relief, we sighed, yes, he agreed, though with that same weariness, we were safe as he was now behind bars. This strangely didn’t make us feel safer. Oh dear, we said. Yeah, that’s why he and his girlfriend were moving out.

“She can’t come back,”

In hindsight this last line should have stuck with us a little harder but at the time we were too concerned with politely issuing “oh dear”s and “that’s awful”s as we quickly wound up the brief interaction bounding off to other more light-hearted fare.

It was a line that began to haunt us, just a tad.

We tried to keep the idea far from our minds and out of our new room but little left-over pieces of evidence kept drifting into our peripherals. For example, the casual mention of how No.7’s former occupant had smashed the intercom phone by the technician who came to fit us a new one; the empty packets of wooden flooring (even the floor in our room had to be replaced?!) and now even our brand-new, still-in-the-plastic kingsize bed became conspicuous.

We refused to let our wild-running imaginations tarnish the room but as we snuck under the covers on that first night it was impossible to keep those persistent doubts from creeping into the bed with us to the extent that at one point Girlfriend aimed her saucer-like eyes at me and said:

“Will you come to the bathroom with me? I’m scared.”

The next day, our detective work continued. Girlfriend had managed to intercept some mail for Room 7, and using the name of the intended deliveree and this web-zone called “Google”* she ascertained that he was indeed in court (his preliminary hearing had fallen on the same day we had collected our keys!).  The internet knows a scary amount of things.

The recentness of the whole affair increased our sense of unease but what irked us the most was the revelation that our room had not just been the lair of the Accused but also the scene of the crime.

After interactions with some of our new neighbours and after a delightful BBQ on the terrace with the occupants of Room 2 we were finally filled in on some of the details. Adding to his horrendous crime he had also been a drug addict who had refused to pay rent for over 6 months. Now we know why our landlord demanded good references. Good for us but for her, alas, too little too late.

With confirmation we could finally move on and our sense of unease began to give way as the room slowly became our own. Not as many fairy-lights as I would like for the moment but the ghost that haunted us has been exercised to some extent.  Our fridge is packed and cupboard stacked to bursting with caramel wafers (from LIDL. So. Fucking. Good.) and a pattern of daily life is emerging, Girlfriend making me sam-ges in the morning before I jet off to work (some feminist she is).

Finding normality, for us, is relatively easy of course and I only hope for the couple that were below us, for the woman especially, that they too can regain some sense of normality and balance.

*to find out more about this website you can visit it by typing double you, double double you google dot com (all lower case!)

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