I came home from work yesterday to find the home I share in shambles.
The door was hanging crooked on one hinge. The deadbolt protruded, preventing the door from closing. Windows were variously cracked, broken, or missing altogether. There was a hole in the wall where a doorbell had once been. Water came trickling out the door and down the front steps.
As I approached, men in suits scurried from the place, carrying pieces of furniture and fistfuls of cash. A few of them I recognized, but many others were unfamiliar, and most were too shadowy to discern. Even so, I knew immediately what had happened: Left unchaperoned, my Republican roommate had thrown another party -- had invited over his zany friends and gone hog-wild.
I sighed heavily and stepped inside.
The living room was a junkyard. The couch was standing on end, its cushions strewn about and ripped apart. Walls had been stripped bare of pictures, and were gouged and stained, with slogans, logos, and slurs spray-painted everywhere. The lamps were all missing, but sunlight streamed in through a hole in the ceiling. The floor was littered with broken glass, empty bottles, and discarded junk-food wrappers. Water came in from the back room and flowed out the front door.
The television was on at full volume, but the screen had been painted on and the speakers were badly damaged, so that the box offered nothing but flickering light and incoherent noise. Going to switch the set off, I found that the controls had been removed altogether. I yanked the plug from the wall.
As the sound from the vandalized box faded, I became aware of a clearer voice echoing from the back. I followed the sound into the kitchen.
The scene was ghastly. My cat was nailed to the wall above the stove, and someone had written the word "HERO" in blood on the wall beside him. The oven door was gone entirely, and heat from the burners filled the room. The kitchen sink was full of trash. The faucet was broken off, and water geysered from a hole in the countertop, spattering across the walls and onto the floor.
The sound I was following became louder and clearer. The voice was pompous, but vaguely hypnotic, and rambled on in a nonstop diatribe about the evils of boogeymen and goblins and all other manner of fantastic villains.
Less pronounced, much harder to hear, I could make out a second voice, echoing the words emphasized in the prolonged rant.
There was a large empty space where the refrigerator had been. Part of it was occupied by a stack of pizza boxes.
"Liberal!" wailed the first voice. "Liberal!" moaned the second voice.
Water ran around dirty and broken dishes and spilled off the countertop.
"Traitor!" shouted the first voice. "Traitor!" growled the second voice.
Hot air rose from the stove and ruffled the fur of my dead cat.
"Terrorist!" spat the first voice. "Terrorist!" muttered the second voice.
I followed the voices down the hallway. Waterlogged carpet squished beneath my feet.
"Coward!" roared the first voice. "Coward!" scoffed the second voice.
The door to my bedroom was gone. Within, my bed was stripped of sheets and pillows, and a camera had been set up on a tripod. My clothes were strewn about the room, and my fishtank was smashed.
"Executed!" spat the first voice. "Executed!" muttered the second voice.
I kept moving.
At last I came to the bathroom at the end of the hallway, which seemed to be the source of the sound as well as a toxic stench. I pushed the door open cautiously.
The toilet was full of stinking sludge. The sink was full of what looked like vomit. The tub was overflowing, flooding the room.
On the floor, my roommate sat naked in the cat's litterbox, in a near-fetal position, clutching a portable radio.
"Values!" declared the radio.
"Values!" echoed my roommate with pride.
Seeing red, I grabbed the radio and smashed it against a wall. The pompous rant gave way to clattering plastic, and then nothing was left but the gurgling bathtub. Still, my roommate stared off into space, quivering, mouthing words, now scornful, now glad.
Still enraged, I launched into a lengthy tirade on the wanton destruction, on the senseless waste, on the insanity of it all. Gradually, my roommate's head turned, and his eyes slowly came to focus on me.
Somewhat encouraged, I went down the list of grievances I'd collected to that point, hoping to extract some explanation of what had gone on in my absence. As I did so, however, his dazed expression twisted into scorn.
"You don't like it?" he sneered. "Well, what's your plan?"