Naturally, my immediate move was to open the door in order to confront Bent about his interesting take on the world. So I stepped out, while simultaneously saying something along the lines of “Bent, this is not something we’ve explicitly agreed upon” …
…Here I have to make a necessary digression. What was not known to me at the time was that on Bent’s list of wacky quirks a particular one was especially relevant to the situation at hand. Bent preferred to go through life naked. And no, this is not a poetic metaphor for him opening up his fragile soul to the cold and cruel world, leaving him vulnerable yet free. I mean the dude spent the entirety of his time while inside his room not wearing anything at all. I’m guessing the only reason he’d never pulled that shit outdoors was the prospect of those damn pesky cops ruining the fun…
…All of this meant that upon my opening the door I was presented with the sight of Bent’s naked ass, while he quickly scampered to his room to put on some clothes. Now, when you’re a young man, seeing a significantly older man’s exposed ass is pretty damn traumatising. Am I right, Macaulay Culkin? What had confused me was that Bent obviously had a bit of sanity left in him to know that it wouldn’t have been OK to continue a face-to-face conversation while one party’s genitalia were out in the open. Else he wouldn’t have made the mad dash for his room when I’d opened the door. So, this brought about another interesting conclusion. Bent had not expected me to open the door! Bent would have been perfectly comfortable if our conversation had continued through the door, with me on one side of it, and him and his penis on the other. To this day I’m not sure why Bent found it natural to interact with other people through closed doors while naked. Maybe it’s the only way he had ever been able to convince his ex-wife to have sex.
So, while I was still recovering from the shock of what I had just witnessed (reminder: older man’s ass), Bent popped up from behind the half-opened door to his room (still naked, but lower part of his body mercifully hidden). He said the following, obviously implying that I had been the crazy one for not familiarising myself with the universal “No peeing or eating after 10PM rule” (also known as “The Gremlin Decree”):
“Where the hell have you lived before?!”
Aaahm, places that weren’t future crime scenes with numerous dead bodies found in the attic?! Places where demons were understood to be made-up mythological creatures, rather than real entities that gave you daily orders through telepathic links to your brain?! Anyway, I stupidly responded with yet another rational comment about the way normal people lived. Bent popped right back into his room, spent a few moments throwing on some clothes, and then walked out finally dressed. I wished he hadn’t, because that was where he finally snapped. He unleashed a verbal barrage of opinions, complaints, and random bits of insanity too confusing and surrealistic for me to recall fully. Among them figured his delusional view of how households functioned, some completely disjointed comments about prior tenants and his neighbours, explanation of how patient he’d been about me fucking up his kitchen order with my crazy washing liquid by the sink, and finally an accusation indicating that I’d spent every night loudly moving furniture around, which he didn’t like.
*Digression* I’m not aware of my being a sleep-walker and I’m certainly not that much into interior design to re-arrange furniture in 24 hour cycles. But holy shit – how awesome would it be if my sleeping body was capable of such feats?! I could get a second job as a night-time interior decorator and get paid while simultaneously getting a good night’s sleep! Hell yeah! *End of digression*
Bent’s outpouring of demented remarks was accompanied by sudden violent pitches in intonation (maybe those were the moments where demons took over his body), neurotic pacing back and forth, and uncontrolled hand gesticulations that made epileptic seizures look like yoga relaxation techniques. It was somewhere in the middle of this “sociopath’s soliloquy” that my mind had finally connected the dots. All of those previously ignored danger signals had finally aligned themselves into a clear picture of who I was dealing with. In a terrifying moment of clarity I’d understood that the man in front of me was absolutely, certifiably insane…and that I was trapped in an apartment with a guy who at any time could finally cave in to the pressure from “inside-head friends” and attempt his first kill.
By pure inertia I’d made one last feeble attempt at returning the conversation to the realm of reality and said:
“OK, but I just need to take a shower and then I’ll head to bed”
“No, what you need to do is go to your room and be quiet!
The only reason Bent hadn’t said “and shut the fuck up” was because his “shut the fuck up” quota for the day was used up on randomly screaming out those words in buses full of people he didn’t know.
Realising that arguing with a lunatic was a lot like trying to put ballet shoes on an alligator – entertaining for a while, but ultimately pointless and potentially fatal – I had decided to pacify Bent with:
“OK, you’re right, I’m wrong. Good night”
Bent appeared partially satisfied with that outcome, yet continued his tirade nonetheless. Because what’s the fun in being crazy if you’re gonna let small things like people agreeing with you stop your rampage once you got started. Not wanting to listen to more of Bent’s rambling and, more importantly, not wanting to continue presenting a live target for his imminent murder spree, I had repeated “Good night” and retreated to my room.
To find out how this story ends, follow the link to Part III