In a January article, I may have falsely implied that I, O’Hagan Blades, was brutally savaged and hungrily eaten by the mysterious “Beast” that lives in the walls of my house. This is not true. I am still very much alive most days of the week. Unfortunately, as I discovered all too well last Monday, so is the Beast.
And now for a silly romance story.
We had noticed it growing more and more restless since the snow melted. It had begun waking with the first sound of garbage trucks, retiring long after final call at Rudy’s, trying out new and noisier ways to move through the walls and even sometimes bringing home other Beast-y friends to help it plot. We were living in fear, no, terror, no, deepest horror lest it come out during our slumbers and take all the leftover Thai food … and then, Monday morning last, on a day that will annually be toasted at Toad’s and in a battle about which the Whiffenpoofs will forever sing — my housemate and I heard the Beast at the open window, rallied to a cry of “hey you, that’s our pizza!” and came face to face with … (suspense, suspense) … Louis.
Louis did not look very much like any beast, much less THE Beast. He was a small grey squirrel with shifty eyes, fidgety hands and a too-wiry tail sitting inside our pizza box with a large crust shoved guiltily between his legs. We froze. He froze. We fell in love. He knew it could never be. We cried a little and said, “Then please go back out the window, Louis; we wouldn’t want our other housemates to come home and find you here … they just wouldn’t understand what’s between us, and Amy’d probably grab the hammer.”
He replied, “Well look me up if you’re ever in the walls across the street. You know I like Brick Oven crust best.” And with that, he turned and started waddling obediently onto the roof, vanishing into the midday haze, dragging his stolen or gifted crust — at this point we couldn’t tell which — with all the weight of a tragic breakup suitcase, leaving behind only a few tiny tomato sauce footprints.
For a day or two, we felt relieved. Louis was not a Beast, and now he was gone. But then on Wednesday, we found ourselves staring across the telephone line to the even-numbered roofs across the street and wondering in whose nooks and crannies Louis had found comfort now. And if they often forgot to close windows or ever brought home Brick Oven.