Episode LXXII-Life with a black dog.

The door to my room was half-ajar. From within, the pulsating hymn of Led Zeppelin poured out. I paused mid-step – I could identify the song if I had a moment – because I had become an expert in all things dirigible. It was Immigrant Song. I hesitated for a moment more. The initial cry of Robert Plant seemed to be echoed faintly in real, unrecorded time. The echo disappeared, only to be replaced by the sound of un-rhythmic disjointed banging that failed to accompany one beat of the song. I shifted my frostbitten fingers, fresh from rowing the ice-chunked Chicago river, and kicked the door open.

“Yo.” Sweet Cream said, not turning from whatever virtual world he was in. “How was the land of ice and snow?”

“Cold.” I muttered bitterly, dropping my bag, and cracking the tips of my abused hands in front of the heater. I was ghastly tired. SC, on the other hand, had his usual manic, sugar-fueled energy, because whatever he was doing on the computer didn’t preclude him from whacking his hands in furniture bruising time to the music. “I’m going to bed.”

“Cool.” He said, still banging away.

“So that means no more air drums.” I said tiredly. “And turn the music down.”

“Right, right”. He cackled.

“I quit the team.” I muttered to my pillow, my fatigued body, and SC as he was in the room.

“Excellent!” He said, still mildly off-tapping to the beat. “More time for us to hang out!”

“Mmmph” I muttered, as I rolled over to get comfortable.

SC had moved in right after Longhorn had left. It was ideal for both of us. He hadn’t gotten along with his aboriginal roommate at all, and I didn’t want someone random to be moved into the room. Plus, we were friends. If we hadn’t been friends, I probably would have killed him in one week after he arrived. He never slept.

Alright, it probably just seemed as if he never slept, because when I was at class from mid-morning to early evening, he was asleep. He drank nothing but chocolate milk, mountain dew, and whisky sours – fortunately, not at the same time. He listened to nothing but Led Zeppelin and Cake. He was obsessed with any sort of game. He also never did laundry, hardly emptied the trash, almost never shaved. He kept the room temperature at a balmy, constant 85 degrees. He had no regard for authority, dorm décor, or offending my neighbors.

As such, he was a great roommate. I never had to worry about the room being robbed – he was always there. He always made me laugh. We had a good time, and as long as the pile of trash stayed on his side, things were good. At least things appeared good in my absence. I realized that I hadn’t been around a lot because of crew, which had kept me away from the room for a fair amount of weekends. As I drifted off to the end tracks of Houses of the Holy, I hoped there was nothing to fret about.