I was, at one point involved in a rent strike in an anarchist co-op, which was a remarkably confused endeavor. There was no (real) landlord. We had effectively decided not to pay ourselves.
I tried once, to pay us. Gave three hundred fifty bucks to the treasurer, a man with Swedish heritage and dreadlocks. He wasn’t really. Or maybe he was. I actually don’t remember how he was. so he’ll be Swedish and dreadlocked, and perhaps smoking a menthol cigarette, because as memory serves, that’s not far off. What I do remember is that he seemed surprised that anyone was giving him money at all. I suggested it should be used to buy an air conditioner or perhaps shower curtains. A rival suggestion that the organization needed a bonfire gained traction and I was overruled.
Despite my efforts I remember little about that six months I spent on the futon matt which had been placed on the floor a small, hot room where I slept, except that there was a lump under the edge of the matt where I had kept either a knife or a screwdriver. I can’t remember which.
It had been kept there because once in a bar’s parking lot two blocks down I watched some men grab a woman who looked like my little sister, which lead to a confrontation, which lead to them suggesting that I was only tough when I had company, which lead to me shouting my address four or five times. They wrote it down in their notes app.
I yelled that I leave the door unlocked and that I stay in a small hot room on the second floor. We had all, at some point become shirtless.
During this time the girl ran away. Or walked. Maybe taxied. I actually don’t remember what she did, except that I realized at some point that she was safer than she had been, proving to me that injecting enough douchebaggery into a situation occasionally produces a marginally positive but still deeply unpleasant outcome.
And when I got home I remembered that the door was unlocked not politically but because the lock had been broken since my tenure there had started. Just like the oven and microwave. The washer. Three of the stoves four burners. The heat. The air conditioning. Two windows, the banister, one toilet and the door itself.
I asked the treasurer, who was a Swedish man with dreadlocks, that our front door be fixed.
I was promptly informed that we had spent our lock money on a bonfire.
Duncan Tierney currently resides in Florida. His work has been published in the South Florida Poetry Journal, Meniscus Review, the Central Review and has been selected twice as part of the Kenyon Review Residential Workshop. He has forthcoming fiction in Caustic Frolic.