I think somebody’s been in my apartment. I can tell. The toilet paper roll has been altered so that it feeds from the bottom now, instead of the top.
Now, I know there’s a heated, ongoing debate over the correct way toilet paper should feed. And I know there are informed, well-intentioned people on both sides of the argument.
But I’m not here to dip my toe into politics. I don’t want to have to defend my position in an emotionally charged, Crossfire-like exchange. That’s not the point.
The point is, someone — or something — has made an unsolicited alteration to my living environment. It may be a subtle modification — I admit that point freely — but I consider it a personal affront nevertheless. In my apartment, the toilet paper feeds from the top; never from the bottom.
The only other person with a key is the landlord. So he was my first suspect in this diabolical plot.
But when I hurled the accusation at him, he steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. In fact, he went so far as to accuse me of being a loony hermit who keeps his toenails in a jar and is always delinquent on the rent.
Which is an outright lie — I always have my rent paid by the fifth. I know it’s technically due on the first, but a late fee has never been assessed. Therefore, the claim that I’m “always delinquent” doesn’t pass the sniff test. (Nor does my jar of toenails, come to think of it.)
Speaking of my toenail collection, it has no bearing on this discussion — just like my preference for toilet paper rolls that feed from the top. Besides, we all need goals. Mine is to fill that jar, 10 nails at a time. (Aside, of course, from the ones that fly across the room when I clip them. Unless I’m lucky and stumble across them months later, all brown and brittle. Of course, that’s how they looked the day they were clipped.)
Aside from the landlord, I have no other suspects. I might attribute it to aliens, but the tinfoil covering my windows provides my apartment with an impenetrable layer of protection. Unless they’re using a beaming technology of which I’m unaware, they’d be hard-pressed to find their way inside.
Unless they borrowed my landlord’s key … which would make him complicit in this fiendish plot. Maybe he’s working with the aliens. I thought he seemed a little out of this world. I may have to re-examine his potential involvement.
I also must consider the inter-dimensional portal behind the TV stand. Apparitions might be coming in that way, but I doubt it. I set up the TV so that any paranormal beings will trip on the HDMI cable if they attempt to cross the threshold. I have no evidence that an apparition has tripped (a telltale sign would be an overturned TV), so I can only assume that my booby trap has been successful.
I used to think the apartment was haunted by a demonic entity. I often could hear it babbling a foul stream of sinister, unintelligible gibberish late into the night. But then I realized it was the only the upstairs neighbor watching Fox News.
So the mystery remains unsolved. I’ve installed a motion-driven surveillance system to collect video evidence of the culprit, but no movement has been captured so far except for my cat climbing atop the survival supplies.
The cat. Now there’s a suspect I hadn’t before considered. Maybe he’s the one who’s messing with me. It seems his style: creeping around all the time, acting all aloof and mysterious. He’s also well-aware of my preference for top-feeding toilet paper, and reversing the roll might be his clandestine method for driving me insane.
In fact, he’s watching me right now, as I log this journal entry. I can feel his wicked, yellow eyes boring into my back. I suspect I’m not safe.
If it’s down to him and me, then I have to be stealthy. It’s all about survival. And if he’s truly responsible for toying with my latrine, then I feel it’s only fair for me to respond in kind.
Therefore, I must concoct a plan to hide his litter box where the conniving fiend can’t find it. I’m thinking under the bed is the best place. No — he can crawl under there too easily. Perhaps on top of the fridge. No — he can jump up there in a single leap.
Damn! This enemy is versatile. Is there no sacred ground where he can’t reach?
I’d toss his litter box into the inter-dimensional portal, but I wouldn’t want to trip on the cleverly placed HDMI cable. It’s never advisable to fall prey to one’s own traps.
I know! I’ll carve a pit in the center of the litter box, then overlay it with twigs and leaves. I’ll catch the bastard with his pants down.
Well, not literally. Cats don’t wear pants. I know, because I tried to buy the swine a new pair of Levis for Christmas, and he turned them down. He said he preferred Lee’s. They fit his waist more snugly.
Ungrateful feline. He even demanded the receipt so he could return them.
The cat is still watching me. I’m sure of it. I better take my laptop into the restroom, where I can be alone. I try to act inconspicuous as I unplug the computer’s power cord and tiptoe into the bathroom, closing the door behind me. The cat’s eyes follow me all the way. He knows something is up. I usually take a Playboy into the bathroom instead of my laptop. (Because of the apartment’s bad wiring, I don’t have a wireless router. Or a functioning coffee pot. But at least the toilet paper is two-ply, so I got that going for me.)
Wait! What’s this? Someone has taken the roll of toilet paper and returned it to its top-feeding position.
I must be going mad. I better make a notation in my journal to document this harrowing event.
Outside, there’s scratching at the door. Damn! The bastard has me trapped! Unless I can somehow flush myself down the toilet, there’s no escape.
This may be my last journal entry. I doubt I’ll survive. Be sure to tell the world about me. I don’t want to be forgotten — like Joe Piscopo.
Oh, wait. There’s an inter-dimensional portal in the linen closet. I never noticed it before. I wondered why all my washcloths were disappearing. The portal must connect to the one in the living room.
Ah-ha! An escape! The cat will never know the difference. He’ll still be clawing away at the bathroom door, and meanwhile I’ll be hightailing it across the apartment parking lot, seeking refuge in the protective confines of 7-11. I’m in the mood for a Big Gulp.
But as I charge through the portal and emerge in the living room, I trip on that blasted HDMI cable. The TV and the stand both fall on top of me. I lie sprawled on the floor, stunned.
And the last sight my blurry eyes see is the wicked cat, standing before me, blocking the door outside. His tail twitches menacingly, and I know I’m doomed.
I knew it was him toying with me. I knew it.
It’s the final though that flickers through my mind before I meet my maker.
I’m glad I clipped my toenails.