“Jordan? What are you doing,” Devin asked in frustration as he finished up cleaning the kitchen.
“None of your business,” Jordan said after he jolted, hearing his name. Jordan buried his head into the laptop. His nose and mouth were out of Devin’s point of view. His eyes were lit from the glow of the silver laptop as he reclined on the surface of his bed.
Devin could see Jordan, shielding himself from him, using the the slim piece of screen to divide them. “It is part of my business. It is my computer,” Devin said, throwing the damp cloth on the counter top.
“Half,” Jordan replied, making small eye contact before diving back and relinquishing his attention. “It’s half of your computer.”
“Well, the half that’s mine has work to do. You know someone’s gotta keep the lights on. The rent keeps the eviction notice off the door.”
“I know when you work,” Jordan said with a scowl. “It’s not now. Leave me alone.”
“Oh, you keep tabs on my work schedule now,” Devin asked, placing his hand on his hip. “So you know how much I get paid too?” Jordan ignored him, as he silently clicked and tapped away along the keyboard. “Not enough to keep the both of us afloat.”
“I just got fired, Devin,” Jordan said, sitting completely upright. “Gimme a break!”
Devin gave a loud sigh and rolled his eyes. Typically Devin wouldn’t normally roll his eyes or get frustrated. He had three older brothers. He should be used to this type of bratty behavior, but Jordan was reaching an immaturity level that was unfathomable to him. Jordan was usually thick skinned and people’s actions typically didn’t bother him, but today, the image of Devin sighing, settled in his brain and Jordan couldn’t take it.
“Hey! Knock it off, will ya,” Jordan yelled, throwing the laptop on his bed and marching from his room to the kitchen.
“Okay, sure,” Devin said without any emotion. Devin went to the refrigerator and grabbed a beer. Day drinking wasn’t on his list of traits, but he’d add that trait for his irresponsible roommate.
“I don’t appreciate the attitude,” Jordan said, planting his pointer finger above the island counter in the apartment.
“If you can’t handle me breathing loudly after I’ve asked for my half of the computer to do work, I gotta tell ya. The problem isn’t me. It’s you.”
Devin had lost all emotion in the interaction. He casually took a swig from his bottle as Jordan’s face transformed into shock. Devin had always been the easy going one, but wasn’t used to these stingers he was throwing at him. “Get over yourself,” Devin continued after having another swig. He placed the bottle on the surface of the counter and grabbed his keys that hung on the wall. “And don’t forget to turn off the cam girl window when you’re finished,” Devin said, pointing to the computer that laid haphazardly on Jordan’s bed. There, an image of a busty woman in a shirt that was too small for her was shown on the screen. Bright flashing images adorned the border of the video.
Jordan’s shoulder shot up and he leapt to slam his door closed. Devin’s phone rang on the countertop. Devin glanced at his phone and didn’t recognize the string of numbers. He shook his head and silenced it.
“That’s just a stupid advertisement,” Jordan said with his hands on his hips, breathing as if he had returned from a long jog.
“Then you shouldn’t have been ashamed and rushed to close your door,” Devin said instantly. Jordan began whining, making unintelligible noises. “Jordan, I don’t want to hear it,” Devin said in surrender. “I go on the internet everyday and never once have I ever gotten a pop up for that.” Devin’s phone rang again. The same string of unfamiliar numbers. “Ugh, these stupid spam calls,” he exclaimed. “Every thirty seconds!”
“Must be a phone sex operator then,” Jordan said, wiggling his head. “And you’re accusing me of nasty behavior.” He huffed once more.
“I have a baby for a roommate,” Devin said in exasperation.
“Where do you think you’re going,” Jordan asked with his hands spread to his sides.
It was hard to find the energy to respond to his roommate. “To the library. To Starbucks. To the Mac store. Anywhere that has internet and not you.”
Devin strode to the door to leave, to find peace. But his phone rang once more.
“You forgot your hotline phone,” Jordan said, extending his hand to give his cell back to him.
Devin stomped back and snatched it out of Jordan’s hand. “Gimme that!”
Outside, Devin knew he was angry. He hadn’t been this angry since he was a teenager and his brothers had tested the limits of his patience by dipping the clothes he chose to wear to a birthday party in water. Truly a frustrating night.
Devin ignored his path and walked aimlessly as he observed the same number had called him again. He knew the number was spam, but he couldn’t see the dark stranger at the end of the hall near the steps, disappearing from sight. Devin recognized the beginning sequence as spam months ago. He thought to buy a spam blocker, but felt he would’ve been fine ignoring it. But the cell rang again. Same number. “Oh my God! What,” he yelled, picking up his phone.
Silence… until he could hear someone breathing. A woman. Devin frowned. “Is that,” Devin didn’t want to assume, but it sounded like she was having sex. “That is disgusting,” Devin shrieked. He hung up and dove into his phone. His hands were shaking. Block the number. Now. The stranger was at the end of the hall again. Devin had no attention to give towards his surroundings.
Devin’s phone buzzed again. Notification alert. Instagram. It was a Direct Message. From an unknown: ‘I would pick up if I were you.’
Devin frowned. His finger hovered above the block for the strange number. His cell rang again. It rang three times before he picked up.
“Hello,” Devin asked, finally lifting his head up to see the empty hallway. He could hear the breathing again. It sent shivers across his skin. “Yeah,” a voice croaked on the end. Don’t hang up, Jordan. That is your name. Isn’t it?”
Devin cleared his throat. “Uh… no. Sorry. You got the wrong number,” Devin answered hoarsely.
“Doesn’t sound like I got the wrong number,” the voice replied, chuckling softly through the phone. “So, either you’re nervous about the truth or you’re lying. Which one is it?” A loud object banged or fell on the other side of the phone. The breathing had stopped. Devin had to keep his cool, even though his anger was rising. Had Jordan used his credentials on a website? The caller said Jordan’s name.
“I have no idea who this is,” Devin said. “Sorry.”
“But you know who Jordan is,” the voice shot back. “Don’t you?”
“I know a few,” Devin lied. “Did he do something wrong?”
“He followed us,” the caller said. “We wanted to return the favor and follow back.”
Pop. The light above Devin went out and he stood in the dark section of the hallway. He turned around to see what happened to the light above him and the dark stranger strode quickly down the middle of the hallway with his fists closed.
Devin ran back to his apartment and slammed it shut.