Switlik

By Milo Stevens

 

When I was in college, I stayed in a particular dorm. It was renowned throughout the university as one of the largest pieces of shit on campus; lights were continually flickering, the halls smelled of vomit and the carpeting was out of date. My year in the building was particularly of note as it was my sophomore year and I had developed a cookie dough problem. As my academics developed I grew to know the building. Through vomiting huge chocolate chunks in the communal bathroom to studying in its decaying computer lab, the building and I grew close.

Late at night, while my roommate was having sex with the lucky girl who got to sample his roofie collection, the building would tell me about its life. It would relate tales about emigrating from Poland to America to start a new life and hopefully see its kids grow up to be something really useful and important like a government building or perhaps a grocery store. Then it told me about the hard times it had in the late 80’s under Reaganomics: about how it just missed the occupancy bracket to get federal funding to fix itself up. Keep in mind, I attended a state school, these were hard years.

The building only told me these stories only while my roommate was copulating with a new stranger though. Whenever one of the girls thought they had left something in the room and he let them sample more mickeys, the building would know that she was a repeat visitor and refused to divulge more of its story. I would plead and plead and eventually my roommate would yell “Shut the fuck up, you’re killing my boner!” and I would pretend I was asleep.

I tried to go to the archives and research the history of the building but all the articles I could find only said something about it being built in 1964 and was donated by some alumni. After that I started bringing over girls to satisfy my roommates hunger for flesh and my own hunger for my new friend’s fantastic story. Finally one night, the building told me about its kids and how they turned out. Its oldest became an abandoned building outside of Trenton and housed several families of homeless people, the middle child was estranged at an art school but the building’s youngest was its baby. It had started out as an annex at my school and eventually worked its way through the business program receiving a degree in the Entrepreneurial Sciences and was now the owner of a parachute company.

The parachute company was very well respected and the building’s kid, named Edifício had earned many awards and distinctions for being a competent CEO (a rare find these days). Edificio was even featured on the cover of some business magazines. However, Edificio was associated with some unsavory characters lately and the building feared that its child may be getting into some dangerous things. By now, I had noted that my roommate had passed out but the building was still talking to me.

The building begged me to go to Scranton, PA, to check up on Edificio and tell him that my building misses him. So I did. The building had done so much for me, keeping me warm and dry and providing me with hours of entertainment by watching its paint dry. So I skipped my classes for a week and made the trek out to Scranton.

***

Upon arriving in Pennsylvania’s 7th largest city, I noticed all the wonderful company that Edificio had; from the Iron Furnaces to the Electric Trolley Museum, these buildings knew how to have a good time. Perhaps too much of a good time. Wandering through the city, I eventually found Edificio blatantly under the influence in the industrial area. I noticed some younger buildings clinging onto the parachute factory that darted away as I approached.

“Edificio?”

“Yeah, what’s it to you?”

“I am a messenger from your parent building. I am currently a resident within it.”

“Aw, fuck off.”

“It misses you.”

At this point the building paused and thought a moment. Wiping traces of snow (or perhaps cocaine) from its face it asked, “Really?”

“Yes, my residence hall wants to know how you’re doing.”

“Well, we stopped making parachutes and I just spent my last money on fancy window dressings.”

“Well, this is just my opinion, but it seems like you should get cleaned up and try and start over.”

“You should get cleaned up!”

I stood there for a moment watching the building pout. Soon a crowd began to form around us.

“Maybe I don’t care what that stupid dorm says! Did I ever ask to be born? Did I ever ask to be the only building in the family that wasn’t a fuck up? Look at me now, we’re all fuck ups! A family of fuck ups!”

“Don’t say that, Edificio…”

“Fuck you man, you don’t come from a line of dorms. My parent is a dorm and soon I’m going to be a dorm. All my stupid money is spent and no corporation is going to hire the offspring of a dorm! What the fuck do you think this is? Oh my god, are you sure it’s my parent?”

“Yeah, I would hear it talk while my roommate was having sex.”

“Wait, with his girlfriend or with a new girl?”

“Well, a new girl usually but this one time…”

“THAT WASN’T MY PARENT!”

“What?”

Edificio went on to explain to me that it was not his parent dorm talking to me. I was in fact living a coincidence. Explaining with the attention to unimportant detail that only buildings can do, I learned that Edificio was indeed the child of a dorm at another school. Heartbroken, I walked around Scranton in vain, trying to find another Edificio. Eventually I gave up and went to the store to pick up a girl and a roll of cookie dough. It was going to be a long night.

***

Later that evening while my roommate was in the throes of extasy, I looked up at my ceiling and asked the building if there ever was an Edificio.

“I had heard about his story and for some reason I thought I should use it as my own,” it said.

“But why would you lie?”

“Because I wanted you to like me.”

 

 

Milo Stevens was born in New Jersey and was raised by wolves a few short miles from the famous Jersey shore. After a childhood of eating discarded food from strip malls he went to college and is getting a degree. He has started the zine Lo-Fidelity but has been previously published at sixsentences. Milo is also made of poison.

 

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Published on January 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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