All Needs Are Rights
If you are underage and your survival depends on adults, many things feel like God given rights. To be fair, much is a right because two people had sex and here you are. Beyond the age of ?12? or so, beyond puberty when it is possible for you to procreate and fend for yourself, the case that all needs are rights gets weaker. If you are a thirty-something sofa-rodent subsisting on pork rinds and Mountain Dew surrounded by a nest of old tech . . . the case that all needs are rights is very weak. The phrase, “out of the mouths of babes . . .” needs to be “out of the mouth of boys.”
The boy has a name. Inger won’t name him because he is a family friend and her parents like him. They hoped that he would gain some cred house-sitting for her. It is a futile hope. He kept the camera-ready artifice upstairs and junked the 19th century basement kitchen and servant’s quarters. In its place is a shrine to virtual existence. There are 9 32″ 4K monitors on a huge Ergotron stand. The desk where the keyboard and mouse would go is covered in pork rind wrappers.On the chair are a VR headset and hand-controllers. Behind the monitors is a Medusa’s wig of cable traceable to a table-height server box emanating the drone of cooling fans. This is boy’s mecca and home.
Boy’s name is unremarkable: Charles. Some call him Chuck E Cheese just to get under his skin. He is pink the way German/Scots/Irish are. His hair is blond. He is lanky the way some boys are when height came first. UofR graduate in finance, MBA from Virginia Tech and an up and coming career with Wells Fargo Advisors. Devoutly Baptist. A perfect 10 for Inger’s parents.
The Perfect Zero
Which . . . makes him a perfect 0 for Inger. She’d done well enough in drug court that she was out on supervised release. She had weekly appointments at Probation and Parole on Oliver Hill Way. The first thing she did is put boy out. The temple of tech had to come out of the basement. Everything Inger needed to do with tech she did on her phone and her laptop. That shrine to sofa-rodent life he built was an offense on so many levels, all five figures of them.
Charles (Boy) was fine enough as roommate and protector of the house. If he lived upstairs and if he would stop acting like a gen-y techno rodent with a penchant for old Apple computers. He liked her so he moved one of his Powerbooks to a bedroom upstairs. That lasted an hour. Inger heard his speakers thumping in the basement as he shot his way through PlanetSide.
Inger hates a lot of things. High on the list is any roommate that leaves evidence of using the bathroom or the kitchen. She understood that people need to eat and shower. That’s fine. She doesn’t understand sauce spills stretching from stove to floor, old pizza rinds arrayed around the trashcan, or hot-glued beer can towers. These are evils to be battled and destroyed.
Boy’s particular junk food tastes were a bit more white trailer trash. Tall Pabst beer cans piled near the trashcan with the detritus of many Dominoes deliveries. And the Utz pork rind bags and the Mountain Dew and Cheerwine bottles. Gross.
Maslow Level 1
The bathroom. He had a bathroom in the basement that used to be part of the servant’s quarters. It was rather art-deco/shaker in its look & feel. You could imagine Frank Lloyd Wright as the designer. The designer was actually an undergrad Inger knew that needed something for her portfolio. It was ok. If you could get past the green stains from the copper that had leached out of the pipes. Or the manicured path from tech-rodent temple to toilet edged by Little Debbie Snack wrappers.
If he could just use that bathroom she might be ok. The house has 14′ ceilings. It’s 20′ of stairs to the second floor. Twice a day the tech rodent/boy named Charles climbed the stairs to her bathroom. He left the toilet seat up. She could see that he missed the toilet more than he hit it. His dick must look like a pig’s tail.
She had Febreeze prominently displayed on top of the toilet. Civilized people understood why. Her nose screamed that he had no idea.
Maslow Level 1-B
The kitchen. Should look like the picture of it in Richmond Magazine. Inger ate out a lot because of boy’s failure to respect the kitchen. Underneath the pizza boxes, chinese take-out boxes, Little Debbie wrappers, pork rind wrappers, Pabst empties, was an award winning kitchen design. A first semester culinary school student would kill for a kitchen like this, if it was taken care of. And . . . the cleaning service was very patient with boy. They’d put it right only to have the food debris grow back like black mold.
Inger came home after bar-close on Sunday morning. The basement windows glowed blue. She could hear the thump of PlanetSide from the porch. A pig had spilled his kamakazi on her dress and then stared at her as she tried to wipe the bourbon and beer off her silk dress. Asshole. That was his move, it seems. In quick succession she pinched a nerve in his wrist and hit him in the throat. It felt good.
She walked away as he crumpled to the floor crying that he had been stabbed in the throat by a dude trying to kill him. No . . . you are a little bitch who can’t imagine getting whooped by a girl you wanted to get with. So you try to save face and say a guy stabbed you. Sucks to be you. Your blood is from the Bloody Mary Inger threw in your face. And maybe a few superficial cuts from the broken pint glass.
Out of the Mouth of Boys
Boy wasn’t in his tech-rodent cave. He was in the living room with a PS4. The food debris had spawned all over her designer rug. Inger went to the breaker box and turned off the circuit for the living room, “what the fuck?” She killed the basement circuits for good measure, “what the hell did you do that for?”
The house was nicely quiet, “You are in my living room.”
“You have the bigger TV.”
“It is my TV. Your shit is downstairs. What are you doing up here?”
“I have a right to be here just as much as you. Your parent’s said so. Fuck, I was almost through the map.”
“Boy . . . listen. Your right to be here is because I tolerate your stinking ass. If I didn’t need you I’d kick the self-righteous white trash racist out of you from here to McDowell County. You need to understand your place,” words like that are usually shot at people with a deeper skin tone than pink boy.
“Inger, fuck you. You are the one in drug court and on probation. You are one phone call away from going back to jail. Besides, I need to be here and all needs are rights!”
Some Needs Are Not Right
Inger lost it. When the cops came the boy was shocked to find he was the one in cuffs. Inger is average mayhaps a bit thin. Tech rodent boy is a bit bigger than average but he’s awkwardly tall. Whatever. The cops believed her when she cried that he’d beat her. She had bruises. He had some wild story about pressure points and pain and joint locks and he didn’t know his body bent like that. But no marks. The one with marks wins. Inger knew this.
“All needs are rights“, my ass. Boy’s tenancy concluded when he sent her a long e-mail from a gmail account claiming that sex is a need for men and thus, should be a right. In the middle of the message was some babble about how hot she was. Inger fought back the urge to get him fixed. He was gone. The cleaning service came out and put the house right. Her friend came back and helped clean out the basement.
All was well for a couple months. Until recently when the TV would come on just after bar-close and PlanetSide video playback thumped through the AV system. An attractive red-head’s stomach blew open in a video loop after being shot by a lanky, pink skinned soldier. Inger hadn’t thought much about a security system until this.