Travis was looking for a bedroom to rent and wanted to move back in Eau Claire. He enjoyed his time very much while going to college there. He knew this time would be different though as he had to separate himself from the college scene this time around. But college was still compelling.
After looking for the cheapest place he could find through the Craigslist ad section he began contacting a few different rental places. He mostly talked through email, and did a few back and forth email conversations with an owner on Benton Ave. Never once did Travis or the owner talk on the phone. They both set up a time to meet on email only. Travis felt comfortable enough to have conversations strictly through email, but maybe he was a little too comfortable.
After arriving at the house, he liked how clean it looked on the outside. He met the owner, who was in the middle of making some jam with another older gentleman. The owner is extremely overweight and tall at over 6 feet. He is about 45 years old. His friend is about 10 years older and they say they are in a relationship together. The owner points Travis to the bedroom and explains nothing else further. Travis has a look around and decides that he is interested in renting the place regardless of whether it has pink curtains or an owner who speaks very little.
Travis moves in and notices very homosexual behavior that seems a little disturbing from this point on. The looks from the owner become disturbing, especially when he angled mirrors to see Travis’s bedroom easier from his vantage point. Travis paid little attention to the homosexual advances because he wasn’t interested. But they got worse.
The owner sends Travis some gay email messages saying that he looks good in his sweats. Travis is faltered that someone noticed he works out but felt that it was important at that point to confront the house owner and remind him that he is not interested in any gay sex. The owner acknowledges the matter quietly and seethingly. O
It is at this point that the owner becomes more vicious with the tenants. One tenant, who was moving out, left a full dishwasher amount of dishes in the dishwasher, so the house owner shut down power to the kitchen. Travis had to explain that it was the guy who moved out that left the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. There was a lot of fungus and mold on the dishes that Travis could see. The owner was not happy about washing the dishes. His new friend, hired as a cleaning person, insisted that the owner didn’t need to wash the dishes.
Travis kept getting yelled at by the cleaning person about how much of a slob he was. One new young tenant moved in and kept to himself a lot. He only stayed 1 month. Another guy, who just out of jail, moved in for a month and then moved out. People came and went, it was a house with high turnover of very questionable characters.
One guy, who met the cleaning guy in jail previously, moved in. He went to jail for alcoholism and was still on probation. He stayed about 2 months until the owner comes to Travis and tells him not to let the alcoholic guy back in the house. He was quickly banned from the house for some reason. The owner told Travis about residents who stayed at his house in the past. He said that he hated niggers, particularly one who moved in for a little bit. The owner said the black guy would bring over all kind of girls. The owner warned the black guy this was not a whorehouse, but the black guy didn’t listen. The owner kicked him out and the black guy poured syrup all over the carpeted living room.
When Travis moved in, he was told that the living room was completely off limits. It sounded like a strange rule. The owner kept a lot of dolls in the living room. He also has a piano that is never played. One guy tried to play the piano, but he was quickly yelled at by the owner.
One day, Travis discovered that his car was broken into and GPS missing. Travis rarely locked his car doors, and anyone could have let themselves into the car. This house wasn’t in the most dangerous area of the city. Travis suspected the cleaning guy may have stolen from his car regardless of the possibilities. On another occasion, Travis lost $40 of his rent money that was stored in his bedroom. Another time still, when Travis came back to his room, the cleaning guy lept out of the bedroom and Travis saw it.
The cleaning guy had a shady history. He is in his mid 40s, shorter and more thin. He smokes a lot and drinks occasional. He is very abrasive in nature and will yell at people on the phone or even tenants with little regard. He is also quick to laugh out loud as well, in an unnerving manner. It almost sounds like a loud cackle. He has prior convictions for ID theft from Minnesota and went to jail for it.
Travis questioned the cleaning guy Ron about letting himself into the room. Ron said he wanted to learn more about the magnet therapy that Travis told him about a few months earlier. Travis searched Ron’s pockets to find magnets come out in his hands. Somehow Ron managed to scramble the magnets that were arranged in a particular manner and didn’t know what to do besides put the magnets in his pockets and hope Travis didn’t notice.
Travis knew that Ron was looking for more cash to steal. It was rent time again and since the owner insists on cash, Travis tended to keep it in bedroom. This was a problem of not locking the door enough with home owner. Ron couldn’t help himself not to steal from people, even the tenants.
Ron yells about how filthy the place is while he is cleaning. He says, ” you live like pigs” and ” look at this mess, it’s disgusting”. One time Ron swept dust under Travis’s door instead of placing the dust in the trash.
Eventually, Travis had to find a new place as the disagreements mounted. He visited other places to live. One lady, in particular, knew a former tenant of the owners. She said horrible things occurred with her friend who lived there. He name is Jim, the alcoholic. He was kicked out over kind of drama and that things were turning violent. She told Travis that he was lucky to be alive for as long as he stayed at the owners property.
Travis didn’t want to give it much thought about how much his life was in danger while living there. He was already suffering a health disorder when he moved in. So any health scares he thought he was bringing on to himself more than anything. But there were moments where Travis passed out and almost passed out up expectantly while in the house. It almost seemed like there was frequently a bad gas in the house or something. The owner kept insisting on keeping the windows sealed shut, even in the hot summer.
Either way, Travis survived his year in this house. He minded the time a lot by playing World of Warcraft. Travis was very addicted to the game and it helped him escape the realities of life. Unfortunately, the social structures in the house, and in large part around the community were falling a part around him.