I could never really get the hang of Thursdays.
It was Michelle’s birthday, so we decided to go out for Thai food, if not just to get out of our messy house. Nobody ever wanted to do the dishes, and people left their crap sitting out all over the place. Eden kept leaving her laptop in the kitchen and forgetting where it was.
This dinner was one of the first times in weeks that all six members of the house had been in the same place. We had a lot to discuss, but they were all topics that nobody actually wanted to bring up. Messy house. Doing dishes. Paying the electric bill. It was Michelle’s birthday after all, so maybe it would be better if we just sat back and enjoyed ourselves.
Joseph decided that we should wait until after we’d all eaten before we talked about such frightening topics as loading a dish washer, so we spent the meal making fun of people, just like our usual discussions. We talked about idiots, we talked about morons, we talked about ex-girlfriends and ex-boyfriends, and we talked about lunatics and maniacs. All was well.
“Okay,” Josh finally said, as we were finishing our meals. “What are we doing about the kitchen?”
“Nothing,” Alison shrugged. “It’s hopeless. I’ve tried cleaning the kitchen, maybe once or twice a week, and the moment that my back is turned, it’s just as messy again.”
“People need to stop leaving their stuff out,” Eden complained.
I joked, “Says the person who keeps leaving their laptop in the kitchen.”
“I left my laptop in the living room,” Joseph reasoned. “It isn’t a big deal.” Strangely enough, every person in the house owned a Mac.
Michelle grumbled, “Eden, you’re going to spill coffee on your computer, or something else awful. What about all of the grocery bags? They’ve gone missing.”
“Yes they have,” Alison agreed. “I’m not spending money on bags.”
“They’re bad for the environment!” Eden proclaimed.
I nodded melodramatically. “Right, the environment.”
“What if we had a chore system?” Josh suggested. “Each person gets a chore, and they have to finish by the end of the week.”
“Sure. That’s fine,” Alison shrugged.
“I’m okay with that,” I agreed. “Depending on the chore, of course.”
Joseph cackled, “Yeah, I’m not doing the kitchen.”
“We need two people on the kitchen,” Eden complained.
“I can sweep!” Alison said with a strange excitement.
“I can run and empty the dishwasher,” I decided. “But nothing more, because that’s a job that has to happen, like, five times a week.”
Joseph nodded, “That sounds fair.”
“Wait,” Alison frowned. “Do we have a mop?”
“Sort of,” Josh frowned back.
“What does that mean?”
Josh laughed, “It doesn’t really work. I think it’s broken.”
Eden winced. “How does a mop break?”
“Are you lying to us?” I accused.
“Why would I be lying?” Josh laughed again.
Joseph smiled. “Remember when we tried to have a prank war?”
“We still can,” Alison perked up.
“Do we have to?” Michelle whined.
“Yes, we have to!” Joseph grinned. “It’ll be so exciting! The feeling that you could get got at any moment! The thrill!”
“Calm down,” I told him. I did like the idea, though.
“Are we ready to go?” Eden asked.
Joseph stood. “Yeah, we can talk about this at the house. Both the chores and the pranks, I mean.”
Alison was still smiling. “I’m really excited for our prank war.”
Michelle was driving. There were only five seats in her car, so somebody had to curl up in the back. The moment that we pulled out of the parking lot and out into the main road, we almost got t-boned. That would’ve been a good prank.
When we got back to the house, Alison and Joseph scampered inside. Apparently they were racing for the one clean bathroom in the house. The back door was always unlocked, so they blasted straight in. Josh insisted that we keep the back door unlocked because he “liked the idea of walking into a house without needing to use a key”, which isn’t a concept that I fully understood. Later I found out that he had lost his key, so that would be a better explanation.
Michelle walked into her room, and I took a moment to stand in the kitchen and take in the mess. We would need two people cleaning the kitchen, and two would probably be good for the living room too.
“Joe!” Michelle yelps.
I walked into her room. “What?”
“Where’s my laptop?”
I looked at her desk pointlessly. “Is it in the living room?”
“No,” she shook her head. “And… And where’s my backpack!?”
“Probably with your laptop,” I reasoned. “In fact, your laptop is probably inside of the backpack, wherever it is. Where did you last bring it?”
“No, no, no! I had it here!” Michelle shouted. “I can’t deal with this right now! Do you have your laptop?”
“Yeah,” I shrugged, unaffected by her yelling. “Let me go get it.”
Michelle pushed past me and ran into the living room. “Where’s my laptop!?” she shrieked.
I hear Joseph tromping down the stairs. “What?”
“My laptop is probably in my room,” I say, rounding the corner.
I pass Josh’s room. He steps out with a stupid grin on his face. “Hey, have you seen my laptop?”
Oh shit, well, I guess mine’s not going to be there either.
Joseph darts by, still confused. I look in my room. No laptop. My water bottle’s been knocked over onto the ground.
Well hold on now. Maybe somebody just borrowed our laptops. The neighbors, probably. Who knows why?
“Yeah,” Joseph said blankly. “My laptop was on the couch. It is not there.”
“Oh, okay,” I mumbled, moving back into the living room.
Eden comes out of the kitchen. “Mine’s gone too. I’d left it in the kitchen.”
Michelle ran to the stairs and yelled up them. “Alison!”
“Where is your laptop!?”
“It’s right here,” she called down.
Michelle nodded, looking stunned. “Okay. Okay. But… But…”
Joseph walks up to us. “So somebody stole the laptops.”
“Not Alison’s,” I lift a finger.
“But seriously! What!?” Joseph waves his hands around. “I mean, we just had all of our laptops sitting out. Whoever did this didn’t even go upstairs. We handed them our computers as if they were in a nice little stack on a platter!”
I frowned, still in denial. “I backed up my hard drive a couple hours ago.”
“Same,” Michelle nodded, wide-eyed.
“Back ups?” Joseph stares. “Back ups? Dammit! Why didn’t I think of that!”
Josh came back out of his room. “I don’t need a computer.”
“Shut up,” Joseph grumbled to him. “Yes you do.”
Alison came down the stairs, clutching her Macbook. “Should we call the cops?”
I frowned. “Oh yeah. Probably should.”
Joseph pointed out, “So this is all a part of the prank war, right?”
“I could never get the hang of Thursdays,” I mumbled.
Before the cops arrived, I called my parents. Apparently they had some really slick insurance on my laptop, so they could essentially just get a new one for free. They placed an order to send it to the nearest Best Buy, and I’d have it in three or four days. And I had just backed up my computer, so it all honestly felt like it was just a minor inconvenience. In fact, I even got the newest operating system out of it.
The police had little to say. They had heard about this guy for years. He had some sort of device that could detect whether an Apple product was in a house. I don’t know what the hell the police were talking about, but it sounded kind of cool. Technology these days, right? The cops looked around the house, but since the doors were left unlocked, there was no reason for this person to have broken in. And no fingerprints to be found.
The cops did notice the poster that Alison and I had made, in which we took a bunch of naked women from a Hustler magazine and glued Josh’s face over theirs. The cops thought that was pretty funny.
We did notice that a couple of other Mac products were missing while the police looked over the house. Michelle’s iPod had been stolen, and my old disabled iPhone was also gone. I had lovingly named that iPhone Yorrick. Alas, poor Yorrick.
The cops decided that there was basically nothing that could be done. So three days later, I got my new laptop as if nothing had happened. Michelle’s parents sent her an old PC. Joseph bought one about a week after. Eden found one at the dump or some shit, because that’s where Eden gets her things.
Josh never did get a new laptop. He’s a man of his word.