There was a paper American flag taped to the door, and a panel missing by the knob, and so when no one answered, we let ourselves in.
Fixed gear bikes lined the hallway and in the living room cigarette smoke settled on the thrift store couches. Three boys, not a colored piece of clothing between the lot of them, raised their beers at we entered.
“Hello!” they chimed together, the tallest standing up and introducing himself, Will (or Mackie) and the other two, Alex (or Moodie) and Gaz. We spent the afternoon in the living room, watching bad television with no sound and listening to bands with names I couldn’t pronounce. Writing covered the walls, from the large and illegible to the small and poetic, along with old student ID cards and various scraps of what could be called memorabilia, plastic necklaces and paper party hats, the occasional bra. Above the TV was a collection of VHS, mostly kids stuff and bad eighties romance, it balanced on the mantel in a precarious series of towers.
The situation was much as we had feared and, sitting in my tattered cargo pants and patchwork sweater, I began to fidget with the discomfort of being just not quite cool enough. We were, it seemed, in the hipster capital of the Southern hemisphere, a house called “The Ferg.”
As it got dark we yawned and gave in to the jet lag, much to the begrudging moans and shit-giving grins of the boys.
We were, it seemed, not cool enough at all; sleep was obviously for the weak of heart. Mackey showed us to a bedroom with a floor that, as far as I could feel with my feet, was made up entirely of old newspaper and white t-shirts. He turned back as he walked out the door.
“Oh, if there are, you know, noises in the night, don’t mind it too much…”
“Oh yeah, the possums!” Moodie shouted, suddenly appearing, a little drunk. “They’re harmless.”
“There are possums?”
“Oh yeah, a few. Two families, we think. One lives just up there” Moodie pointed to our ceiling, “And one above Daisy’s room.”
“Sometimes they meet in the middle, and it can be a bit loud…” said Mackie.
“Or breed, it’s hard to tell. Anyway, sleep well.”
And they left, and we shucked our packs in the corner, and unrolled our sleeping bags and tried not to sink into the floor. As I sat down I imagine the particles of the apartment floating around me, smoke and ash and filthy party streamers, cheap noodles and box wine concocting into a mixture of air that, as I feel asleep, seemed to seep in through my skin.
Rumpus original art by Lucas Adams.