It was my last year of college, and I was reveling in my freedom from the restrictions of living in the incredibly expensive college dorms.
We still weren’t allowed to go very far. Seniors could only live in “campus-approved” housing, which basically consisted of worn-down, unkempt frat houses.
Having grown up with little money, the dingy, three-story row home that my girlfriend and I settled on had been more than enough for me; I was just happy to be living on my own terms. I faced the ordinary trials of the 20-something college student: no money, roommates who didn’t clean up after themselves, and nonstop parties in/around my house. But I was lucky enough to live with four other roommates that I knew well and trusted.
Halfway through the semester, one of the guys decided to leave school and move away. As broke college students, we were afraid of the price of rent being hiked up, and decided to look for a new roommate.
However, mid-semester room changes were prohibited, so we had to find a non-student. We turned to Craigslist. After many no-shows, deadbeats, and drunks, we found Tyler.
At first, Tyler seemed like your typical nice, easygoing “bro” type of guy. He played guitar, had a stable job, and got along with everyone. He even shared the same interests in movies as us. My girlfriend and I had chosen to brush off his seemingly harmless flirtations, because we thought that they would stop there. But we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Flash forward to a month later, and I was reluctant to even walk into our house. He had moved from harmless compliments to constant and repulsive displays of harassment. At least once a day, he would make lewd comments about the way I dressed, try to convince my girlfriend and I to have a three-way, and even began to invade our personal space.
There was one night in particular that I remember. My girlfriend and I had been drinking and having a good time hanging out with the rest of our roommates. Every 10 minutes a stoned Tyler would stare at us and tell us how sexy we both were. It didn’t take long for us to get fed up with his gross comments, and leave the room. You would think that this would have been an obvious hint to leave us the fuck alone, right? Who in their right mind would misread obvious discomfort and disgust as an invitation?
Tyler would. He then proceeded to follow me down the stair. He pretended to "catch me" when I purposefully jumped two steps at once, instead copping a good feel of my breasts.
After I pushed him away from me, I sat down in the hallway beside my girlfriend for a moment to regain my composure. He then decided that it was a good time to give me a thigh massage. Completely done with his shit, we both stood up in an effort to escape to our room.
You'd think any rational, decent person would have taken the massive hint at this point, right? No, not Tyler. He proceeded to walk into our room in front of us, lay on our bed, and ask “So, what are we drinking now, ladies?”
To which my girlfriend replied “We are going to bed, and you are getting the fuck out of our room.”
Before he left, he shrugged his shoulders and said, smiling, “You can’t blame a guy for trying.” That last comment had become something of a motto to him in the time that he had lived there, and no amount of yelling or logic had changed that.
As the months progressed, the harassment was constant. Tyler tried to train my 100+ pound german shepherd, Hancock, to rip my towel off after I had gotten out of the shower. He even tried to implement a rule that I “can’t wear those skimpy clothes on the bottom floor, or you’re asking for it.” This was in response to me walking downstairs in the middle of a blazing summer in a tank top and boxer shorts. Things had begun to become very tense, very quickly.
But it didn’t stop at sexual harassment. Besides eating all of our food, we learned that Tyler was also consuming something called “spice,” which is a type of herb known as “man-made marijuana.” It also translates to my roommates and I as “the-bat-shit-crazy-drug.”
Spice, having no found medical benefits, and a high addiction turnover, will drive you fucking insane when smoked too often. And our new roommate had a pipe full of it in his pocket just about every hour of every day. If you thought things couldn’t get any more absurd, think again.
Tyler had kept two iPods, one that was his, and one he had found one in the couch cushion. (Mind you, he hadn’t felt the need to find the owner of it before claiming it.) We discovered that it belonged to our good friend James.
So when some neighborhood kids broke the window to his car and stole both of them, he flipped the switch from perverted to Crazy with a capital “C.” He was convinced that James (whose disposition was equivalent to “Shaggy” from Scooby Doo) had done it. Tyler’s theory was that instead of asking for his property back like a normal person, James had broken into his car and had stolen both iPods.
Not only could nothing we said convince him otherwise, he began to believe that everyone in our house and group of friends was lying to him like in some intricate Criminal Minds episode. I say everyone, but there was actually one exception; my dog Hancock.
That’s right. Hancock, according to Tyler, was the “only honest one” in the house, and had told Tyler that we were all lying. He said that he could “read” Hancocks’ mental waves, and that was also how he knew that every woman on Earth, deep-down, wanted to sleep with him.
And then he turned it up one more notch during one sweltering afternoon in September. My girlfriend and I had just woken up to enjoy a nice, quiet Saturday. Suddenly, we heard a cataclysm of horrifyingly loud crashing noises from the first floor.
Terrified, we opened the door just in time to hear something heavy fly into the one of the walls, and Tyler screaming aggressively at someone for apparently lying to him. A few seconds later, Hancock was fleeing up the stairs with his tail between his legs, and barreled straight into our room.
I tried to calm him down while I waited for the commotion to end, physically shaking from the loudness of the violence. We heard the door slam a few minutes later, and waited for silence before slowly making our way down the stairs, trying to figure out who he had been screaming at. But there had been no one else downstairs. Except for Hancock.
We looked around in shock at the state of the living room. The massive old CRT TV that had been sitting on the ground had been picked up and hurled straight into the wall, breaking it into several large and several hundred smaller pieces. There was a gaping hole in the wall where it had made contact.
He had also smashed the corkboard on what looked like every nearby surface, metal and all, and had ripped up the full trashbags that had been collecting by the door. There is something else I should mention about Tyler: He was a bodybuilder.
I normally ignored Tyler as much as possible, even when he spoke to me, but I was so afraid that he would turn his rage onto us that I decided to play nice. I tried to contact him to figure out where he was, while my roommates and I figured out how to evict him. Tyler informed me that he couldn’t live with my “aggressive roommates” anymore, as if we were the ones making him uncomfortable.
But that’s not the part that scared me the most. After showing him about 10 messages’ worth of attention, he also mentioned that Hancock and I were the only reasons that he ever stayed, and that we should all go away together.
Needless to say, Hancock, my girlfriend, and I stayed at another friends’ house until we could change the locks.