In 2011, my husband, our then-two-year-old and I moved into a house with two roommates. One was my best friend since forever (let's call her Celine). We had lived together before, and were well aware of one another's strengths and flaws and faults and how living together would probably go. Our second roommate was a guy I'll call Shane.
Shane was a local “artist” and “stand-up comic” and the reason I use quotation marks is that he mostly did a lot of YouTube watching to learn more about art and stand-up comedy and not much else.
He occasionally performed stand-up at the local arts center (and for all I know he still does), but from what we could gather (and what kept showing up on OUR computer that he borrowed -- not a shared household device), he liked to cruise the Internet for comedy inspiration and porn. OK. Sure.
Living with Shane wasn't too bad at first. We had different meal preferences and general ways of life (we're vegetarians, he isn't and didn't mind using our pans and pots to cook meat in, which makes me all kinds of angry-faced).
Shane usually worked, spent a lot of time in his room, and went out. He was great with kids, and we were super comfortable with our son living and being around him – Shane brought a lot of new stuff to our household.
For months everything was OK. It wasn't always great, but it wasn't the worst. We all had a lot of great times hanging out together, hanging out separately, and trying to figure out if that was really mold growing throughout the house (see also: Worst Landlord Ever).
One evening when most of us were at home. This was around 6pm -- I was in our room reading a book to my two-year-old, Celine was in her room watching a movie, and Shane was in his room... doing whatever it was that he did there.
I became aware of what can only be described as a cackle coming from Shane's room. At first, I assumed he was watching something or practicing for a bit, and either thought he was super funny or that what he was watching was a riot. I noticed that the cackle was getting louder and stranger, so I stuck my head out into the hall right when Celine did the same thing.
We both looked at each other, looked at Shane's door, shrugged, and went back to our lives. Then the cackling reached a super high level and we heard a few thuds. We promptly met back in the hallway, furitively trying to figure out what the hell it is we should do.
We started calling his name and knocking on his door to get a response, and we kept hearing thuds and giggles. It was super weird and creepy, but neither of us had a real frame of reference for what could be going on.
Since we were both a little eeked out, I asked Celine to go into my room with my son and keep reading to him. I then called my husband to see if he could leave work – right at the same moment that he walked back into the house, miraculously home early.
I want to step in and clarify that I'm not typically the type of woman to be like “OMG, I need a man to handle this scary situation!” but this? Shane was freaking me out.
My husband stepped in and I started telling him what had happened – what we had heard, what we were assuming – and asked if we should go in the room and check it out.
At this point, I'm worried that Shane had somehow injured himself, but couldn't figure out why he would continue to cackle (and it was loud by now – I was also aware of Celine reading Curious George at top volume to my kid). My husband decided to go into the room.
Upon entering, he discovered that Shane was slumped over on the floor and foaming at the mouth. I started looking for my phone to call 911, and my husband dragged Shane down the stairs and sat him on a chair. We had NO IDEA what was up: what makes you foam at the mouth?! I was about to call for help when all of the sudden we heard Shane giggle again, and the giggle turned into the same creepy cackle.
At this point, my husband and I were in the kitchen, trying to figure out what to do. I didn't call 911 because I didn't want Shane to get arrested or go to jail – we still didn't know for sure if he had hurt himself or if he was on something, and since Shane was also my friend (however loosely), I was worried about what cops might do. So we both peeked our heads around the fridge to see what Shane was doing, and discovered he was sitting straight up.
He had stopped foaming, and he was just... looking at us. All of the sudden, he started licking his lips and giggling. He told us that he could eat us, that he wanted to eat us, and then he cackled and fell backward onto the chair, rolling around and laughing to himself.
We started to more or less freak completely out, and promptly called the number of one of Shane's best friends. I told her everything that had happened, and somehow she and another mutual friend basically flew to our home – they were there in under eight minutes.
In the meantime, Celine was barricaded in the upstairs bedroom with our two-year-old, and my husband and I were crouched by the stove holding knives while peeking around the corners to see what he was doing.
Our mutual friends managed to get Shane into their car and to the hospital, where he spent the night strapped to a bed while the stuff left his body. He was on bath salts and it wasn't his first time, but I still have never found out whether this was the first time he had done them in the house. After he was gone, we got in touch with his brother, who came by to get all of Shane's stuff out of the house.
We ran into Shane about a few months after all of this happened. He was clearly uncomfortable around us, but didn't acknowledge anything that he had done, and has to this day failed to apologize.
Celine still bumps into Shane every so often, and she gets the same greeting: eyes averted, a mumbled, “Oh hey.” Not a “Oh hey, remember that time I took a bunch of bath salts and wanted to eat everyone in the house? I'm sorry about that.”
At this point it's fine – this was years ago and we no longer see him or put ourselves in situations where we might – but it still kind of blows my mind that he would willingly endanger all of us like that.
Despite all this we're not 100% anti-roommate... though we have yet to live with anyone else again.
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