Cheap and Chic
STERI-FAB: Bactericide - Sanitizer - Fungicide - Mildewcide - Insecticide - Deodorant - Germicide - Viricide
PERMACIDE P-1P: For Homeowner Use Both Indoors and Outdoors To Control Fleas, Brown Dog Ticks and Lice On Premises
The inside of my closet is a complicated ecosystem. Gloria long ago forbid me from using my over-door hanger, claiming that it was damaging my bedroom door, so I've been keeping all manner of bags and hats and scarves in a thick layer on the closet floor. The closet is tiny while my wardrobe is large, and so the bag/hat layer tends to be draped in cotton dresses and pleated skirts that have flung themselves from their wire hangers in despair. Shooting up through the fertile mix is one kitten-heeled pair of boots that seemed like a good idea when I spotted them priced at $5 in the Salvation Army in Williamsburg shortly after moving to New York, but that subsequently revealed themselves to both hurt and retain a disturbing amount of moisture whenever it was wet outside.
On Friday, I opened my closet to find two spray-bottles containing the formidable-sounding substances listed above, nestled in among the accessories. They were under a black skirt, on top of a green leather hobo bag. LP is the most responsible roommate a girl could ever have: she'd ask before touching anything in my closet, let alone storing liquids that end in "-cide" there. And these bottles looked industrial-grade, like the sort of thing only someone who was planning to clean a shitload of apartments would own. I grabbed each one by its gooseneck and marched next door.
"Gloria, why were these in my closet?" I asked when she answered my ring. She looked different: she'd had her hair done. It was cut close to the head and heavily styled, like a pixie cut -- very mod, and very bizarre on the head of an eighty-five-year-old slumlord, but somehow also insanely chic by any unbiased haircut standard.
"I do not know, dear," she said, examining them. "Perhaps the other girl put them there."
"I'm pretty sure she would tell me if she were storing industrial-grade insect killer in my closet," I replied. "Maybe they're Walter's?"
"No, no. But maybe somebody else's." She retreated back into her own apartment as she spoke, but then, as the door was shutting, she popped out again. "Miss! I like your shirt. Is very pretty."
I liked my shirt too. If there weren't sixty years and the unbridgable gulf between good and evil separating us, perhaps we could have been shopping buddies.