Robert Lopez


I’ve been mak­ing deci­sions since I woke up this morn­ing but it’s not a prob­lem. Nothing I decide will make a dif­fer­ence to any­one. When I say any­one I mean my fam­i­ly and friends, if I still have any. The last time I tried to think of some­one who might still be a friend I couldn’t think of who that could be. I don’t talk to any­one in my fam­i­ly any­more, either, and that includes both my moth­er and broth­er. I also mean my neigh­bors and the peo­ple in town when I say that it won’t make a dif­fer­ence to any­one. I don’t know any of my neigh­bors by name, but I know that the deci­sions I make won’t affect them, either. The biggest deci­sion I’ve made is that I’m mov­ing, but I don’t know where yet. I don’t have a car any­more so wher­ev­er I move to I have to get there by train or by bus. I won’t make that deci­sion until it comes time to do so. I imag­ine it will depend on where I’m going and if it’s a train or bus that goes there. I can’t say that I pre­fer one method of trans­porta­tion to the oth­er. It’s all the same since I don’t have a car any­more. My broth­er is the one who stole my car which is why I stopped talk­ing to him. I won’t talk about why I don’t talk to my moth­er any­more, though. There are some things that you shouldn’t talk about out loud and every­one knows this, although I’m not sure my moth­er does. She also doesn’t know the first thing I decid­ed this morn­ing was if I want­ed to get out of bed and the answer was no. So I went back to sleep for anoth­er hour or two but woke up when I heard the door­bell ring. I decid­ed I didn’t want to answer the door­bell so I decid­ed to let it keep ring­ing. The per­son who was ring­ing the door­bell kept ring­ing it for a minute or so. I’m sure it wasn’t my moth­er or broth­er because nei­ther of them knows where I live. I’m not sure any­one knows where I live except for my land­lord who won’t be my land­lord come tomor­row morn­ing. I decid­ed tomor­row is when I’m going to move some­where else. I stopped pay­ing rent six months ago and have been get­ting let­ters shoved under my door ever since. They say I have to pay rent, that I have to pay late fees for miss­ing last month’s pay­ment and the month before that. I haven’t answered the let­ters because why would I. Starting tomor­row I’m on the road bound for any­where else and so I no longer feel any oblig­a­tions. Maybe it was him, the land­lord, ring­ing the door­bell this morn­ing. When I say ring­ing the door­bell I mean knock­ing on the door. I don’t have a door­bell here and nev­er have. I don’t know why I said I did oth­er than I like the sound of it bet­ter. Ringing a door­bell sounds bet­ter than knock­ing on a door. It’s more civ­i­lized. I was think­ing about this when I decid­ed to let the per­son at the door keep knock­ing on it. I thought this would be bet­ter if it were a door­bell. I won­dered what it would take to get a door­bell installed but I knew my land­lord would nev­er go for it. The land­lord here is a crim­i­nal which is why I stopped pay­ing rent six months ago. The last straw was when my moth­er got bit by a rat while she was try­ing to fix a leak­ing pipe under the kitchen sink. Everyone knows it’s the super’s job to do things like this but we haven’t had a super since the last one quit two years ago. The last super was from Europe and the one before that was from South America and they were both worth­less. I’m not say­ing that every­one from Europe and South America is worth­less but if you said it I wouldn’t argue. I’d men­tioned this to my moth­er who said she could come over to fix the leak. I told her I didn’t think it was a good idea but she didn’t care what I thought. This is when she got bit by the rat and we had to call an exter­mi­na­tor who charged four hun­dred dol­lars to come over right away. I told them that there was a rat and we’d trapped it in the bath­room. My moth­er was the one who actu­al­ly trapped the rat in the bath­room. I was in the liv­ing room watch­ing tele­vi­sion at the time. I remem­ber I heard her scream and ran into the kitchen which is when she told me about the rat. She told me oth­er things, too, but that’s between me and her. I decid­ed to take my moth­er out­side on the stoop to calm her down. This is when I walked across the street to the bode­ga for a big can of beer. My moth­er has always liked to drink big cans of beer and so I thought this would be a good time for one. I brought it back to her wrapped inside a brown paper bag and told her to drink it. I told her let’s not make a big deal out of this, but I won’t repeat what she said to that. When I say the rat bit her I’m say­ing that only for the landlord’s ben­e­fit. The truth is the rat didn’t bite my moth­er, but it did brush past her and this is the kind of thing that can shock some­one into an ear­ly grave, par­tic­u­lar­ly if they are old and enfee­bled like my moth­er. I was wor­ried for her health, but she start­ed to feel bet­ter after a few slugs of beer. I decid­ed right then and there I wouldn’t pay rent ever again and that it would serve the land­lord right. I knew I couldn’t go back to sleep at this point so this is when I decid­ed I was up for good. I decid­ed to get out of bed and go into the bath­room. I did what I do every morn­ing in the bath­room but decid­ed I wasn’t going to show­er because I’d show­ered last night. I don’t always show­er at night but some­times I have to because I get home late and it is hot out and I sweat through my clothes. I almost always sweat through my clothes when it’s hot out and this is why I decide to stay inside for most of the sum­mer if I can help it. I don’t like the feel­ing of sweat­ing through my clothes and I don’t think any­one else does, either. My moth­er and broth­er used to make fun of me for sweat­ing through my clothes, but that’s not one of the rea­sons I don’t talk to them any­more. I prob­a­bly won’t talk to either one of them ever again and it serves every­body right. I do know that I want to move some­place where I won’t have to sweat as much. I think that might be the most impor­tant fac­tor when I decide where I’ll move to and how I might get there.


Robert Lopez is the author of four books, includ­ing, Good People, to be pub­lished by Bellevue Literary Press in January, 2016.