House Rules: A Tiny Epic


NO you can’t

move in your girlfriend
fight with your girlfriend
move in your new girlfriend

have a party
have a rowdy party
have a party that makes the neighbours call the cops
have a party with your new new girlfriend and your old girlfriend
sleep all day and party all night
party all day and sleep all night
party in any way shape or form
have a party anyway cause after all you pay rent

NO you can’t
park your bicycle on your bed
start a stolen-bicycle version of ZIP cars
ride your stolen bicycle naked down the common hallway (my neighbours are sticklers for originality)

have a party with

your old girlfriends
their friends
their friends’ friends
your two new girlfriends
their friends
their friends’ friends PLUS
that really cool guy you met while cutting the U-lock off a bicycle

NO you can’t
make three-month oatmeal-and-cockroach-ragoût in my mother’s Rosenthal fruit bowl

see the sunshine with the curtains closed
be invisible with the curtains open
see reality with your eyes closed

convincingly pretend to listen

NO you can’t use

my computer
my computer chair
my computer while kneeling since the chair “broke”
my new computer, acquired since the old one “broke”

my phone
my charger
my army boots
my passport
my pornhub account
my keys
my fob

my spray cleaner which would make you
break your sacred vows
of non-cleaning

NO you can’t use
my new phone, acquired since the old one “broke”
my one remaining army boot (the left one, if you’re keeping track)

my crème brûlée torch
(to clean up the caramel latte you didn’t pay for, then
spilled all over the keyboard
of my new computer, acquired since the old one “broke”)

my wifi, since they cut me off for the overage incurred
when you downloaded two hundred movies
using my pornhub account
while kneeling, cause you broke the chair,
in front of my new computer,
acquired since the old one “broke”

Where are my fucking keys??!!

NO you can’t have

a complete pair of socks
two matching gloves
special wire cutters
a screwdriver with all the bits
four pounds of no-name peanut butter
my new scissors
a monkey wrench
my new new scissors, since the old ones “broke”
a taser disguised as pepper spray for grizzly bears
my passport, since gone missing
my password for my Windows account
my passport, since returned to me
by the Queens Park detachment
of the OPP
my Zippo
the rest of my cigarettes
my new password for my new Windows account

my new new new scissors

my credit card which you didn’t realize was pre-paid HA !

Where’s my fucking lighter??!

NO I can’t lend you

twenty dollars
five dollars
any fucking amount of dollars
my new new new new phone

a toonie
a loonie
a quarter, a dime, a nickel
or a penny, now deprecated, unless you can find some under the chair cushions

that pair of panties which, trust me, were never mine in the first place
that hoodie discarded by a 10-year-old midget
my Zippo that’s stopped working since I lent it to you
some fuel for the non-working Zippo I lent you
some fuel that no one can find
some weed that you’ll pay back

my ATM card cause there’s
no money left after
all the money
I lent you

Where’s my fucking phone??!

NO I can’t make youhouseRules2

a fake police badge
an improved fake police badge

a twelfth iteration of the
fake police badge with the
font a TINY bit bigger and
more to the left

a battery label for the fake battery to store the weed I lent you
that you’ll pay back

a peanut butter sandwich ’cause you already ate
the four pounds
of no-name peanut butter

any kind of sandwich
until I take
eight hours to make
more bread to replace the two loaves slathered with no-name peanut butter which you ate in

a glass of ice water with fraises-de-bois-congenital-deformity
flavor drops

a glass of ice water that tastes like ice water because
you didn’t refill
the ice cube trays

NO I can’t make you

wash your dishes
change the toilet roll
buy some actual food
excavate your room since simple cleaning will no longer suffice
take out the garbage cause it probably doesn’t appear to you as garbage

NO I can’t make you
move out your new new new new girlfriend, acquired since the old ones “broke”

NO I can’t make you
remember your kids

NO I can’t
make you
an honest

That’s it!
And if all that’s perfectly clear—

I think you’re gonna love it here!