My housemates wanted me out of our group house. They said my presence was "oppressive." Sure, a little mold had grown on my shelf in the fridge. And yes, I forget to clean the cat's litter box for a month at a time.
But "oppressive"? Please.
They knew the landlord wouldn't do anything, so Brad had the idea to call the Department of Defense. He has spent the entire Iraq war glued to the TV and has taken to addressing the talking heads, Cabinet secretaries and generals by their first names. "Tommy [as in Franks] will help us get rid of Maurice," he said. "A little shock and awe, a little room freshener, and the reign of terror will be over." He and Debbie drew up a declaration that said I was developing "odors of mass destruction."
They claimed I was a threat to regional stability (the "region" extending from the back porch to the laundry room, where I had left some old socks).
When Brad told me a regime change was in the works, I just laughed. I'm not even in power; Debbie's the one who drew up the bathroom schedule. In fact, I've yet to get control of my personal finances.
But this point got lost in the frantic media run-up to Operation Hyperbolic Freedom, which involved numerous press conferences and fancy 3-D maps of my neighborhood in Arlington.
"Our house is on TV!" Debbie shouted happily as a computer-generated image of our home zoomed into view on the screen.
"You realize the mess this is going to make?" I said. "We'll lose our damage deposit."
I still didn't believe an invasion was imminent, but momentum kept building.
The hawks in Congress declared the upcoming war on Maurice to be not only winnable, but affordable. My house stands just a mile and a half from the Pentagon -- troops and materiel could flow easily down Lee Highway, as long as the invasion didn't take place during rush hour.
"Our conflict is with Maurice only," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declared from the TV. "We will try to minimize the impact on other residents of the house." The TV displayed split-screen images of Brad, Debbie and my cat, Bocci.
In a voice-over, Ari explained that "These three have suffered horribly at the hands of their so-called 'housemate.' This battle will remove a toxic tyrant whose very presence has lowered the quality of life up and down Bryan Street."
I wanted to get my side of the story out, but appearing in public seemed too risky. So the next time Brad ordered pizza, I paid the delivery guy $20 to act as my spokesperson. Standing on the front porch, he told the press that my special elite guard (by which he meant Bocci) had repelled the invading forces. But this didn't quite wash because the reporters could see, 10 yards away, psyops specialists from the Army's 18th Airborne who were distracting my special elite guard with a piece of brightly colored yarn.
The air assault began immediately after "Judge Judy." A cruise missile cruised past the living room and detonated in the garage. We ran to the window to see Debbie's 1995 Jetta in flames.
"How am I going to get to the gym?" she sobbed.
The coalition next lobbed a "bunker-buster" my way. The not-so-smart bomb landed on the wrong side of Lee Highway, destroying a 7-Eleven. Luckily, it was deserted; the staff was out among the troops, giving them corn dogs and Slurpees.
"That was one of Maurice's bombs, not ours," Ari said from inside the TV. "Frankly, we're surprised that the other residents of the house haven't risen up in revolt." But I wasn't surprised. Without me, Debbie would never be able to operate the VCR, and she desperately wanted to record the final phase of the invasion. (She was certain CNN would interview her afterwards, and wanted it on tape.)
Brad had been deeply affected by the destruction of the 7-Eleven. Cut off from his supply of Big Gulps, lottery tickets and Maxim magazine, he swore vengeance on America and pledged allegiance to me. He even started calling me "exalted leader," which I found kind of creepy. Bocci, of course, would stay loyal until my supply of bacon ran out. And I had lots of bacon.
I'm sorry to say we didn't mount much in the way of ground resistance. Debbie was busy fixing her hair for the interview. In a desperate last-minute gambit, I did talk Brad into serving as my double. He got caught while trying to squeeze into my old Members Only jacket. Bocci fought bravely, but was captured in a lightning-fast "pincher" move -- coalition forces pinched him by the scruff of his neck.
With the fighting over, soldiers in chemical-resistant suits swarmed the house. Debbie spoke to CNN about my many violations of human rights (such as all the times I ate food from her shelf in the 'fridge), and how much she was looking forward to democracy and some kind of Marshall Plan, which she hoped would include a new Jetta. Her primping had paid off -- she looked great. She then helped U.S. soldiers topple my Star Trek figurines.
Ari declared that I had been captured, and the TV displayed a picture of Brad, still in my Members Only jacket, making a defiant gesture that I will not describe in detail. I hear he was taken to Guantanamo Bay, where he currently shares quarters with men from Afghanistan. In a note smuggled out of the detention center, he describes his new housemates as neat, considerate individuals who do not own cats. From what I hear, they get along fine.