Someone call 911! My roommate is unresponsive & starting to turn gray

Photo of Noah's roommate photoshopped into catacombs
Noah Reese-Clauson and Leo Bernstein Newman / The Mossy Log

College: the time of our lives right? When I came to Lewis & Clark, I expected the movies. I expected beer pong and parties. I expected to be lifelong friends with my freshman year roommate. In typical form, life gave me part of what I expected, but not in the way I expected it. My life is a movie — a horror movie. 

My roommate is named Peter. Peter… something. I do not know much about Peter Something, but I typically spend seven unconscious hours in a room with him along with a few less pleasant, waking ones. The trouble seems to be a lack of connection.

“How are you?” I said today after classes. Peter declined to comment.

“Did you take out the trash?” I said. “I think I did the last few times.” Peter grunted out an unintelligible, almost groaning response that I took as an affirmative. After a few more days of an overflowing trash bin, I realized my mistake, and took it out myself. Again.

“We have room inspections coming up, did you want me to schedule a time to meet with our RA?” Nothing. The RA came, and went, and Peter barely moved.

There was a time at the beginning of the semester when things were not quite so bad. We would even talk occasionally.

“Classes were good,” Peter would say. Or, more commonly, “Where is your lighter?”

This was really just during the first few weeks of school. At that point we could still picture each other’s parents from drop off, all of my friends were from my New Student Trip and I did not understand why everyone complained so much about seasonal depression. 

I do not remember exactly how we went from small talk to no talk, but it was very gradual. His skin started getting grayer and clammier, and a large red stain appeared on his shirt, which he has yet to remove or wash. He would go long stretches — as far as I can tell — without sleeping. His presence at our shared Words class became increasingly more sporadic and then nonexistent. 

I was worried about him, I liked the guy and he was clearly struggling, but whenever I tried to talk to him he would respond only in grunts. Eventually, grunts turned to dull hums and sometimes, late at night, I would hear deep scratchy groans. At this point I gave up trying.

The only time his articulation returned to its September form was ironically when he was drunk.

“YO, Brandon, shit man, how are you,” Peter said. “Have you ever eaten squirrel? I saw a squirrel at *burp* at the party, or maybe it was a person dressed as a squirrel, but I came back to get my car to try and catch it for dinner stuff, like one of those gunther hatherers … wait, hunter gathererers. We *burp* should get a hermit crab.”

After that he wobbled over to the trash can (thankfully) and proceeded to vomit. The next day, when I went to take out the garbage — as the room smelled like Hand Cut Foods’ pasta primavera — I was greeted by a red soup with cucumbers, an army surplus MRE, other normal foods and what to me looked exactly like chunks of brain. I have no idea if that was actually cranium soup, the investigation remains incomplete, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something… wrong.

I am not a superstitious man. I do not believe in ghosts or astro signs or global warming. Still, nothing else explained the groans, the grayness and the brains. 

Also, he does not do anything that would disqualify my theory. When I leave for classes he is in the room. When I get back from classes he is in the room. At this point, he gives no indication whether or not he can tell when the door opens. 

He is always looking at his computer, either playing Call of Duty (CoD), watching CoD YouTube or just staring at a blank Google Doc; it has been hard for me to sleep because of the constant glow that is somehow always entertaining. 

The main hole in my zombie theory is his appreciation of CoD zombies. I doubt he would choose to wind down by shooting digital models of his kin. Then again, in the other modes you shoot humans.

That, and I got an email from our Words professor yesterday saying that the two of us needed to come and talk to them about academic integrity. It seems that Peter somehow copied my essay when I was not looking and submitted it as his own. And here I was afraid he would literally eat my brain.

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