Freeloading Roommates and Dumpster Pizza--Just Another Bachelor Story

I basically lived with every character of Portlandia at one time.  One
guy, Jimmie, found some really neat items while dumpster diving.  

I'm tired, and overworked, and I'm sorry there hasn't been a real post on here in a over a week. This is an excerpt late in my novel. It is fiction, but it is based on real events. In my late teens and early twenties I lived with a constantly rotating stream of Christian roommates that numbered about 7. All of them were insane in some capacity. This is about a guy Dave who never officially lived with us, but made himself at home anyway.  (I'm not going to introduce all the other characters because...I'm tired).


Multiply this times 4, and you have our old garage. 
I saw the beat up truck parked on Happy Lane, but that didn’t mean much in our house.  Increasingly, there was always cars, specifically Asian imported cars, parked around our house, getting operated on in our garage by do-it-yourself surgeons. They wandered from the operating table with black hands holding parts with dangling hoses and wires seeking second opinions of equally uniformed med students. Our second bathroom became their scrubbing in room, leaving smears of grease on the doorknob, sink handle and flusher.  Living in a car wasteland had grown beyond annoying, but I figured, just because I hate cars, and would rather pay to get my oil changed than do it myself, didn’t give me the right to try and stop their hobby.  I call it a hobby, because the Glossnears, John and Greg, had invested all kinds of money into parts and tools, and had already blown up a few engines.  They called it “tuning.”  But when “tuning” a guitar string the idea is to make it vibrate in key, not break, so I suggested they purchase some malpractice insurance.

Push this off the Oregon coast highway and let it sit in
salt water for a year and you have Dave's Dodge.  
So when I parked next to the 1988 Dodge Dakota, my initial thought was, “why would anyone invest any money into this vehicle at all…it looks like it would be better suited for modern art than transportation.” Then the smell hit me.  Something was dead in this vehicle and it needed more than cosmetic surgery, it needed a mortician. 

As I walked in the front door, I saw Jimmie playing with a pit bull with a spiked collar.  “Please tell me you didn’t pull that dog out of the Scamp’s pet store dumpster.”

“No, this is Helmet, it’s Dave’s dog, isn’t he cute?” Jimmie said giggling like a kid on Christmas day as the dog happily licked his face.  

“Helmet?  Like Hell-Mutt?  Or after the horrible metal band that druggies wore T-shirts of in my high school?” I asked, not really wanting an answer other than why there was a dangerous dog in my house.

“His name is Helmet, because it looks like he’s wearing a helmet…see how his fur is black around his chin, like a facemask,”  said the guy sitting on the couch that we never sat on. 

“I take it you are Dave?  Is that your truck out there, it doesn’t smell so good?”  I replied to the potential Dave.

“Yeah, I just lost the tranny out in front of your house.  Actually I lost reverse somewhere around Montana, and 4th gear hasn’t worked right for a couple of days, but it just grinded to a halt right out here, and Jimmie helped me push it to your curb.”

“So were you like, trying to make it home and hoping the truck would hold out or something?”  I asked logically.

“Oh, no.  I was just driving around.  I’m from Ohio, and I wanted to drive across the nation with my dog.”

"Oh, of course," I said sarcastically, "Well, you have money, right?  You can fix it and get on your way?”

“Nope.  Left home with $35.00 and spent that on gas the first day.  Been bumming food and stuff from people all the way here.  Worked a couple of odd jobs, raked some leaves, helped a guy clean his gutters, just enough for gas. Figured I’d get a job here in Ugene, {he meant Eugene, but everybody from out of the area always over-pronounces the ‘U’} Jimmie said I could stay here until I could get it fixed.”

“Wait, what?” I shifted my head in obvious annoyance towards Jimmie  “Jimmie, we already have seven guys living here, in a four-bedroom house…we don’t need another roommate, especially one who doesn’t have a job, and we can’t have a dog in the house, it specifically says so in the lease?” my irritation at the idea of ANOTHER roommate was clearly implied.   

7 roomates, innumeral guests at odd hours,
why not add a dog with a propensity to bite?
“Well, technically, I’m not on the lease, neither is Danny or Hank.  And it isn’t a question of “need,” we have everything we need, but Dave needs a place to stay temporarily until he can get on his way again.  Isn’t this what Jesus said we should do, help those in need?” Jimmie asked very innocently.

“Don’t go quoting Jesus in this.  Jesus didn’t have a parable of the guy who ran away from Ohio, stole  the family pit-bull, and tried to make it cross-country in a truck that shouldn't have made it to Illinois…at least the Prodigal Son had his entire inheritance to waste before he returned home…I’m sorry, Dave, but we know nothing about you…you seem alright, even if you are sitting on the couch that nobody sits on, but we don’t have room for you right now,”  I thought I was speaking for the other four absent roommates in this rant. 

“That’s cool, man, I was just going to take the canopy off my truck, set it in the grass and sleep under it for a while--with Helmet, of course.” Dave answered matter-of-factly. 

I had noticed that the truck payload was full of junk, so sleeping in the back wasn’t possible…but who lets a vagabond sleep under a canopy in their front yard?  “I don’t know…we’re going to have to have a house meeting about it.  If the landlords ever came by they would kick us to the curb.”  I wanted to wash my hands of it.  I was hoping Greg would come home and exude some over 40-year-old adult rationale on the situation, but he wasn’t coming home for at least a week or so.  Instead, angrily,  I went to my room and read most of a novel for class and typed a paper on the old computer now in my room.  It was the first homework I had done in weeks, I really was stretched in too many directions.

About three hours later, bedtime to most human beings, I was interrupted by a knock on my door, and an almost immediate opening of my door.  It was Dave. “Hey man, house meeting. We’re having a house meeting. Everyone’s here.”

I really wanted to say to him that this wasn’t his house and he can’t call a house meeting in a house that isn’t his. Logistics and legalities seemed lost on the Lost. 

I walked into the living room and everyone was eating Little Caesar’s pizza, someone had saved me a piece of cheese and a pepperoni, and lots of crusts.  My stereo was playing some God-forsaken music praising God through grunts, primal screams and what sounded like instruments, but more closely resembled the muffled cries of the condemned in hell.

“Can we turn that off? 

It was turned down low. Ben, Danny, Jimmie, John and Dave were all crowded onto the two major couches. Someone had even started a fire in the fireplace, which I didn’t even know worked. It was the most we had looked like a family in the entire six months we had been there. The only seat left over was on the couch nobody sat on, instead I pulled a dining room table chair into the room and grabbed a slice of pizza. 

“So we’re gathered here to vote on the issue of letting me stay in the front lawn until I can fix my truck, are we ready to have a vote?” 

“We can’t have a vote without my Dad or Hank. Plus if this is all formal and stuff, shouldn’t we hear some testimony or evidence or something,” John said almost laughing at the absurdity of it all. He was after all, a junior in high school, even if we treated him like a college kid like we all were. 

It might look diseased, but only your colon can tell
you if, in fact, it is diseased.  
“Well, okay:  I’m Dave, you’re eating my pizza, and I started the fire. I cleaned the engine grease out of the small bathroom today, and I want to stay here for a couple of weeks. Are we ready to vote?  I vote in favor.” 

“You can’t vote Dave, this vote is all about whether you get in the house or not.  And we’re not ready to vote. Plus, how’d you pay for this pizza, I thought you said you were broke?” I implored.

“The President gets to vote for himself, I think I should be able to vote in this scenario. And I didn’t pay for those pizzas, they were given to me cause they couldn't sell them at the end of the day...they're old.” 

I dropped the piece that was in my hand, and felt suddenly sick at the idea of dumpster pizza.  “Dave, you’re clearly not the President, so you don't get a vote..."  

Dave failed the vote, but he still stayed in the front lawn for three weeks until we mustered the courage to really kick him out. He called about 40 house meetings, ate everything in my freezer, and basically lived in our living room for all the daylight hours. Jesus should've had a parable about Dave, the Freeloader.

And there should be a Child Protective Services for dogs that have to live with humans like Dave.  


  1. This has so much humor to recommend it. The comparison of the car repair to surgery, the freeloading roommates, the dialogue had me snickering. Some people, man.

    1. Yeah...we had "some people" galore in that house, hence the reason I wrote a book about it.

  2. I love how Dave figured he was President based on his contribution of Dumpster pizza.

    1. We had a lot of "Daves" in that house...they all acted fairly similar, and they all ate my food.

  3. How well I remember that house and the presiding characters! Good one...
    We have our versions of Dave that came in and out of our lives in our younger years when we lived communally, too. And wrote some about them in our book as well! It's hard to make up stuff like this.

  4. That's some crazy stuff! Poor dog really deserved a better owner. Also, I must know: why didn't anyone sit on the couch?!