The school year of 1991-92 Wendy and I lived together in a sterile apartment building in Iowa City. It had three bedrooms, but our dumbfuck friend backed out on us at the last minute so we had to find a new roomate. We placed an ad. Lots of perfectly nice college students responded to the ad. We even interviewed some of these people in person. But, in the end, we decided that the best person to be our new roomate was this 45-year-old schizophrenic bitch named Tamara.
Tamara seemed strangely compelling, because she was, you know, old. Also, she said she hoped to one day get into the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Wendy and I had that same exact aspiration. How could we not get along?
Within a few days Tamara made it clear that she was the main character from I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Or, when she wasn’t the main character from that book, she would surprise us with her convincing rendition of Sybil.
Once, she left a note on the fridge that read:
DO NOT LEAV TOILET SEET UP!
I wondered, Why is this note not on the toilet? How am I supposed to remember to not leave the toilet seat up if the note is all the way over here on the fridge?
Another time she left one of those play voodoo dolls out on the kitchen table with pins in certain areas and charming notes, such as one left next to the groin area: MIKE I HOPE YOUR PENIS FALLS OFF!
And yet another time she wrote a note to Wendy calling her fat and deranged. (But which personality was writing this note?)
The most annoying part about Tamara, though, was that she would cook these monstrously huge batches of chili every weekend and stink up the entire apartment. This lady fucking lived on goddamned chili.
One day Wendy and I were home alone and Tamara’s chili was simmering on the stove. And that’s when I got the idea.
Hey Wendy, let’s pull out our pubic hair and put it in Tamara’s chili!
And that, my friends, is the story of How Tamara’s Chili Got Very Hairy. Tamara moved out about five days later and didn’t pay any of her bills, but it was all so worth it. Mmmmm, yes.