It was a shitty apartment. And that was putting it kindly.
There were paint chips all over the floor, hardly any furniture and the windows looked right into the porn shop next door. Not that Frank minded. But besides all the physical imperfections, there was the matter of his new roommate.
His name was Gerard, a too-tall (at least for Frank's liking), too skinny, too pale artist trying to break into the comic book scene. The artist thing wasn't so bad, but Frank had to put up with stepping on colored pencils whenever he entered Gerard's and clothes covered the floor to the point where Frank couldn't remember the color of the floor. Gerard wasn't exactly a very social person, so he rarely spoke to Frank and Frank never saw Gerard except for in the mornings when he would grab coffee from the kitchen, only barely muttering a "Morning" to Frank before shuffling off to draw Spiderman for the umpteenth time. He barely ever changed his clothes. Or washed himself. Frank had pleaded with him to take a goddamn shower because he was wasting his paycheck on air fresheners. Gerard stunk that bad.
Another thing Frank didn't like about Gerard was his sense of hearing. When Gerard would be drawing in his cave of a bedroom, he preferred everything to be quiet. Which meant Frank wasn't allowed to play any music as long as Gerard was home. And Gerard never left the fucking house. So Frank had to be content with listening to his mp3 player on the porch outside, which overlooked the central area of the city. It was beautiful. It was one of the reasons Frank had moved out here.
When he wasn't on the porch, Frank worked at the Starbucks on the corner of 5th and 6th. He'd been working there ever since he moved into the city. Frank liked working there. It was just down the street from his apartment and he got free coffee. The only thing he had to put up with was the stench. Frank loved coffee, but the smell of coffee beans disgusted him. He'd rather hold a spider. Well, maybe not that but something he hated equally as much.
It was a slow day at work, thank god. The store was short staffed and Frank didn't think he could handle being mobbed by university students wanting their lattes. So Frank was just sitting at the counter, alone, waiting for something, anything to happen.
Sadly, all Frank saw was a couple of pigeons near the sewer grate and an elderly woman with a purse the size of a mule. Frank considered closing up early, but he knew the evening rush was bound to start soon. It was about 5 o clock when Frank's watch stopped working, so it was probably 7ish now.
But the evening rush never came, so Frank had to settle with pretending that the zombie apocalypse was beginning, and he had to barricade the countertop with spare cups (how this would stop zombies, he wasn't sure).Frank had made a wall of cups almost as tall as he was before the little bell tied to the door rang, and Frank had a customer.
Frank cleared his throat before peering around the wall. "Good evening, how may-Gerard? What are you doing here?" Frank raised an eyebrow. Gerard never drank store brand coffee. It was his way of "fighting the system."
Gerard just stood there, pretending to stare at the menu, but Frank already knew what he was going to order. A grande coffee, black. It's what he drank every morning.
"Could I have a grande coffee please? Black." 'Check one for Frank' Frank thought as he nodded and shuffled to the back room to grab more coffee cups, seeing as they were out.
When Frank came back, Gerard had seated himself at the table by the window, flipping through his sketchbook. It bothered Frank that Gerard drew nothing but Spiderman. Frank wished Gerard would draw something from his imagination for once. Sighing quietly, Frank pushed the button on the coffee machine, listening to the humming of it's gears. Frank noticed Gerard had slipped a crumpled five dollar bill on the counter while he was in the back room. Frank opened the register.
"So, what's new Gerard?" Frank figured now was a good time to actually get to know Gerard after living with him for 3 months. He never came out of that goddamn cave long enough for a conversation.
Gerard looked up from his sketchpad briefly. "Not much, drawing fucking Spiderman again." Gerard grunted unhappily.
"You don't like drawing Spiderman?"
"I fucking hate it. He's a shitty superhero." Gerard licked the corner of his finger before flipping the page.
Frank put a lid on the drink. "So why do you?" He made his way over to Gerard before sitting in the chair opposite him and sliding him his coffee.
Gerard made a face. "Drawing him for Marvel was the only comic artist position available there. And you know what else sucks?" Gerard looked up from his sketchpad to Frank, who was listening intently. Frank nodded.
"I might not even get the job! In order for me to get the job, I have to be able to draw him perfectly in every possible situation he could be in. So far Marvel hasn't liked any of my drawings." Gerard rested his face on his hand, sighing. "So I guess my drawing suck and I'll never get a job, huh?" Gerard sipped his coffee uninterestedly, staring at the table.
Frank sat up straighter. "Gerard, your drawings don't suck. They're fantastic." Gerard was looking at Frank now. "The only thing that sucks is that the company doesn't see that. You have talent and you shouldn't waste it drawing fucking Spiderman." Frank made a face before slumping back into the grey cushioned chair.
Gerard sipped his coffee quickly. "You know, you're right Frank. I should do my own thing!" He picked up his sketchpad and his coffee before getting up.
"Wait, where are you going?" Frank was pissed that he was gonna be bored again.
Gerard opened the door for himself. "I'm gonna go give up the Spiderman position!" Gerard grinned, happy he never had to draw Spiderman again and left.
Frank watched him leave with a smirk on his face. Gerard was sorta weird, ya know?
But good weird. Frank liked him.