Meth House Woes

– I started getting sick when three guys moved in. Although I was owned, I was a rental. The guys seemed know just what they were going to do. As far as being able to pick a leader, the mix of young men seemed to be newly formed. One would ask the rest if they wanted to share the food or keep them apart and never came to a consensus other than they’d just put food in there and unless someone made a big point about his favorite food or a planned out meal then the rule was simply to try to keep new food coming in and throwing out the stuff that slimed over or grew some kind of fuzz.

– I was okay with this, not that a house has a choice in anything. When we start out I suppose we live on our looks. One style of house may suggest a certain owner or a pallet of paint and furniture textures and lines. But in the life of a house, we have to take what we get.

– My previous owners were college girls doing their last year. They were very smart. Always reading and jotting down something. Mellow music if any at all. The girls watched any TV they liked through their computers. They seldom had guests and ate good for you food.

– The new guys were edgier than the smart girls but none of the guys could be called dumb or unmotivated. They had one full time job each and I think any one of them could have rented me alone if they didn’t have a spending issue.

– They brought a few boxes of clothes. Furniture came with the place. The third guy moved in a second bed for the bigger bedroom. They had played Rock Paper Scissors to see who had to share.

– The guys were clean. One was downright tidy. What the others didn’t pick up when the left a project, the other tidy one swept through.

– None of them smoked. Not even out back on the sidewalk. Smoking had become a huge issue during the last decade. The most ridiculous thing I ever saw. Grown up people standing on corners across from their homes smoking a completely legal cigarette.

– The girls from the college didn’t smoke either but some guests did. They had very few visitors. The one that smoked was one of the girls’ father and who is going to tell a father he can’t smoke?

– So, these guys settled in and began to devise a plan. They never used their cell phones while they were inside me. They asked each other upon arrival if their cell was turned off. Then the cell went into a decorative basket near the door with the car keys.

– Then some work began. It seemed I only had two of the guys at a time, two worked the same shift and the third one came in very late. I think the third one worked at a local bar. He always smelled faintly of mixed drinks. No cigarette smoke, they had even banned tobacco in bars of all places.

– Of the two working the same shift, one had a job at a ranch supply store. The other one I think must have been working in fast food or a delivery guy for a food service. He said he worked hard during mid day, taking things to offices, pleasing the suits and high healed grumpy women. He swore he got the orders right and was going to take to asking the girl at the counter to start recording everything as it came in on a digital recorder. Although she agreed to do it she never did, she talked the delivery guy down and the shop ate the mistakes when they didn’t simply scoop them into the nearest dumpster.

– The first guy, called Erik brought in some stuff in bags one day and stashed them in the closet. The next day he brought in a couple of coolers and some batteries. The warned the other two not to talk about anything. They had not said enough out loud for me to figure out what they were doing.

– The second guy, the delivery guy, came in one evening with an aquarium. He began to set up the fish tank. Erik asked what it was about and he explained that buying the whole deal seemed less conspicuous than just buying various hoses. Why not try a few fish. As some homeliness a hobby or a grand experiment if Erik needed to find it useful.

– Erik agreed to let Allen, the delivery fellow, set up his new hobby. Allen fussed with plants, gravel, under filters and took only what he needed from his huge supply of tubing.

– The night shift fellow, called Jigger, I don’t know what it means but I figure it has something to do with drink mixing. Probably a name someone called in jest and it stuck to him. Jigger had stopped by some cleaning supply place a brought back some strange and caustic chemicals.

– I wasn’t getting much news from the young people who had been using me over the past few years but I did know these fellows were up to something. Something bad, I supposed and I was putting it together.

– Fire extinguishers, the red ones with the trigger went into the corners behind the doors of every room. The guys wanted to know where they all were.

– The exhaust fan over the stove in the kitchen became an object they were fixated upon. One of them sat right on top of the stove burners and began cleaning like a man possessed. He took a break and came back with a cushion from the couch and continued cleaning. He finally got the fan out and cleaned some more.

– Jiggers suggested a start on buying the sudo pills, whatever that meant. He would bring in the rest of the gear they needed if Erik would go out to get a replacement fan for the stove exhaust. Whatever size he thought he could get away with, given the space, Jigger assured him he could find a way to make it fit.

– The three guys were definitely up to something.

– They seemed to be expectant, like a holiday was coming up, a celebration. So far we had no visitors not a one and not a single phone call had gone out from the house, or even the corner outside where smoking was allowed.

– The tension rose and for the first time the group began to have a defined leader. Erik was the new leader. He spent time pacing and glancing out the windows. He recorded the neighborhood cars and trucks, the comings and goings of people, keeping a chart. He said he didn’t like the unexpected. Allen and Jiggers began building something that looked like a science kit in the kitchen. They had moved the electric range out of its cubby and replaced it with a table with shelves beneath it. The range was backed neatly against a far wall in the kitchen.

– The guys all three became very watchful and suspicious. The new leader, Erik began checking the fire extinguishers again. Said he didn’t want to end up with his head on fire.

– The other two began to set up plastic soda bottles, tubes, measure, nasty drain cleaners, matches of all things, there was some negotiation about who would open the batteries. No one wanted to do it. This was almost the breaking point.

– One day soon after the battery argument, the guys began their first grand experiment.

– They were cooking. I became a meth house. A poisoned place. Smells stuck to my walls and nasty things went through my ventilation.

– The guys only did this once a week or so in the beginning. Like mad scientists trying to recover after creating a Frankenstein type monster.

– After some time passed, Erik became more relaxed and when he relaxed the other two relaxed with him. So far there had been no fires. I know there was always potential.

– Whatever they were doing with their product I did not know. I swallowed a lot of the cast off down my toilet and sometimes the kitchen drain but Erik said they needed to be more careful of that down the drain disposal. He claimed everything eventually made its way into the drinking water and they shouldn’t mess it up for people who weren’t customers.

– What they did once a week or so became a three days a week thing. Allen was getting sick but Erik prodded him onward.

– One week end Allen and Jiggers were filtering a batch and Allen fell terribly ill. He was wheezing and pale. When he began twitching, Erik and Jiggers had to wait till the run was complete before shutting everything down.

– By then, Allen was cold in bed, blue.

– Jiggers, the drink mixer, and Erik were stuck with a dead man on their hands. This was something they had not prepared for. It wasn’t in the plans. They were upset. I could see neither of them was going to deal with this in a predictable way.

– There was even a silly argument about who was responsible for this accident, what they screwed up and what they were going to do.

– Allen had a job he was expected to show up at and they couldn’t have a dead guy, a friend, just laying there in the other room attracting bugs and smelling up the place.

– They opened a window in the bedroom to let in some cool air. Jiggers suggested they move Allen, using his car. They could park Allen somewhere off the road and make it look like he had pulled over for a rest.

– I wasn’t there for it but they drove around until they found a fairly isolated pull off and left Allen in his car at the side of the road.

– I know these things because when the two guys got back Allen felt a need to voice his remorse over what they had done.

– The next day was a work day, Monday, and someone would expect Allen to come in and deliver the lunches. It was Erik who turned on Allen’s phone and left an excuse in Allen’s name.

– The guys, Jiggers and Erik went to their own jobs as they normally would. Erik tossed Allen’s cell to Jiggers and instructed him to pull the battery and toss the works where ever he wished.

– In the end, it was the cell phone that got the whole thing uncovered. Allen was turned in to the police as a missing person. The search was on and about three days into the search they found Allen and his car. The cell phone that all young people cannot go without was missing.

– A detective confirmed that Allen had a phone and that the very last call was made from near or inside my walls. Cops knocking at the door told Erik the whole story and asked about the men’s relationship.

– Everything happened impossibly fast. My doors were taped over. I was sealed off as a contaminated house. Doomed for destruction if someone didn’t come to my rescue.

– In a falling market, the owner couldn’t afford to gut me clean me and start over. He couldn’t sell me either, no one wanted a meth house and it had to be disclosed to new owners. No one even wanted to walk through me to estimate the cleaning fees.

– I sit here in dingy aloneness. The electricity, water, and heat are off. My windows are blank. Everything left behind after the bust and search are still here. The food has gone over and I sit in a state of depression and I hope or wish they’d just plow me over and put me out of my lonely misery.

– Meth House

All of the Houses in the Spoon River series can be found at

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.


  1. Habakkuk is a book in the Bible. If you go here, you can see the intro to this series of Fiction-Friday posts.

    This link will take you to all of the category posts but the timeline is newest to oldest.

    I’ve no experience with the Meth House, I researched online and found some step by step instructions for acquiring materials, setting up the lab and cooking. Almost as frightening as finding out how to build a pipe bomb and start up a terror cell. will also take you to previous posts.


  2. Hi Sally-Is this something you are working on? Very interesting and sad. I like it because I can be dark. Why is it tagged habakkuk? Isn’t that a bible book?

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