KINGSTON, N.Y. — Local woman Kelly Atkins is frustrated with her current apartment, as the listing promised her access to laundry in the basement of the building without mentioning the fact it is a harrowing pit of terror and despair, confirmed sources terrified to go down there.
“It didn’t bother me much at first,” said Atkins. “Like sure, there’s only one bare lightbulb fighting off the encroaching darkness, but you kind-of have to expect that a little bit in an older building like this. I really started to freak out when I heard my mom tell me to separate my lights and darks before I wash them, because one, that’s a myth, and two, my mom died when I was 10. I guess the worst part, other than the feeling that you’re being watched by a serial killer, is the fact that you have to pay for the machines with an app, and of course you don’t get cell phone service down there.”
David DeLano, the landlord for the building, thinks that his tenants’ concerns are overblown.
“Don’t get cell phone service down there? Goddamn spoiled kids and their phones,” DeLano said. “So what that nobody could reach you and you couldn’t call for help if something went wrong down there? And yeah, nobody could hear your cries for help because of how far down the stairs go, but grow up. Back in my day, people didn’t baby each other like they do now. They’re lucky I give ‘em a light bulb at all. I manage a lot of properties in this town, and everyone thinks they need more light, or a bug-free kitchen, or a basement laundry unit that someone didn’t die a brutal and hellish death in years ago. Brats.”
Spencer Abernathy, a local maintenance man, confirmed that he sees basements like Atkins’ all the time.
“Landlords are always gonna upsell something,” Abernathy said. “Like, if you see a listing that says the place has ‘a communal space,’ it means you’re sharing it with rats. If it says you have ‘private access to a huge yard’ it means you’ve got a door that goes to a patch of dirt and tetanus nails. I own my house, but I’d still tell you that it has ‘lots of natural light and fresh air,’ which just means that I keep my windows open because the previous owner had 15 cats and if I close the windows your eyes will water. It’s all about the sell.”
At press time, Atkins realized that the weird, leaking trash bag in the corner of laundry room was definitely fucking moving, and got out of there ASAP.
Photo by Julia Heron.