Single white psychopath: A nostalgic dream of flatsharing suddenly turned into a nightmare for Rebecca Argenti

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I WAS excited by the idea of sharing my flat again. I thought I would recapture my early days of flatsharing in London - shared secrets, nail polish, dinner parties and phone bills. Even the memories of shared decomposing Vesta meals and rotting cartons of milk were bathed in a glow of nostalgia.

After a string of obscene telephone calls were left on my answerphone - I had placed an ad in a freesheet - I decided, as an ex-BBC employee, to advertise in the corporation's staff magazine, Ariel. A charming young man phoned a couple of days later. Because he had a full-time job in television and a serious girlfriend, he 'just wanted somewhere to crash'.

'Yeah,' I said, imitating his TV-speak, 'my pad's pretty cool, why not come by and check it out?'

Soon afterwards he turned up, 5ft 3in, with a neck as wide as he was tall and a small, pretty, Sloane girlfriend in tow. After I had shown him round, we shared a cup of coffee and had an embarrassing conversation about bathtime, nail clippings and relationships. He told me he stayed with his girlfriend a lot and that he had really enjoyed the topless photos of Fergie. Realising that a 'get to know you' weekend wasn't an option, I threw caution to the wind and offered him the room.

A month later he arrived, with a 500-strong record collection, 15 boxes of books and a dozen or so polyester ties. After dumping his stuff in his room, he emerged wearing nothing but a pair of parrot-patterned boxer shorts and what looked like a chest wig. 'Making himself at home,' I thought, as he set up his own Virgin Megastore in my sitting room.

He then sat himself and his boxer shorts down next to me on the sofa. I found myself doing my up cardigan. 'So what's your boyfriend do, then?' he asked. But without pausing for a reply, he continued: 'I've been in TV a long time. Went to Oxford, Panorama's been trying to poach me for months. They want to pull me in to turn it around for them.'

On day four he came home early, banging the front door so hard the foundations shook. He threw himself across the sofa and his briefcase across the room. 'I'm out of work,' he said. 'God, Channel 4 must be stupid. I wrote a brilliant proposal for them and they've turned it down.'

The renewal of his contract was evidently dependent on a programme proposal being accepted. He was unemployed and I'd have to spend each day tip- toeing around him. 'What about Panorama?' I suggested.

'Yeah,' he replied. 'Oh God, getting another job isn't going to be a problem, I'm in big demand.'

'He's got very piercing eyes,' my boyfriend said after being trapped in a conversation with him. 'And he's full of bullshit. He said he produced a documentary that a friend of mine directed, and I know for a fact he didn't'

He came home drunk that night. I was getting ready for bed and heard him fumbling around outside my door. I opened it and there he was, lurching towards me, breathing a cocktail of alcohol, cigarettes and sick.

'Been out with the boys. Can't belive how stupid Channel 4 are. I wrote such a clever document. Ended up in a club, cruised some excellent women.'

'Which club?' I asked. He told me the name and alarm bells rang. I recognised it as a members-only drinking club- cum-brothel that I had come across as a TV researcher.

He went out early the next day. Relieved to be on my own, I tidied up. When I came across his notebook I began to read. Well, he'd left it open on the sitting room table. He was asking for it. And so was I. On the first page was a belief-defying, detailed description of how he wanted to mutilate and murder his girlfriend, who had left him. I sank into a chair and wanted to throw up. Even if these were the bitter ramblings of a sad, dumped drunk, I thought, he's sick - and I'm living with him.

A couple of hours later, after an hysterical telephone call to my boyfriend, I heard a key in the door. He walked into the sitting room and his eyes passed over the notebook and then met mine. I left the room and fled the flat.

It was a week before I gathered the courage to return home and confront him. My boyfriend waited outside in the car. I'd worked out my speech, but when he opened the door I was without words. Charm itself, he offered me coffee, asked me why I'd stayed away so long and then went out, saying he had a day's work at his old company. I phoned him at his office and told him to go. 'Why?' he asked.

'You know why.'

'What's the matter, don't you like living with a man?' he sneered.

He moved out quickly, but only after leaving the notebook out for me again - with a description of how sordid and disgusting my flat was and how repulsive and ugly he found my boyfriend and me.

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