I was in New York City in my early twenties and looking for a new place to live. I sat on a bench at the park with the Village Voice in hand, which was the premier paper for apartment listings at that time.
A bushy-haired man, who also looked to be in his twenties, approached. He put down his backpack and started chatting.
“Hey! Are you looking for an apartment?” he asked, wild-eyed.
“Yes. As a matter of fact, I am.”
“I have a place you can stay. I used to have a roommate, but she’s gone now. She’s not there anymore. There’s room for you if you want to come over.” He handed me a piece of paper. “Here’s my number. Give me a call.”
“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.” I had no intention of keeping it in mind—did I mention that he had a live chicken in that backpack?
I didn’t think anything of it until a few months later when I read an article in the Voice about a man who slaughtered his female roommate and had her head boiling in a pot on the stove. How do I know it was him? His picture was in the paper, and they mentioned the live chicken in his backpack. At that point, I understood why he had a vacancy.
True story—it happened in the early 1990s in New York City.