Myles, the housemate.
I had moved into a house in Petersham with some pals, both guys and girls, all of us from the mountains, in early 1999.
My brother and I had a great time, day in, day out. But like in most sharehouses, people’s plans change and within months we needed a new housemate.
My brother delivered the first replacement, Randall, a top guy with whom I am still friends. Later on, when we needed another replacement, I suggested my workmate Myles as he had been commuting to the city from Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains and he seemed fun to be around.
Years later, we wouldn’t be friends, but instead, I would be exhausted from searching for him, he would have many flatmates around the state chasing him and the police would have him listed as “wanted for questioning”.
You see, Myles was superb at making friends. At 21, his voice already sounded deep and mature. He had encyclopedic knowledge of random topics like astronomy and indie rock (including an obsession with The Pixies). He feigned interest in subjects like astro-physics and brought academic books into the house as if to prove it.
In hindsight, a few things seemed odd about Myles’s paired-downed lifestyle but none were so strange or threatening that they warranted real concern.
I’ll list a few examples…
– Myles wanted to debate God and Christianity often but he but while asking many personal questions of us along the way, Myles actually revealed very little of his own beliefs, influences or his past. After months, with every night filled with deep and meaningfuls, all we really knew of Myles was where his parents lived and that he had left school early. He had worked in retail ever since. He carried only or two long-term friends. There was talk of a brother but no sign of him.
– Every night, without fail, Myles headed out for a drive that he had to take alone. He drove an aging Toyota with a terrible paintjob as he had once tried to respray it. He wouldn’t say where he drove, he “just liked to drive”. Only, he had to be alone. Never discussed where he went, wouldn’t let anyone come with him, but he was religious about it.
– In our sharehouse, we usually shared the cooking around and ate at the same time but Myles always refused to share anything. He wouldn’t even share his utensils. As i recall, he survived on one frypan and one set of cutlery.
– He had obscure/inappropriate sexual preferences. He once voiced a love of Natalie Portman especially pointing out her beauty in The Assassin – a film where she was about 8 years old. He said he would ‘do her’ and failed to see any problem with this. Later, when a housemate’s two female 16-year-old cousins came to visit, Myles took them under his wing and showed them the city night after night until it got so out of control my housemate had to confront the 16-year-olds about going out alone with a relatively unknown 21-year-old, especially one who had started talking about moving to the distant state where the girls lived.
Should all that have been enough to make us wary?
I can only think we let it all go because Myles would dodge any question confidently with a likable nervous laugh and he was such a good conversationalist, always interested in others, that you never thought he was hiding something.
Oh, and another significant piece of strangeness.
Myles had lots of cool stuff. His car was shite, he ate poorly and wore the same clothes to Grace Bros every day, and yet, he regularly came home with new hifi equipment, digital cameras, speakers and CDs.
This alone could be enough to arouse suspicion, but, imagine if he then sold you the stuff at a sensational discount! This occurred multiple times. I am typing this blog in front of two $500 Sony speakers he suddenly gave me one day for the ridiculous price of $50. They were brand new.
Overall, Myles was sensational to have around. Never caused any fuss. Everyone liked him. He was always happy.
The sad thing is, we were being buttered up.
Part 3b – The Conman continued…