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The Upstairs Apartment: An Absolutely* True** Story in One Act

*not **(-ly satirical)

Jeremy Hogan, The Bloomingtonian

SCENE: Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, Indiana. Home to many shops, restaurants, bars, and just a few living spaces as well. We open in a dimly lit apartment, appearing as any other except for one dusky gold-colored door back center stage.


Realtor: And here we have the ‘IU Sucks’ apartment. Lovely view of Nick’s and the avenue, if you’re into that.

Student: That is a nice view. Wait, why is this called the ‘IU Sucks’ apartment? We’re literally in the heart of Bloomington, and the nearest Purdue fan is easily miles away.

Realtor: It’s a long story, actually. The short version is, someone is paying us to call it that.

Student: Huh. I guess free money is a good enough reason. It doesn’t really fit....wait, what’s up with that door back there?

Realtor: Oh, that’s the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame. Yeah, part of the rental agreement is that you’re required to keep it, but it doesn’t need much upkeep.

Student: The Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame? What does that even fit in here?

Realtor: Oh, it’s easy enough.

REALTOR OPENS CLOSET DOOR. Inside, a picture of Drew Brees holding a rose in his mouth features prominently, with a couple of golf clubs and a basketball signed by the 1999 Women’s National Champions on a stand. The closet is otherwise completely barren and somewhat hidden in shadows.

Student: Why is it so dark in here?

Realtor: They never paid us to install any kind of permanent lighting in there, so we haven’t. If anybody from out of town comes to look, we rent a table lamp to shine some light on it.

Student: I don’t have to pay for that, right?

Realtor: Nah, it’s covered. Actually, most of your expenses here are; that’s the reason this apartment goes so quick every year. Some people refuse to rent this place because of that door, but everyone who’s ever signed the lease has left here happy they did.

Student: Wow, that’s kind of amazing. So internet?

Realtor: Covered.

Student: Water?

Realtor: Covered.

Student: Power?

Realtor: Generated completely free using a process we’ve never been able to reverse-engineer, but we think involves every time a Purdue student chants ‘IU sucks’.

Student: Huh. Never would have thought you could do that.

Realtor: Like I said, we’re not sure, but it’s our best guess. That, or they’ve harnessed some kind of power I don’t want to think about.

Student: Fair enough.

Realtor: Anything else you want to know about?

STUDENT thinks for a minute. They walk around the space, seemingly measuring a couple of things with their hands. A nod to themselves, they return to stand next to REALTOR.

Student: I think you’ve pretty well sold me on the place. I do have one last question, though.

Realtor: If I can, I’ll try to answer it.

Student: You said someone is paying you to call this the ‘IU Sucks’ apartment. You also said that someone, presumably the same someone?


Student: That same someone is also covering every single expense associated with this apartment. I gotta know, who is it? It’s not Mark Cuban, is it?

REALTOR laughs.

Realtor: Oh, goodness no. Definitely not Mark. Funny story, he actually lived here for a year. We’ve got the picture to prove it and everything.

Student: Yeah, it seemed like a long shot. So......who?

Realtor: The honest answer is, I don’t actually know. Their money gets transferred to us, but we’ve never gotten any information from our bank or theirs other than ‘An Anonymous Donor.’ And this goes back way longer than our company renting this apartment; from what we’ve been told, this arrangement has been going since 1869, on this site, whatever form it may take at the time.

Student: So, what you’re telling me, is that not only has this been going on for over 150 years, and you have no idea who’s been paying for all of this all that time, but ever since it has existed, ‘IU Sucks’ has been rent-free for us?

Realtor: Indeed.

Student: I think I’m gonna love living up here.

REALTOR grins.

Realtor: Every Hoosier does.