the landlord

The Landlord

He wasn’t two-faced but he did have two sides to him, and each side had numerous subdivisions. He was like an apartment complex with a first-come, first-serve rental policy. There was no security deposit and no guarantee against unwanted intrusions. You may think there’s no such thing as a wanted intrusion, but think again.

You’ve been renting 3-C for some time, and you’ve told the renter directly across the hall in 3-D for the umpteenth time to please stop knocking on your door at all hours, you have no extra sugar, you don’t subscribe to the paper, and you don’t want to play Scrabble. And then one night at 3 a.m. you wake up in the jaws of a terrible loneliness and find yourself knocking on his door, and when he opens it you hear yourself saying, “I know it’s late, but could I come in? Just for a minute?”

And so starts a stormy relationship between 3-C and 3-D that embraces intrusion and lasts until you both get evicted.

There’s no lease. There’s no 30-day-notice eviction clause. No first-and-last. There’s only the discerning eye of the landlord who seems at times capricious, even two-faced, but he has his reasons.

On the plus side the rent never gets raised, pets are welcome, and race, creed and sexual proclivities are irrelevant. Nevertheless, there is a high turnover of renters, and the landlord never questions their motives for moving out.

Only the old man in the basement who does chores for rent and the mysterious woman on the top floor who sings softly down the ventilation shaft at night have been there from the start.

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