Friday, March 6, 2009

The Digs

This week, our negroid newsman seeks a lease in a landlord's market, in a town where decent real estate doesn't open up until someone kicks the bucket.

Hi, I’m calling about the apartment for rent on Lacuna Lane.

Yeah, one bedroom, one bath, kitchen.

What’s the approximate square footage?

Don’t know.

Is it drafty? Have any leaks?

I really couldn’t tell you.

I see from the ad that the apartment is part of a duplex. Are the other residents students? Professionals?

Look, you’re asking me a bunch of questions you really couldn’t expect me to—

Wait a sec, you are Henry, the landlord, right?

Yup. Rent checks show up in my mail top of every month … that’s about all I know.

You want a tour of the place or what?

Yeah, I was hoping—

Meet me there in fifteen minutes.

But I’m twenty minutes aw—[Click] … Hello? … Hmm.

Twenty minutes later

Knock knock knock


Hi, uh … I talked to Henry about taking a look at this place. He said he’d meet me—

Oh, sure. Come in; you can wait inside.

I’ll just wait on the porch, thanks.

But there’s no awning … you’re getting soaked.

Yeah, but you know … unfamiliar, big, black guy / little, blond girl home alone / neighbors no doubt eyeing me through their window blinds …

… I don’t follow.

I don’t want to put myself in a compromising posi— … Never mind; nothing you need to worry about.

I’m sorry, but are you smoking a Black & Mild??

Hey, hey! You the guy who called?

Yeah: Beau. You’re Henry, I presume.

That’s me. And you’ve met Esther?

He has now. You feel safe stepping in out of the rain now, Beau?

Well, yeah, I, uh … hmmm

Oh, don’t mind the dirty laundry strewn all over floor … Feel free to walk right on it.

Okaaaaaay …

Careful, looks like you got your shoe caught on some used dental floss, there.

Uugghh, lovely.

That’s actually a thong.

Ugh ... Even better.

This is the living room. As you can see, it’s fairly spacious.

Spacious? The TV stand’s an arm’s length away from the couch! And they’re both flush up against the walls!

And what’s that corroded metal box jutting out over the arm of the sofa?

AC unit. It does drip a bit when it’s in use.

Hence the damp rust spots on the couch cushions.

And if that’s on the fritz, there’s always the ceiling fan … Click.


Woo! Watch your head.

What’s this like a 7-foot ceiling?

No, a foot’s worth of linoleum tile … Slight mold situation. Just let me know whenever it creeps out again, and I’ll slap down a fresh layer of flooring.

Moving on …?

The bedroom … cozy, but functional.

… Looks like the bed barely squeezes in, here. What’s that a twin-size?

It’s actually a cot from a local daycare center… Anything larger would have been hanging over into my closet space.

Which you use to store your extensive collection of empty Absolut bottles, I see.

Finally, the bathroom.

… Lead the way.

Actually, it’s just that efficiency sink and shower head mounted in the corner of the room.

But … this is a hardwood floor!

Yeah, most tenants find that standing in a good 15-or-so-gallon washtub while showering catches most of the runoff.

I think I’ve seen enough—

Knock knock knock

I saw the “For Rent” sign in the front.

Hey, hey! You looking for a place?

Yeah … wow! What a great pad! … What is this: mottled-color, cloth carpeting made from recycled clothing? Does that come with the apartment?

Only what sticks to your shoes.

Far out! A ceiling fan? No more stuffing my pillow with bags of ice during those sweltering summer nights.

And check out this huge bedroom.

No way! Room for a bed! No more sleeping on the floor for me!

Where have you been living, a concentration camp?

Have you seen other apartments in this town?

Well, no.

This place is the lap of luxury in comparison! … How much is rent?

$550 deposit. $700 monthly rent.

Are you insane? This is East Texas, not East Manhattan—

I know, I know. My sister tells me I’m practically giving this place away.

Where do I sign?

Here’s the lease agreement.

Wait, wait, wait … I was here first.

… Whoever is the first to put down a deposit …

I’ll call my parents. They’ll have it here Western Union in half an hour!

Look … uuunngghhI’m going to hate myself for this … I’ll write you a check.


Ah, sun’s coming out.

Did … did … did the roof just flap up from the house frame a little bit?

Cool! Solar heating! Green living!

Grumble, grumbleuuunngghh … Here, take this before I change my mind.

Just do me a favor and take a nail gun to those shingles before I move in.

That evening


Thanks again for helping me move out my stuff, Beau.

No biggie. I had to peel a box’s worth of your laundry from the bottom of my shoes before I left, anyway.

Where are you moving from?

A two-bedroom place across town … My ex-girlfriend and I recently separated.

I’m sorry.

… It ran its course.


By the way, what's behind that wrought iron gate across the street?

A cemetery. Word is that it was once the burial ground for the wisest Caddo Indian chiefs.

Oh, couldn’t see the headstones for all the cow skulls mounted on the railings.

We can go check it out, if you want.

Again: strange black guy, young white female, ambling into a forlorn graveyard together in the dead of night …

"Compromising position?"

To say the least.

Sigh ... If you say so … I think that’s everything. I’m hitting the road.

Can I get the keys from you?

I gave them back to Henry … I can drive you over to his house, if you’d like.

Unless you’d rather just jog behind my SUV to avoid putting yourself in a compromising position.

… Huh, huh. OK, OK. Thanks.

You know, not everyone in Texas is as backwards-thinking in terms of race as you might suppose. You really need to work on being more comfortable around white women.

hmph … huh, huh …

Tell me about it.

At Henry's place

Knock knock knock

Whu— Beau! What are you doing h—?

The keys to the apartment …

Hey, hey! Hot rolls, fresh from the oven, Dad. Time to eat!


… Oh, I mean … Hot rolls, man with whom I almost signed a lease agreement today, but didn’t, and with whom I am now having dinner.



Sigh … A one-year lease, huh?


Suppose there’s no way of getting out of that now.

Nope. Jingle jingle … Enjoy your new home.

… There’s no place like it.

New 'toon on Friday the 13th!


Steven said...

Is that Joe from Champion Court?

Jackson Brown said...

Nah, brah ... see the disclaimer at the top of the page. :-)

Man, checked out your blog ... you're a tech wizard now, it looks like! That Molecule Picture Book project sounds like a fun/neat idea.

Glad NY/teaching is going well. I've still got to make it up that way at some point.

Shawna said...

just catching up. lol.