the landlady stood
execrating and final,
sending me to hell,
waving her fat, sweaty arms
screaming for rent
because the world had failed us
WHEN WE RENTED HALF a home in September, some part of me rebelled. It was the upper-half of a duplex, full of eccentric diagonals and slanted ceilings, and yeah it felt something like home. But the long-bearded landlord, Peters, his eyes desperate and wild, well he wasn't right.
"A two-bedroom?" he'd said.
"Just one," said Angie, giving me a look. "For now."
She loved the motherfucker. The house, I mean.
"I don't know," I said. "It's something wrong with his eyes. Some people you know you can out-talk, but they make you nervous anyway."
"Why Mr. Weeks," she said in mock-enlightenment, "you are an arrogant prick."
"Christ," I said. "Just saying it's a good idea to decide who you're comfortable owing."
Peters himself lived three houses down, on the corner.
THE FIRST TIME THE rent was overdue, a week late, there he was at 10 am.
"Shit," I said, "You're right. I'm sorry." His hands worked at one-another as I wrote him out a check.
Later, Angie, counting her tips, said "You what?"
"Bearded asshole, asshole, asshole," I said.
WHEN THE POLICECAR LIGHTS flash-flicker-flashed outside Peters' house last week we were two months into him.
Oh, I knew it. "Vindicated," I said, and Angie said, "No, you mean vindictive."
Imagine. His sad little criminal eyes, darting, darting, darting as he's questioned. Windows into the soul.
As Angie poured me a drink I asked how long she thought we had. "Months," she said, "at least."
She lay down next to me, gazing out into the street, explaining how she made the call.