the landlady stood
execrating and final,
sending me to hell,
waving her fat, sweaty arms
and screaming
screaming for rent
because the world had failed us
        Charles Bukowski


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.