There was a sharp nock at the door and a gruff voice, “Hey, you in there.” It was my landlord Pat, an ex-cop who just liked to show up when you were sleeping or busy. He wasn’t that bad. Pat was hard nosed but amicable. In fact, if you ever got him going he wouldn’t miss the opportunity to tell you a story or two. His favourite was how he foiled an armoured car robbery when his partner spilled his coffee in his lap. He thought he’d get to a Laundromat and make short with washing only to see two guys wearing the wrong kind of clothing in summer heat get out of a parked car right behind the truck. He didn’t have the time to change and ended up all over the news with a big wet spot in his crotch.
Must have been a stressful career, married twice and no kids, he was left to count his days in the labor of a landlord except for the occasional fishing trip with the ‘old boys.’ He kept his boat in a lockup ready for action and was always talking about taking it out. “Soon,” he would say, “I’m gonna take my girl down south and not come back, you’ll see.” Thing is, if he ever sold the building he owned he could do it twice over but I think he liked living vicariously through his tenants. If there was one thing, you always felt safe in the building knowing Pat was around.
“Your late with rent,” he said as I opened the door to him. There he was in his undershirt again looking like he’d just woke up from an afternoon nap. I couldn’t fault the guy because it was the second weekend of May already and I was a little lazy when it came down to it. He stood in the doorway as I wrote a cheque; Sasha having taken new interest in the visitor to benefit from Pat’s scratching her forehead.
“Hey, you know any good TV repair shops,” he asked. “Mine is going and I got to take it in.”
“Not too many of those around these days. “ I replied. “Why don’t you just put it to the curb like everyone else?”
“That’s the problem with you kids. You don’t know the value of what you’ve got,” Pat stated.