Slumlord Hero

Posted: August 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

November 10th, 2010

Things you need to know, in no particular order:

It was 1984.

I was 18.

I lived with my oldest sister, Molly.

The two girls who moved into the top floor of our building had never thrown a party before.

I was new to Cincinnati, having migrated from Western New York to attend Xavier Jesuit

University.

I had a desperate crush on my best friend, Bob, from our all-boys high school back home.

He didn’t know.

Neither did anybody else.

☺☻☺

Our landlord lived in the apartment next to ours.

Our landlord was friendly in a way that made you wonder if he had ever sold used cars.

Our landlord’s name was ‘Larry.’

He reminded me of Larry Tate from Bewitched, in name, looks, and personality.

Larry’s wife was Ann, a gentle woman who smiled at us each morning as she left for a professional office job.

Larry stayed at home to landlord.

Molly and I tried to figure out how Larry ever managed to entice somebody as sweet and (apparently) saavy as Ann.

We failed.

☺☻☺

Our apartment had a glamour that only turn-of-the-century apartment high rises can provide.

The two of us shared three bedrooms, two living rooms, a kitchen and bath.

Most of the rooms had grand, marble-mantled fireplaces and soaring, twelve-foot ceilings.

The apartment was affordable because of the neighborhood.

People who looked like they might earn most of their income from drug deals hung around our front steps.

A sign ‘PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK’ hung over the back steps.

We lived on the fourth floor.

The elevator didn’t work.

When we asked Larry about this, he laughed and said, ‘Oh, it’s an old dog like me, haha!’

I made frequent trips down the four flights to see if any letters from Bob had arrived in our gold-gilded mailbox.

It was a long walk back up.

☺☻☺

As I mentioned, two girls moved onto the sixth floor.

They were college-age like me.

One looked like Mary Lou Retton; the other, Blair from The Facts of Life.

I helped them carry their stuff up.

☺☻☺

Larry wouldn’t fire up the building’s boiler until well into October.

Molly and I were chilly.

‘Ann and I like it crisp – haha!’ he said cheerfully, when we asked for heat.

☺☻☺

The whole building was invited to the sixth-floor apartment-warming.

Molly had to work, so I went alone.

Forty people with beer cups crowded around a keg.

The spacious apartment did not feel crowded.

There were lots of nice-looking guys my age.

Larry was there.

Hostess #1 made a point to introduce me to her single girlfriend.

I started drinking right away.

On my fourth trip to the keg, I overheard Hostess #2 telling a story to several All-American college guys.

And Larry.

In fact, they were talking about Larry.

I joined them.

It seems, earlier in the evening, one of the hostesses’ guests had poured a beer out of the sixth-floor window.

It landed on one of the Potential-Drug-Dealers’ heads.

Despite the six-floor climb, he showed up almost immediately and banged on the door.

He screamed at Hostess #2, who answered.

Larry intervened, beer in hand, and diffused the situation.

‘Here,’ he said, putting his arm around the P-D-D and leading him to the keg, ‘one for your head and one for your belly – haha!’

I groaned, sensing where this was heading.

Hadn’t the girls figured Larry out yet?

Didn’t his clammy handshake tell it all?

Wasn’t the broken elevator the first of many clues?

‘Larry is our hero,’ Hostess #2 added.

I burst out laughing.

Which garnered her attention.

‘I don’t understand why you’re laughing,’ she said.

‘I was really scared,’ she said more loudly.

‘I think you’re an asshole,’ she said even more loudly.

I slunk away, reaching exponential levels of longing for Bob and home and high school and all the people who didn’t think I was an asshole, as I returned to conversation with Hostess #1’s single girlfriend.

Larry continued to baste in praise from the keg crowd.

                        

For fun, I post my stuff at www.GregoryGerard.net.
For serious, I post my stuff at
www.JupitersShadow.com.
I invite you to visit my stuff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s