The lawyer and the landlord

Stepping into the shower, I noticed a big blop of red on the floor of the bathroom, fresh and glistening, directly in front of the toilet. Once or twice a year I might get a random bloody nose, but my nose was dry, so what's with the blood?

Ah, jeez. I knew Terry had showered very recently, because everything in the bathroom was wet and Pike was still asleep.

Being a man unencumbered by any love life, menstruation is a topic I never think about, and I wish I wasn't thinking about it now. I have shared houses with women, from my mother and sisters when I was a kid to Maggie a few years ago, and never before found menstrual leakage. This tends to reinforce what I've already concluded, that Pike's girlfriend is not Ginger Rogers.

♦ ♦ ♦

There were fireworks at work today, let me tell you. First, some proper nouns, so you'll know who's who and what's what:

Unusualia is the second-hand shop where I work. It's on the second floor of a three-story building on Market Street, and there's a patio overlooking the sidewalk. Under us, on the first floor, is Geraldine's, a competing second-hand shop. Above us, on the third floor, is a lawyer's office. None of these businesses own the building; they're all tenants, renting.

A week or so ago, LeeAnn & Stevi began putting merchandise on their porch while the shop is open — a rocking chair, some matching barstools, Beatles posters, etc. It helps announce to people on the street that there's something to see, upstairs.

Today's drama begins: The lawyer on the third floor has complained to the landlord that having stuff on the second-floor porch looks tacky. He's wants the merch removed.

The landlord and the lawyer came by today, together, telling Stevi to take the shop's merchandise off the porch. Stevi is a big bull dyke who backs down to no-one, and she thinks renting the second floor includes the porch, so some serious screaming ensued. She yelled at the landlord, he yelled at her, and eventually he stormed off in a fury after ordering her again, like he's her father or a cop or something, to take everything off the porch.

I was out on the sidewalk during all this, wearing the cape and inviting people to come up to the shop, while everyone was yelling, which maybe made the invitation seem less than inviting. 

After the landlord stomped away, Stevi decided to bring the merchandise in from the porch. More about that later.

During the argument, though, Geraldine was standing in the doorway of her first-floor shop, listening to every loud word from upstairs, and smiling. She hates LeeAnn & Stevi, and she doesn't like me, either. She thinks having some bozo in an outlandish costume handing out flyers lessens the prestige of her second-hand shop, I guess.

After the big showdown, Geraldine walked into the clothing shop next door for several minutes, and then into the record shop above the clothiers, and finally, her third stop, was up our building's stairs and into the lawyer's office. Guess we're the talk of the town, and maybe Geraldine is rallying the townsfolk against Stevi & LeeAnn?

A little later, the lawyer stood on his steps and clicked two Polaroids of me in my cape. Obviously, the photos are evidence of something, so I didn't flip him off, but I also didn't smile. Will the landlord come back tomorrow, demanding that I stop wearing the crazy cape and cap? Fine by me; I'll hand out the shop's flyers naked.

My opinion? 

First, LeeAnn & Stevi are nice people, easy to like, and they don't deserve any of this. In two months working for them, I don't have any complaints.

As for the porch, they've brought out only their best merchandise, and the display has never been 'tacky'. The lawyer upstairs wants to pretend there's not a second-hand shop — two of them, actually — under his floorboards?

And tacky or not, it's LeeAnn & Stevi's porch — part of the square footage they're renting, and part of the shop. Neither the lawyer nor his clients use it; the stairs leading to the third floor are beside the porch, with a view of the porch, but they have no access.

As ordered, Stevi brought the merchandise into the shop, so the porch is empty again, but she says she's going to call her lawyer. I don't see how the landlord can stop them from putting merchandise on the porch, unless it's prohibited by the lease.

After the landlord left, the ladies were in a grumpy mood. LeeAnn mentioned that business has been terrible, and that they actually had zero sales all day, one of the days I wasn't on the sidewalk handing out flyers. 

On the way home, I tacked up a few more of my "I'll do anything" posters, because now I'm skeptical that the shop will be around much longer.

♦ ♦ ♦

A 12-year-old Hispanic girl from the Mission was kidnapped several weeks ago. I found out about this, by reading a photocopied "Have you seen this girl?" poster her family had taped to a telephone pole. 

I read the newspaper six days a week and sometimes on Sundays, so you might think I'd already know about this crime in my community, but nope, it was news to me.

When a 12-year-old suburban white girl was kidnapped a while back, Polly Klaas, it was in the headlines the next morning and every day, until her mangled body was eventually found.

Two kids are kidnapped, but only one of them makes the news. You don't suppose the color of their skin had anything to do with the coverage or lack of coverage, do you?

♦ ♦ ♦

Tonight I read two newspapers, and didn't find a word about yesterday's Muni malfunction. Same as a kidnapping, I would've thought thousands of stranded commuters was newsworthy, but nope. Guess reporters don't take public transit.

From Pathetic Life #12
Thursday, May 4, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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