Another Life – Chapter 12

Uncle Ray was really considerate. He and his girlfriend Karen offered me a place to stay. I truly appreciated their generosity. Their apartment wasn’t big enough for three, but they put me up while I looked for a place.

Real estate prices were nothing like they are now – but neither were wages. The problem was simple: I couldn’t afford a one-bedroom anywhere near the garage. But I didn’t want to give up the best job I’d ever had.

I was really surprised when my cousin’s girlfriend called me.

– “Hey dickweed.” she said.

– “Laurie?”

– “The one and only.” she said. “Listen, I heard through the grapevine that you’re looking for new digs.”

– “Wow.” I said. “Word travels fast.”

– “So it’s true?” said Laurie. “Hey – Ron and I are at the Lion.” That was a pub, not too far from the garage where I worked. “Can you meet us there? Like, now?”

I rode my bike, wondering if Laurie really did have a solution to my problem. She and Ron were already there. I’d always liked the Lion. It was typical English pub: dark wood, a great selection of beers on tap, dartboards, and a collection of eccentric regulars.

– “Good timing.” said Ron. We were about to go have a look.”

– “A look? At what?”

– “At the apartment we’re thinking of renting.” said Laurie. “Ronnie and me, plus Rose – but it’s a four-bedroom. Split the rent four ways instead of three, and it’s a bargain.”

– “You’re kidding me.” I said. I had met Laurie’s friend: Rose was a big girl, but nice. If this was possible, it could solve my immediate problem.

I didn’t even order a pint. Ronnie and Laurie drained theirs, and we walked around the corner – two blocks away.

It was a massive old house – the ground floor was now a lawyer’s office. The second floor was for rent. There was a door on the side, which led to a set of stairs, completely separate from the first-floor office.

The landlord was waiting, and took us in. The house was old, but it did have some character. The stairs led into a good-sized kitchen, with a sloping ceiling. There were two bedrooms at the back of the house, with a small bathroom between them.

The main bathroom was on the other side of the kitchen, opposite another bedroom. The last bedroom was a bit bigger, and there was a living room, with a small balcony, overlooking the street.

I had never looked at a place with a mind to renting it before, but Laurie was no fool. She quizzed the landlord about utilities, noise during the day, parking, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

The landlord informed us that no pets were allowed.

– “He’s not a pet.” said Ronnie. “He’s my cousin.”

I was more concerned about how clean it was, and the water pressure in the shower (excellent). On top of that, I was trying to picture how four people could live together, without driving each other nuts.

Ronnie asked the most important question. “How much?”

The price was ridiculous – for one person. Split four ways, it was incredibly cheap. We excused ourselves, and went to talk it over.

– “Whaddya think, Joe?” said Laurie. “Could you handle living with us? And Rose?”

– “Could you guys live with me?”

I was already sold. It was two blocks from the Lion, and exactly six blocks, in the opposite direction, from Uncle Ray’s garage. I had to get out of my house – and here was a heaven-sent solution.

“Thank you, Laurie. Thanks, Ron. This looks great. Count me in.”

 

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Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

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