Saturday, September 25, 2010

...more crazy Miz M

M was bugging me again with one of her bouts of incessant phone calls.  Coming into the office, I’d have literally 30 messages to play back every morning, plus she’d phone me while I was there.  I was desperate and unable to get any work done.  I finally threatened that if she called me again I’d have her evicted.  A few days passed in relative peace. 

But then I got a call from a local taxi company.  They found my keys, and would I come and pick them up?  They knew the keys were mine because they were on a key ring with my name and phone number on it.  Now, I would never have my name and number on a key ring, especially with the master key to over 100 apartments. I was stumped. But curious.

Going into the taxi office was like stepping into a Damon Runyon novel.  I thought I’d shut their door and time-traveled into the ‘40s. It took a few minutes for my eyes and mind to adjust.  The dispatcher sat with her straw-like bleached blond hair piled up in front of her head, a cigarette dangling out of one side of her wrinkled face.  It was kind of like Betty Grable meets Miss Havisham. The room was blue with smoke. Talking out of the side of her mouth that wasn’t keeping the cigarette from burning the pile of papers on her old wooden desk, and in between dispatching cabs, she said that they found the keys in a cab, and she thought “some black guys” had stolen them from me and were going to use them to break into my house.

Only problems with that theory was
1.            There was no address on those keys, so they would’ve had to either phone me for directions (Hellooooo.  I’m some random black guy who needs your address so I can use the keys I stole from you to break into your house.  Pardon me?  You don’t remember when we shared a cab? Well, before I trouble you any further, do you have something worth breaking in for?)
2.            Or he could randomly wander the streets of Hudson, stealthily going house to house, trying to look inconspicuous until he finds the magic lock that opens my door.  Before the neighbors call the cops.  And, the third problem with that theory was (drumroll, please)…
3.            I recognized the writing. They were actually M’s keys, but she cleverly put my name and number on them in case of such a mishap.  So I didn’t comment on the moll’s theory, thanked her, and coughed my way out of the office. 

But now I’m thinking.  M doesn’t have family nearby.  So if she can’t get into her apartment, and she’s afraid to call me because I threatened to evict her, where is she?

As I’m pondering this, I get another phone call.  This time it’s the customer service desk at Shop Rite.  It seems they’ve found my cane.  They know it’s mine because it has my name and phone number on it. Would I come and pick it up? By now I’m wondering:  what next?  Is someone going to find my teeth? Cleverly inscribed with my name and phone number?

Now I’m really worried.  Where the heck is M, limping around and locked out, maybe even without her teeth that haven’t been found yet?  Sleeping on park benches?  Dragging her bad leg along the soup kitchen line?  (Sorry, only soft food for me today, please.  Seems I can't locate my teeth right now.  Oh, no, not to worry.  I'm sure they'll turn up soon.) 

The tables are turned, and now I’m the one acting like a crazy person, making frantic phone calls. I'm repeatedly calling the hospital, the neighbors, leaving her many, many phone messages. No luck. 

But at some point over the next few days, M calmly shows up at my office and picks up her keys and her cane.  I never asked, and she never told me, where she spent those lost days.

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