…As she stood there, like an aged anorexic, she wielded a butcher knife in her right hand. Up and down it went as she eyed us both with suspicion then queried us as to our business there.
“Hello Ma’m” we said, I said. “My name is John Morrison and this here is Timmy Saunders. We were sent here by the city as they told us that we could get accommodations here. We just arrived from out of town and are looking for a place to stay.”
“Okay boys” she said. “Come in, come in”
We followed her in. She sat us down in the drawing room, looked us over for a minute or two, then smiled and told us we could stay. Price? 50 bucks a month, room and board. And that was it.
Room and board, 50 bucks each a month? Holy shit, no shit. Yes, yes we said.
“You do know the city will pay the first month for us?” I added.
“Yes, yes I know” she said. “Don’t worry boys. It’s all in hand. They just called me before you called here. Your room will be in the basement. But you’ll have to share a room, and bed. Don’t worry; it’s a big, big bed. And no hanky panky”
Innocent though that we were, this was still a strange thing for both of us. As it turned out it was not a problem. We were not that insecure in the least.
“One bathroom, on the top floor”
“How many people live here I asked?”
“Lets see,” she said. “Dear me. There’s Robert, yes Robert…a very long time resident here that Robert. Then there’s Scotty. Poor old Scotty. Scotty is kind of crazy in the head but don’t you worry at all because he is harmless…poor Scotty,” she moaned.
“Oh and there is Mr Johnston…ninety one years old now Mr Johnston. But not sure how long he will be with us in this world. Could go at any time y’know” she laughed, looking at us and wielding that knife.
I looked at her accusingly, suspiciously, and frighteningly at the butcher knife that she still held.
“Then there’s you two, and me. Just me. My husband died some years ago. This old house is all I’ve got. I sleep on the couch in the drawing room. Yes, yes, and Robert has one of the front rooms, to the left on the second floor; Mr Johnston has the other front room to the right and Scotty lives in the back room, also on the second floor. Nobody is in the attic. Not yet anyway.”
Okay boys. Yer room is down the stairs there. Supper’s at 530. I pack a lunch for you both. Breakfast at 7am. Will see you then.
That was it…