You’ve heard the old saw “Truth is stranger than fiction?” Actually, being a landlord is stranger than fiction. You meet the weirdest people in the world when you start renting apartments. (Such as the blind nudist which I blogged about here.)
I once rented an apartment to a guy named Michael Myers. I know, I know, that should’ve been my red flag right there.
He checked out fine and he looked like a decent enough guy. I thought he would make an excellent tenant.
Famous last words.
MM had only been in apartment 4 for two days when I got a phone call from him. The conversation went like this:
MM: This is Michael in Number Four.
Layce: Hi Michael. What’s up?
MM: I know what you’re doing.
Layce: Excuse me?
MM: I know you broke into my apartment and stole my stuff.
Layce: Huh? What’re you talking about? Did somebody break into your apartment? Did they break the door? Did you call the police?
MM: The door is fine. So are the windows. That’s how I know it’s you who did it.
MM: You’re the only other person with a key.
Layce: Michael, I didn’t come into your apartment. Were things stolen?
MM: You took my feather. Don’t deny it.
MM: My lucky eagle feather. It was right by my bed on the nightstand and you took it. I’m calling the cops. I’m telling them you did it. I’m calling the better business bureau. I’m calling the FBI. No, wait, they already know. They bugged my ceiling fan this morning.
Layce: Michael, I need to ask you something.
Layce: Are you taking some kind of medication that maybe you forgot to take?
MM: How did you know that? Do you have this place bugged, too?
Layce: Michael, you need to –
MM: Nevermind, I found it.
Layce: Found it?
MM: My feather. It was on the floor under the bed.
He hung up. Two days later the phone rang.
MM: Quit watching me.
Layce: Who is this?
MM: Like you don’t know. I know you’re watching me while I’m on the toilet.
Layce: Is this Michael? Believe me, I’m not watching you on the toilet.
MM: And in the shower. You put all those cameras in the outlets. But I fooled you. I covered up all the outlets with electrical tape so you can’t watch me anymore.
Layce: Michael, did you take your pills yet?
He hung up.
I don’t hear from Michael again. But when the first of the month rolls around he doesn’t pay rent. I drive to his apartment and find the door wide open. I go inside. He’s vacated the place. He really did cover all the outlets with tape. He also crapped in every corner of the apartment. And in the tub. He ripped the doors off the fridge and the oven. And tore a huge hole in a wall. It cost me over a thousand dollars to repair all the damage.
You would think that would be the end of the story, but it’s not. A year later I was driving down the street when I saw him mowing the lawn at another rental house. I slowed my car and honked. He looked up. I pointed to my eyes and then him and then my eyes and then him—in that “I’m watching you gesture”— and drove on.
I drove around the block and came back by him, honking and doing the same thing again. His mouth fell open and he ran inside the house. I imagined him locking the front door and covering all the outlets with tape.
Now every time I drive by that rent house, I honk the horn. I don’t know if he’s still lives there, but it sure makes me feel better.
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