Prompts for 2012-12-08:
1. Wait! Who is in…
2. Where am I?
3. I forgot it at my…
I woke up on Friday morning and realized it was that time of the month again. No, not that time of the month. I’m talking about the one that comes around nine times out of twelve, the one that finds the rent due and me with no money to pay it.
I’ve been living in this place for six years now, and me and the landlord have come to an understanding. I pay my rent on the 10th of the month or I’m on the street by noon of the eleventh. It took me a couple of months way back there at the beginning to agree to this arrangement, but when I came dragging home about midnight one tenth of December and found a “For Rent” sign taped to my window I decided that maybe I’d better think the whole thing over a little more carefully. Since that time I’d come close to eviction occasionally—all right, maybe ¾ of the time—but somehow I’d always managed to slip the envelope in Mr. Mulrooney’s mail slot before the witching hour.
So Friday I climbed out of my warm bed and waited for the coffee to reach that full, dark state that allows for rational thought to develop. An hour later, warmed inside and dressed in layers on the exterior, I started the monthly dredging for the landlord’s mite.
“Where am I?” I asked myself, hoping that the answer would be “Pretty darn close!”, but when all the pockets were emptied and the wallet stripped, the grand total on my kitchen table was still nearly two hundred bucks short.
I could call Mulrooney, of course, and throw myself on his mercy, but I’d tried that once before and only an emergency plea to my folks had saved me from homelessness.
“We’re doing this because we love you, Jimmy,” my dad told me on that occasion, “and because there’s no way in the world you’re moving back in with us.” I could understand that.
“Don’t worry, Dad. This is just a temporary setback. I had the money—it was in my briefcase—but I forgot it at…uh…”
“Never mind. Just go ahead and take this for your Christmas gift…from now on. I trust this won’t happen again. By the way, your mother says come to dinner on Wednesday if you want. I wouldn’t advise it—she’s making her sauerkraut casserole.”
Since then I’d been careful to manage my finances reasonably well, at least around the tenth of the month. But here I was again, trying to figure a way to keep bed and board intact.
I checked the clock. It wasn’t too early to call Jason. If I remembered right, he still owed me from last September when his girlfriend…well, he owed me. I just hoped he’d remember it that way.
He answered the phone after ten agonizingly long rings. Either he was really hung over or he had a pillow in his mouth.
This didn’t sound promising. I took a deep breath