Prompt: Arguing with a landlord


The duplex was going to be marvelous, Janet was sure. The baby would be here in a few weeks and there was just no way she and Bob and their baby daughter could all live in that one bedroom apartment.

So what if the new place was at the back of a lot in a less-than-fashionable part of town? It had two bedrooms and a big living room where Cynthia Anne Cardiff could wiggle in her playpen while Janet worked at the computer right there beside her.

Bob had spent days looking for a place, leaving Janet at home to rest.

“Doctor’s orders,” he told her. Janet sighed, but stayed meekly at the apartment, feet up, while he searched for the perfect place, or as perfect as they could get and still stay on their budget. Finally he’d come back on a Saturday afternoon declaring that he’d come across a great deal. Everything was wonderful except the landlord.

“He’s kind of a grouch,” Bob said. “You’ll be able to handle him, though. You get along with everybody. Actually, we’ve already agreed on almost everything. I told him you have to see it and approve, but I know you’re going to love it.”

Janet could hardly wait to make the short trip to check it out. It was almost as if it had been designed for them. Janet could already see herself carrying the blanket-wrapped new baby into a home that would be really theirs—for the sum of 1600 dollars a month.

“It’s great!” she told Bob. “The only problem I see is that old stove. Are you sure it works?”

Bob looked at her, obviously uncomfortable.

“You know I told you the landlord was kind of a grouch? Well, the stove is mainly what he’s grouchy about. I asked if he’d replace it, and he said there’s nothing wrong with it except it’s a little old. It was his mother’s. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere with him about that.”

Looking around with determination in her face, Janet asked, “Where is he? I’ll just have a little talk with him.”

The landlord, Mr. Crump, had left them alone to discuss the place before signing the lease. Now Janet, feeling firmly in the right,