AS IT TURNS OUT, my less-than-ideal tenant tossed me a final aggravation by forcing me to climb out of bed on this very rainy morning and meet up with the constable, even though I was all but certain there wasn't any need for this rendezvous because she'd be gone. I was so sure of her absence at this gathering that I called and invited the locksmith to join us in her stead.
It was too late to call off the constable, anyway, and I wasn't absolutely, without-a-doubt, one-hundred percent sure she'd be all-done-and-out-of-there; but here's how I got the strong notion that she wasn't going to meet me at the door this morning with a wad of cash:
Yesterday afternoon the downstairs tenant gave me a call. "Just to let you know," he said, "there's a U-haul backed up to my upstairs neighbors' door. It sure looks like they're finally leaving!"
He sounded ecstatic.
Then he added. "Oh, and it also looks like they're holding up the guys that are trying to re-surface the parking lot."
"I'll be right over!" were my words.
And, Dear Reader, things were just as he'd conveyed them. When I got there, my less-than- ideal tenant and her boyfriend who does not live there but visits all day and spends every night were loading up a U-haul.
And sure enough, the guys who were waiting to put a top coat on that section of the parking lot were twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the U-haul to move on out.
First thing I did--I talked to my less-than-ideal tenant, after she came onto her porch with an armload of furnishings. "I'm very sorry," I said, and she studiously ignored me. "This is not the way things should have gone."
"Where do you think we should put the TV?" She asked her boyfriend, just as though I were the box spring and mattress already loaded in the U-haul. Or perhaps one of the tires on the truck. Maybe just not there at all.
On her next trip out, I suggested the possibility she'd like to make a contribution toward all that past-due rent. There was no response. Our one-sided conversation seemed to be going the way of the dinosaur.
I strolled over to talk to the idle parking-lot pavers, and these two young men seemed perfectly amenable to chatting--the part-Italian one with the German mother-in-law to whom he'd just as soon not live next-door, and the one with the Amish great-grandfather. Oh, there were lots of interesting orts of information I gleaned; we had plenty of time for our discussion of this and that.
But finally the U-haul was loaded, and suddenly it was pulling out of the parking lot. I'd been told that it would not be returning. Hmm...perhaps I would not be seeing my less-than-ideal tenant ever again, likewise. Thinking fast I said, "Ooops. Gotta go!" ending our chat, and dashed for my car.
I had no wish for a 'Gone-left-no-forwarding-address' farewell, so I steered my car out of the parking lot and fell into line right behind the U-haul.
Playing gumshoe for oneself, if one has no experience, can be a tricky ordeal, I discovered--What'll I do if the light turns yellow and they just squeek through? What if cars get between us and I can't catch up?
And then it got more than a little unnerving. After six or eight miles, the U-haul pulled off the road and into an empty parking lot. Hmm....I knew I had to make a quick decision; but, what kind of private investigator would drop the case now, Reader Dear? I pulled in behind.
Both of them exited the truck, the boyfriend quirking his eyebrows and scowling, the irate tenant marching toward my car, wagging her finger at me and voicing a strong opinion. I didn't get out of my car, but I opened my window.
"Unh-uh! You can't do that!" she directed me loudly. "No, sir! You are NOT allowed! You can't follow me!" She stated it several other ways, in addition, but basically that's all there was to it--I was not allowed!
(Dear me. You know how I hate to keep you in suspense, Reader Dear,
but perhaps I should ask my irate tenant if I'm allowed to
tell you more....