The sun was beaming on the hot pavement below. Ladeeleroy was perched by her Hotrod 89 Honda Civic. Light blue. Crack in the windshield.
Eagerly she wrote on the hood of her car. Every chance she got, she looked up to get a glance of her opposition.
Couple. Skinny guy with a polo tucked into his jeans. Braided brown belt. She wore glasses and a tank top. They arrived in a Saturn station wagon. Aqua colored. Beaded seat cushions. Expired registration tag.
Cue: Tumble weed and dust.
The couple knew that they were not alone. Eagerly, they both wrote, leaning on the flat side of their musty station wagon. The sounds of their pens whipping trough the wind burned in Ladeeleroy's ears.
It was one of the longest rental applications Ladeeleroy had seen. It wanted to know everything. Weight. Height. If the applicant went to her Prom in 1995. Pet. Pet size. Mother's maiden name. Registered Voter. The requests on the application were endless.
Ladeeleroy's hand was starting to cramp. She blocked her brain from dwelling on the pain because she knew she had to fill this application out before the cute Saturn couple or else risk loosing it.
It was a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom cottage in Austin's Hyde Park neighborhood. $800 rent. Huge backyard. Gas cooking. CACH. Freedom to paint the inside walls. Ivy growing on the porch swing outside.
That's right. Porch swing. With ivy.
And Ladeeleroy wanted it. She wanted it bad. Why? Because she was sick of efficiency living. Because she deserved hardwood floors. Because her apartment complex told her that she couldn't have plants because they were a fire hazard. Because Lipman and she were moving in together and there was no way that they could continue to exist inside the present apartment's tiny walls. Because this 2/1 was perfect.
Except for the smell of wet dog inside the kitchen. And the large VW van parked in the backyard presently, along with the slanted living room floors and incredibly dirty kitchen.
It had potential. Potential to be absolutely perfect.
Ladeeleroy had arrived 15 minutes early to the property to meet the owner/landlord. She used every charming bone in her body that let him know that she was the Tenant of His Dreams. Any connection she could make- same college as his wife, Austin trivia facts, love for large black labs, knowledge of air conditioning services and hot water heater treatments- she made. Yes, there was a time when she actually pulled out the Look/Laugh.
Sly cock to the head. Eyes peer over sexy glasses. Lips turn into a seductive smirk. The right hand runs its long fingers through her unbridled short sassy hair while the left hand sits itself onto her lean frame- accentuating the Goodness Curve that leads to her long legs.
And then she laughs. A good, hearty laugh that makes the receipient of said laugh feel like he is the coolest guy in the world.
Ladeeleroy knew that she was in. All she had to do was fill out the application and hand over a deposit check. Then it would be hers.
And Lipman's, of course. That is, if Lipman decided to actually arrive on time to look at the property.
Ladeeleroy grew nervous. She knew that Lipman would be meeting her at 3:00, as that is when the appointment was set. But did he not know that you always arrive 10 minutes early? Birds and worms and timelyness and all that crap?
"So how do you decide who gets the property? Is it credit checks and all that," Ladeeleroy asked nervously as the clock ticked by and the Aqua Saturn of Cute Couple pulled up.
"No, I do it on a first-come, first-serve basis. Of course I do credit checks, but it usually happens that the first application and deposit check I get is the one that takes the property."
"Oh, I see.," Ladeeleroy replied as the couple descended from their car and approached the owner/landlord.
"We're your 3:15 appointment.," stated the skinny male. "Sorry, we're a little early."
"Fifteen minutes early," stated the Tank Top Temptress. Ladeeleroy smiled politely while her eyes burned holes in each of their Cute faces.
"Well why don't we go inside and take a look? Ladeeleroy here already took a gander and is waiting for her boyfriend to arrive. I'll be right back, Ms. Ladeeleroy.," replied the Owner/Landlord as he pointed out the porch swing and ivy to the cute couple.
When they went inside, Ladeeleroy dashed to her car and searched for a pen. She found a lip liner. A pencil. A quill. No pen. She ran to her trunk, popped it and began to dig in the back. There, she found a pen that must have been in there for the last three years. Old. Crusty. Warped from sitting in the hot trunk.
But it still wrote.
Madly, Ladeeleroy began to fill out each query. She would check her status on the application progress with the house progress.
She was ahead. There was no way that those bitches would be able to finish looking at the 2/1 and fill all of this information out in time. She would get it done. She would write the deposit check. She would make it all bette-
"Hello dawling." It was Lipman.
There was no time for cordial greetings. Ladeeleroy had to finish filling out this application.
"Hey sweets. Go take a look at the place. I need to fill this out and put a deposit down."
Lipman looked at her blankly.
"Well, don't you think that I should take a look at it first before we put a deposit down on it? I mean, I'm going to be living here too and don't want to sign anything until I'm cool with it."
Ladeeleroy stopped. Her pen stood perfectly still in the wind. The tumbleweed got caught on the bumper of her Hotrod 89 Honda Civic. He was right. He needed input into this decision as well. It's what couples do. It's what would be the right thing.
But why couldn't he just trust that this 2/1 was the perfect place for them? Why couldn't he just say, "Don't bother looking up, just WRITE WRITE WRITE!"
Because he didn't know. He hadn't seen the place. He had yet to finger the creeping ivy. Had yet to tickle the fauctes and knobs. Did not know the charm and potential that waited inside. He had to see it for himself.
Ladeeleroy understood completely. She folded up the application, pocketed her pen, and chewed on her lower lip, praying that the Cute Couple would notice the foundation damage and puke at the inhalation of the dog smell. Perhaps they would not be interested at all, pack themselves into their Saturn of Sin and drive away, guffawing at the poor bastards who would even think about renting such a horrendous wreck.
Lipman began to poke around the yard while they waited for the Owner/Landlord to emerge and give Lipman a tour. He sat on the porch swing and traced the natural edges of each ivy leaf. He commented on the vastness of the yard that accompanied the house.
Finally, the Owner/Landlord appeared. Ladeeleroy searched the Cute Couple's faces for any sort of hint of their intentions.
Completely blank. Totally and cutely completely blank.
They began to walk to their station wagon. Perhaps to leave?
"Shall we take tour number two?," the owner/landlord asked as he held the front door open for Ladeeleroy.
"Yes. Lets.," she replied with tense lips and a beating heart.
Lipman loved it just as much as she thought he would. He asked all the right questions. Made all the right discoveries. Turned on the Australian accent at the right moments and pulled it back when it was not needed.
"This place is perfect..," he whispered to Ladeeleroy. "Let's put a deposit down on it."
They both emerged from the back. As they rounded the corner, Ladeeleroy noticed the Cute Couple.
They were at the bottom of their applications. The skinny male was searching for something.. checkbook, perhaps?
Ladeeleroy had to act. "Fill out your application while I finish mine," she instructed her lover. "We've got to get ours in before they do."
And she wrote like the wind, not bothering to check boxes or ponder on the address of her last 5 employers, that didn't manner now, and, if they really wanted to know, they could call her and ask her about it. Finally, she reached the end. Emergency contact information. She stopped. Who to put down? Mom? Lipman? Princess or Wakey? This part always got her because she had to choose wisely. This would be the person that gets the call if her dead, rotting body is found twisted in the shower curtain.
Mom. She'd handle that kind of news the best.
Ladeeleroy signed her name, dated the application, and turned to walk towards the owner/landlord.
Skinny man was asking who to make the check out to.
She went back to the car, grabbed her checkbook, and beelined it straight back to the owner/landlord.
He looked at her, eyes wanting to tell her that he didn't want to take this guy's check... wanting to tell her that no one does the Look/Laugh like she did... wanting to take her in his Landlord arms and let her nest to her heart's desire. He spoke.
"Well, it'll just come down to credit check.," he said, as Ladeeleroy handed him her deposit check.
"May the best tenant winnnnnnnn...." the wind spoke.
And now Ladeeleroy sits by her phone. Waiting for the call that will tell her that all her efficiency horrors will soon be muted by the sounds of a porch swing brushing through ivy.
and she sits.... and she sits... and she sits...and..