Our landlady was called Stephanie (pronounced 'Stef-an-yah') of Italian descent and quite barmy. I'm not talking eccentric or weird: I'm talking certifiably nuts. Mike suspects she is schizophrenic because of the many and varied attitudes she had towards us over the months - I thought she was a "type cast" character of the old, paranoid Italian woman who jealously guards all their belongings. What swung it for me however was when I finally started talking to her, or let her talk at me, for 45 minutes. After enduring her completely paranoid ramblings, idiotic ideas and suspicions of what we were up to (A brothel and drug dealing were mentioned) I completely agreed with Mike. On the insane level she was at 11. Then I met her son.
Her son is one of those large Italian men who will be sitting outside cafe when their sixty years old drinking espresso and complaining about the local politicians. That is twenty years from now and he has to get through the years without assaulting anyone and going back into hospital - one of those special hospitals where they put the dangerous people. He was a scary man. Dark, sunken eyes that peered at you from under thick eyebrows as if you were some new form plant life. His bulk belied a small man and even though I'm six foot he seemed to loom over me. If 'looming with intent' was a crime they'd throw away the key on this guy. So when Stephanie screamed for her son when talking to Mike I knew things were going to go sour quicker than one of my salads.
This all started soon after I moved in. She wanted me to sign a lease - I didn't. I didn't even want to meet the woman, such were the horror stories I'd heard from Mike. So when she button holed me one freezing cold day on the porch and told me how Mike had thrown her down the stairs one day, as well as trashing the apartment I knew that this was not going to be one of those perfect landlady/tenant relationships. Now Mike is not the most levelled headed of guys and can get quite emotional at times, but I can't see him getting that worked up. Thankfully we never got to meet her son on any occasion where things could have gone pear shaped, things had already gone beyond vigilante violence on either part.
This was confirmed when the police called on us. Or should I specify the first time they called? Apparently we'd been making too much noise over the weekend and when Stephanie complained we'd threatened her. she choose the wrong weekend to make this claim though - Mike was doing double shifts at the restaurant and I'd just got back from Seattle which the police found very interesting. So they went and had a chat with her again and came back to us with:
"Is that woman mentally ill?" Direct quote.
So then we had notices to quit the apartment taped to the door, notices to repaint the entire apartment, notices to repair all the damage we'd caused and finally an eviction notice. All of this, understandably, got to Mike as he was the one responsible for the lease. When the police came back out for the, oh third or fourth time, we finally lost it and said we'd go to court. The policeman told her to stay away from us, not contact us and await her day in court when she could prove all these allegations and have us forcibly evicted. He then told us she was bat-fuck and we'd sail through court.
As an interested by-bystander I found this at times tragically sad, as Mike got more and more upset about having to leave what he now considered his home, and the continual confrontations, face to face and over the phone, with this lunatic of a woman. At other times, when I wasn't looking for a new place to live, I tripped over myself laughing at the farce the whole situation had become. As a script Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray could do wonders with this.
Court time. I heard a number of different versions of what actually happened - from Mike, from the court person on the phone and from Stephanie herself. The grist of the thing is that her and Mike appeared before a magistrate and laid out their versions of the story with evidence etc to back up their points of view. The judge was leaning towards Mike's point of view and trying to get a compromise accepted by Stephanie who was missing the whole subplot. Whoosh - right over her head. She finally agreed to a plan which would give us two months to leave and a bucket of other conditions in our favour and the when written up and presented with the this agreement to sign she suddenly realised that she couldn't keep our deposit, couldn't get us to re-decorate or do anything and once we were gone couldn't sue us for anything. Anything at all.
This realisation made her a tad upset and she had "an episode." Screamed at the judge, railed against the police system and called Mike all the names under the sun. In a court in which she was saying we were the ones who were vandalising her apartment, deliberately trashing the place and acting unreasonably. Loopy loo and Scooby doo. The judge called Mike over and asked exactly why he was so determined to live in her apartment? This left Mike smelling of roses and the plan left us scott free. Stephanie wasn't allowed to enter the apartment unless accompanied by the police and one of us - yet she owned the property and had a legal right to inspect given us notice. And we could just hang on for a few weeks and then sail away scott free.
Which we just did. Fifteen doors up the street. In a huge apartment,
with a sun deck, back yard and gas barbecue for less money. See notice
below, come and check it out for yourself. So the last two weeks were
interesting to say the least and I'm now finally getting settled into the
new place and am quite enjoying it, thank you very much. I still say Hi to
Stephanie on the street because you know, a smile and a wave don't cost
So I hope you can make it, if you can't and think someone else might like to go, get them to contact me and we can sort things out. Loads of crash space, excellent weather and a guided tour of the pubs of Bloor street on Friday night and lunch at Allen's (the Irish pub I work at) on Sunday for those keen. C'mon, it'll be a gas - you might even have some fun.
And now, you...
Lesley Reece "My dear
"Tommy-shaped object" (Andy, eh?), ((- As you may notice in the masthead
(Ms. Reece informs me it is NOT a
colophon -)) Oh, great. Thanks a lot buddy, I'm sure the lynch mob is storming down
the road at this very moment, waving torches of burning twiltone...I got a laugh out of this actually, it's just that when I very first began writing for APAK Victor and I had a couple of discussions about masthead v. colophon. I looked both words up in the dictionary, and I was right (a colophon's at the end of a book and contains information about how it was designed, like what typeface and all that). But he told me everyone in
fandom called them colophons, and they always had called them colophons, so I'd better call them colophons too or nobody would know what I meant. Which is why I said I didn't want to take on the whole of fandom over one semantic quibble. But it's still a masthead. So there. ((- Er, okay. As we used to say back home: 'Don't take to heart, take it to bed with your teddy bear.' Well, I used to say it anyway. -))
Thanks for #13, which I've managed somehow to download on an unfamiliar
and recalcitrant system here at school. I'd read about the elections but
didn't realise what they meant to people before reading your piece --
another example of your writing going beyond the fannish and into the
realm of the readable. And tell your employers you'll have to go home
sometimes unless they bring you a computer to put next to that camp
bed...seriously...I should have a camp bed in this library, they've got computers already. Hmm, not a bad idea. ((- Yeah, I've started to cut down on the number of shifts I'm doing but in order to compensate they give me the good shifts, i.e. the closing shifts. so Friday it was 3am Saturday 4.30 and (because we had a couple of drinks) Sunday was 6.30am. As the barman said though: 'we made good coin.' Canadians, dont'cha just love 'em, eh? -))
From:firstname.lastname@example.org (Joe Siclari) I'm enjoying TommyWorld. Thanks for sending it to me. As you probably know, I have set up a Fan History site. We are uploading old fanzines on it as well as a lot of other material. In addition, I am asking fans who are doing e-zines if we can put there material on the site as well. This makes it accessible to people on demand basis and also lets us keep up with zines as they are done. We will also be putting some recent printed zines on the site as well. Several faneds are preparing material so that we can provide it as well as their printed version. I figure that we should keep up with our current history now instead of having to go back and recreate it later.
Co-ordinator, FANAC FanHistory Archive Project http://fanac.org
South Florida SF Society http://scifi.squawk.com/sfsfs.html
((- This sounds eminently sensual to me
and one of things that should go into the book labelled: "A Good idea".
Whale away with my stuff, feel free... -))
From: Margaret Bergquist "Glad to see that 'boat drinks' is still in the vocabulary. A wonderful saying. I for one liked TommyWorld 10, dream or reality or whatever people thought it was. Just thought it was interesting and well written. Hope all's well on that side of the pond and that spring will come eventually to the frozen north...... love, Margaret" ((- Boat Drinks - from a film called: "Things to do in Denver When You're Dead." which I can recommend with glee. Also "Chasing Amy" Kevin Smith's new movie (Clerks, Mallrats) is a wonderful slice of life and his new riff on the Star Wars movie is hilarious to boot. Thanks for the nice words, mail soon. -))
From: Mark McCann "Bye, bye Tories..." ((- Says it all folks.-))