Jul 20, 2012

The lodger who came knocking

I had a sign outside my lodgings and expected that I would hear from people on the telephone. I was surprised therefore when a white man knocked on my door on Wednesday afternoon and asked if he could see the room I was renting out. The first thing I noticed about him was that he had two heavy bags and a strange cap on his head. For a moment I recalled Pierce Brosnan in the movie The Panama Tailor, where the landlord rented a room to a stranger and he turned out to be an escaped convict the police were looking for. I was skeptical but asked him to come in. A young child had gone missing in the area and the police were out searching the area. Still, I did not think anything would happen although he gave me the creeps.

He looked at the room, put down his bags and said he would take it. I asked him how he knew about the room for rent as I had not left my telephone number. He said that he had walked down the street and seen a sign. He wanted the room immediately. It seemed unusual to me but he had the money and I needed to pay my doctor’s account. The money would see me through until the next pension date. “Will you be staying long?” I asked, hoping he did not see the tremor in my hand. He said he would take the room for a month and pay me right away. He thanked me and added that he wanted no one to go into the room as he was busy with an urgent assignment.

I sat up all night in bed. I heard creaking in the hallway and wondered why I had rented the room to him especially as I had responses from two girls who were looking to share a room. Some time deep into the night I heard him walking down the stairs and looked out the window. He now had two heavy black plastic bags in each hand which he put in the dumpster. The next afternoon the police knocked on my door asking questions in the area. I listened and said I did not see anything. “Are you sure, madam? He was seen in this neighborhood yesterday afternoon. He had on a hat and was carrying something heavy.”