The man knocked on the door and yelled, “Maintenance.”
“Hang on, hang on, I’m coming,” a gruff voice said from inside of the apartment.
A large woman opened the door and narrowed her eyes in suspicion at the man. She held a grey cat in her arms and stroked its purring head. The cat stopped purring and glared at the man in suspicion, as well. The four eyes stared at the man in a moment of uncomfortable silence before the woman stepped out of the doorway and motioned for the man to enter.
Flustered, the man looked at his clipboard again, quickly trying to find the woman’s name.
“So the neighbors have been filling your apartment with meth gas?” the man asked as he scanned his paperwork and set a large black bag just inside of the door.
“Mrs. January, right?”
Her head bobbed up and down so vigorously the skin under her chin wobbled back and forth.
“So, that’s a yes,” he said with a smile.
Nice teeth, she thought, before continuing.
“And that’s not all,” the woman added.
Her confidence was quickly growing in the visitor. As a rule, she trusted people with nice teeth. He needs to know everything if he’s going to be able to help, she thought.
The man raised his eyebrows in question and nodded his head encouraging the woman to go on. He pulled a pen out of his coat pocket and poised it over the paper, ready to add to the existing list of complaints.
“They snuck in here and took my original birth certificate and I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave it to that woman who stays over there, so she can change her name.”
“And is that it?” the man asked as he made his notes.
“No, it’s not. They also took my heating pad and when I went over there last week, guess who had a heating pad?”
The man didn’t need to guess.
“Her,” she clarified, “you know, the one they gave my birth certificate to after they stole it from me.”
Nodding his head in understanding, “I see no reason to wait any longer to get started. Let’s sit at the table.”
She took his lead and seated herself at the table, with the blind trust that a sheep gives to its shepherd.
He unzipped the black bag and pulled out a machine with silver nobs and needle indicators. Setting it on the table, he flicked a switch on the back and the machine started to whir to life. From another section of the bag, he pulled out a handful of wires.
As he prepared the treatment, he turned to the woman and said, “Go ahead and take off your glasses. We’ll attach these to your temples and get you fixed right up.”
She stared at him with blue eyes of gratitude before removing her glasses. A tear splashed from the corner of one eye down her cheek.
“Thank you,” she said simply and closed her eyes.