End of January troubles

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.

That’s a Wrap


An exhausted looking woman shuffled her feet into the post office.

Everything about the woman was tired; an oversized winter coat hung limply from her frame, her hair was dull and lifeless, and deep bags drooped from her eyes.

Yawning, she pushed a small package across the counter to the clerk.

“Regular delivery, please.”

“Sure thing, Mrs. Williams,” the clerk responded.

Taking the package from her, the clerk asked, “Are you ok today, Mrs. Williams?  You don’t look too good.”

He turned from his patron to the computer in front of him, and weighed the small package.  The scale beeped, he typed something into the computer, and printed out a ticket.

The woman’s eyes dropped shut and her chin dropped to her chest, as she leaned against the counter.

The clerk pursed his lips in concern when he glanced at the woman.

Clearing his throat, the clerk said, “Ahem, Mrs. Anderson,” as he pasted the white sticker onto the package.

Her head jerked up, “Oh, sorry about that.  I haven’t been sleeping very well lately.  I’m dealing with a spider infestation.”

She leaned over the counter and whispered, “They web me in at night.  I’ve had 4 exterminators come and no one can take care of the problem.  Where ever I sleep at night, they find me and wrap me up so tight I can’t move.”

Shuddering, she confided quietly in the clerk, “I can feel their cobwebs now.”

The clerk’s eyes grew round in disbelief and confusion.

“Now, what do I owe you, young man?” the woman asked as she slowly blinked and opened her purse.

Quick, its urgent.


Hanging up the phone, the woman grabbed her keys and headed back down the stairs and through the doors.

The voicemail was urgent and said to come quick.  They had been there again and this time she was left without power and freezing cold.

Assuming the heat had been accidentally shut off or a bill was unpaid, the woman left to investigate.  Twenty minutes later, she arrived and let herself in through a side door.

“Marg, it’s me,” she said and stomped the snow from her boots onto the rug.

“Oh honey, I’m so glad you’re here.  They’ve been here again, the little green men,” the woman said gravely.

Feeling her way along the wall towards the sound of the voice, an old woman in dark glasses slowly padded forward in a pair of dirty slippers and wrapped in a threadbare bathrobe.

“Marg,” the woman asked, taking off her gloves, “how do you know they’re green?  And how do you know they’ve been here?”

Scanning the apartment, the woman flipped a light switch, flooding the room with light.  No men, and certainly no green men, were present.

“I just know it, that’s how.  They hide behind the stove and the fridge so I can’t get them.  See, they know I’m blind.”

“Marg, you said they took the electricity, what happened?”

“They took it, just like they always do.  They’ve been stealing it from me, little bits at a time.  Those little green men are mean men. They are bad and mean men,” the old woman declared.

“How did you get the heat back on if they took the electricity?” the visitor asked, her face twisted with concern.

Calmly, the old woman explained, “It wasn’t me.  They knew that you would come and turned it back on.”

“Do you see how they torment me?  Come on, let’s sit down and I’ll tell you all about them,” the old woman suggested and patted the back of a lumpy looking brown couch.

“Marg, did you take your medication today?” her visitor inquired.

“What medication?  I don’t have a health problem; I have a little green man problem.”