Had I not listed the house on Opanuku Road on behalf of my landlords, my life would have been poorer. Because then I would never have met Keith and Don.
Now, I felt a bit sorry for Keith (note: although not to the extent that I wouldn’t slag him off on my blog). He was the interested applicant and had obviously made a real effort to put his best foot forward. He wore his best tracksuit, and had brought along a wing-man for the occasion.
“Come on in, lads,” sez I. “So, this is the garage-”
“AW WOW!” said Don, gazing in rapture at the garage. “This is a REALLY NICE GARAGE!”
I looked doubtfully at my garage, trying to see it through a fresh pair of eyes. I mean, I haven’t done much with the place – it’s more Andrew’s domain – and to be honest, it has an oil infestation and a build up of testosterone in the corners (although nothing a good water-blast wouldn’t fix).
“Um, ok. Well, if you would like to come upstairs-”
“Upstairs,” repeated Don, and sniggered suggestively. Mid-thirties, in case you have a mental image of a pair of thirteen year olds. “I have four kids,” he informed me. “No, I mean five. No! Four.”
“Oh, I can believe it,” I said. “Now, this is the guest bathroom . So, what can you say, really? It’s a bathroom-”
“AW WOW!” Don again. “This is a REALLY NICE BATHROOM!”
“Really?” I said, rather intrigued by this point. “I’ve never thought it was that flash to be honest. What is it about it that, er, grabs you?”
“It’s the toilet. You know the thing- the flat thing- on the top of the- the-”
“The cistern? The toilet seat-”
“YES! That’s it, the toilet seat. I really like the way it’s DOWN.”
“Ho-kay then,” I said, subtly steering them into the living room.
“This place is great,” said Keith, making his first real contribution to proceedings beyond turning up. “You know, if I lived here I would plant vegetables.”
“Where?” I said. “There’s no garden with the property-”
“Aw, you could just clear half an acre of bush . . . by the side of the house here.”
“Well, I think the neighbour might have some issues with that, since that’s his land.”
“I’d plant spotty dog. You know spotty dog?” I shook my head. “It’s this plant- like a bush- it’s got these leaves, which are green with pink spots, and they- the leaves- they look exactly like that dog, the one with the spots . . . what’s it called again?”
“Er, a dalmation?” I suggested.
“No. It’s a white dog with black spots. What’s it called? Think! Oh yes! A dalmation.”
Must have been my dodgy Irish accent.
“You know herbs?” Keith asked.
“Herbs . . .”
“I buy all my herbs from The Superb Herb Company.” This is a farm on Henderson Valley Road, but I wasn’t aware they sold cannabis. “It’s really cheap, because, like, you buy herbs- you know, in a little pot- in the supermarket, and it costs $7 or $15 for a pot of herbs!” He looked outraged. “But The Superb Herb Company- you get this pot of herbs and it’s, like, TOTALLY AWESOME, because they come wrapped IN CELLOPHANE!”
“That’s pretty cool, all right,” I said. I mean, that’s very least you can say about cellophane without coming across as ungenerous. “So, what is it that you do, Keith?”
That was all he said about his line of occupation, but he did reveal that he has a three year old son (I am frankly astonished a woman allowed herself to be impregnated by him) who lives with Keith’s nan, while Keith – assuming his application was successful – would move into Opanuku Road with his mum.
All this time, Don had manoeuvred to position himself in front of me, standing with his chin propped on one fist and rotating his arm infinitesimally so that I could catch an eyeful of his gold watch.
“You know, this house has LOADS OF SPACE,” he said. “Plenty of room for my GYM KIT.”
“Oh, would you be living here? With . . . Keith?” I asked.
“NO! I’m just saying. I have A LOT OF KIT,” he informed me. “I’m in training for THE BODYBUILDING CHAMPIONSHIPS.”
“Oh . . . really?”
“Yes. COULDN’T YOU TELL?” he said. He stopped just short of cracking out a front lat spread, instead contenting himself with a thrilling little wiggle of his pecs.
“Um, see, the thing is Don, generally I don’t go around looking at other men’s pecs, because the thing is: I’M MARRIED. See the bloke sitting on the stairs over there fingering a steak-knife? That’s called a husband.”
“HEY! You can LOOK-” Don held out his hands, as if warding off an attack, “but you CAN’T TOUCH.”
“I’m glad you clarified that, because I was about to lose all self-control and touch willy-nilly.” *CRINGE!*
As I showed them out, Keith – who had evidently been told the way to landlord’s heart is to tell them you’re in the market to buy – said, “By the way, will you tell the owners that I’d be interested in buying this house. Not right now. After six months or something.”
And bless him, I was looking at him thinking, ‘Dude, you can barely afford to buy a litre of milk and have enough change left over for your weekly ration of dope,’ but I said, “Sure.”
I regretted not endorsing a man whose definition of TOTALLY AWESOME was herbs wrapped in cellophane.
Realistically though, I wouldn’t rent the guy a trailer, never mind a house.