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Neighbors Little Bit Loud — Moving into the Pepto Palace

landlord letter
Landlord letter to
Pete and Ray

The Sauce-mobile revved across town, and we glided into the Lower Haight district. We were meeting the landlord, a woman named Nancy Lee, at the apartment. We found Steiner Street rather easily and then slowly scanned the addresses on a series of handsome Victorian homes. “Wow!” I pondered, “How great would it be to move into one of those classic San Francisco homes?” However, the numbers kept ascending until the address we were looking for - number 237 - finally came into view on the facade of an imponderably ugly boxy hovel immediately adjacent to one of the Victorians. 237 Steiner Street. The building was painted in a discolored chalky pink, the color of Pepto-Bismol. Which, frankly, sounded good right about then, as the hangover eel turned over a few more times in my stomach. I guess when you are considering moving into a place that looks like a giant box of Pepto-Bismol, you should be prepared for some sick shit.

A diminutive middle-aged Asian woman came running out of the gated entrance and greeted us. “Mitchell? Eddie?” We nodded. My head was pounding hard. I went to speak but my mouth was so dry, that the words came out muted and half-strangled: “Hmm. . .glaob miggrun.” Flashing back to the face in the Goddess mirror, I thought to myself: I would never rent to a prospective tenant sumbitch that looked as devastated as I do this morning. Nancy was really wiry and spoke in stilted English, but with machine gun velocity. She seemed unusually nervous and sped up like someone who breakfasted on diet pills and Pepsi. We walked through the heavy iron security gate that acted as a front door, and Nancy Lee led us down the long cement walkway at the base of the building and up the back stairs. (Later, I realized that she did this deliberately so that we would avoid the human skull staring out meancingly from the window of Apt. 3.)

Mitchell and I stumbled into the place and took a quick look around. Two bedrooms -- okay. Little kitchen - okay. Decent-sized living room - Fine. Bathroom - Great. There were bars on all the windows (even though the place was on the second floor). That made me almost think for a second, but thinking hurt too much. While we did the brief walk-through, Nancy was racing around behind us, jabbing her finger in pointing motions and barking out what she must have thought were selling points: “Clean carpet!”

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