The Seedy Side of Life: Great Fodder for Stories

Mom always said I was too gullible, that I believed what people said because I trusted them to tell me the truth. She was right. I grew up around people pretty much like me. I didn’t meet habitual liars until much later in life, and they still take me by surprise.

One of my duties as a property manager is to rent apartments. I run background checks on everyone. When most tenants hear this, they nervously ask, “What are you looking for?”

I’ve gotten to the point where this immediately makes me suspicious. It’s not what I’m looking for, it’s what the check will reveal about your sordid little lives. 

A UD instantly causes concern. UD=Unlawful Detainer, i.e., this person stiffed another landlord of rent. My boss hates when this comes up, because then we have to dig deeper and determine 1) how long ago it was, and 2) what the circumstances were. People do make mistakes and we’re willing to forgive quite a lot to help them out.

We’ve rented to one person with a UD. We figured she was a fairly safe bet, as she had two kids and explained why that charge showed up. So far, she’s paid her rent every month and is a pleasant tenant.

More often, we decide against them because other charges show up, too: check kiting, not paying their utility bills, skipping out on credit card payments, etc. If there’s a history of this shit, we pass.

Last week, a nicely spoken, cleanly dressed man showed up, interested in a unit in the new building. Uh, I’ll remind you, this will be my building once I move in. He liked the rental, he was friendly, I didn’t get any bad vibes from him.

When the background check came up, he started telling me this long, rambling, somewhat outlandish story about how he ended up in prison in 1999. Cocaine was mentioned, and something about his brother’s daughter, “but you won’t find me on any sexual predator list.”

Now all my senses were screaming “loser” and wishing he’d go away, but you know how you’re taught people should be given a second chance? That you should be tolerant of others less fortunate than you? Yeah, it was like that. I didn’t come right out and say, “Fuck off, dickwad.” Instead, I told him we’d run the background check and I’d talk to my boss.

Boss and I decided we’d wait for the check to come back before making any decisions. But, despite knowing I needed $35 up front for that, he had no money on him so the check wasn’t done. I googled him and came up with nothing. I thought that was encouraging. I was an idiot.

We met a second time. He neglected to bring money again. I told him we didn’t run the check without payment while I’m starting to think something’s going on. Who forgets the money a second time, especially when you profess to really needing the apartment?

Third time, blizzard. I canceled. Fourth time, he canceled. Then it got really interesting.

His probation officer called.

Mom, you were so right about taking a giant step back when talking to strangers. Many of them are so full of shit, it turns their blue eyes brown.

He has a record going back to 1980: simple assault, criminal assault, theft, car jacking, and oh yeah, he’s a convicted level two sex offender, which is what he got put in prison for. I asked the PO how old the girl was (I knew she was female because he’d mentioned that in his rather twisted account). PO said, “Age of consent in MN is 16. Let’s just say she was far younger.”

That did it. I saw red. I may not enjoy being around kids much (they’re noisy and germ-ridden), but I’m right there if anyone fucks with them. They’re the only real innocence left in the world.

I remarked, “He said the lord saved him, he was walking the straight and narrow now.”

PO said, “Prison is full of believers, because they get sold this bill of goods that all you have to do is say you’re sorry and you’re forgiven.”

We had quite a conversation. I really enjoyed talking to the guy. Made me want to take him to dinner so I could pick his brains for a book.

The minute we hung up, the pervert started calling me. I was still digesting the revelations, so I let it go to voicemail.

Since then, he’s called a dozen times, left messages, and the one time I picked up, he didn’t say a word. Can we say loony tunes? I turned off the phone. I have to get some work done.

But I’m unsettled, yes I am. The building is full of young kids. No way would I let a sexual predator loose in there. He’s GONE. Someone else will have to give him that second chance.


Gaylist Book Reviews covered A Silence Kept. Reviewer Nina said: “This is a great paranormal novella.  The writing and editing are solid and the story is very engaging.  The ghostly aspect was well done with a strong creepy factor coupled with a sweetness and a sadness that was compelling.”

I particularly liked where she pointed out the writing and editing are solid. I work hard to release a quality product, and when someone notices, it makes me feel good. Click on the link to take you to the review and a buy link.


About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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12 Responses to The Seedy Side of Life: Great Fodder for Stories

  1. Nobody says:

    oh wow. makes u wanna take a looooooong shower. creepy …

    • The guy kept calling me last night, leaving messages. I had to turn off the phone for a while, he was so annoying. And I see he called again sometime this morning.

      Get a fucking clue. You’re a pervert. We don’t want you.

  2. Allison says:

    I am not good at seeing liars for who they are either. If I say something it’s because I mean it and believe it, I expect that from other people as well and am often surprised by how false other people can be. You think I’d learn but I guess I want to believe the best about people. Although thankfully I haven’t had to deal with someone like that, that goes beyond lying. It’s scary that he’s calling you like he is, that would freak me out.

    And yes, THANK YOU for the quality of your writing and editing! I just finished something (forced myself to finish it really) that clearly needed a strong editor and it destroyed what could have been a good story. I always know your work will be quality; it makes all the difference in the reading experience.

    • Thanks, Allison. That really means a lot to me. I take pride in what I publish (whether it’s self-pub or through a publisher). It’s important to me to write the best story I can. I am always seeking ways to improve, too. A writer can always get better.

      I don’t, however, expect every reader to like everything I write. A story may appeal to only some readers. I accept that. But I don’t ever want a reader saying, “Jeez, this person can’t write” or “Shit editing much?” That stuff gets in the way. A reader should only see the story.

      • Allison says:

        You are welcome.

        I think that’s a weakness of the self-publishing era. Not that I haven’t seen errors in big publisher books but the ability to put anything out there does lead to people who don’t care enough or don’t realize the help they need to create a quality book.

        “A reader should only see the story.” Yes, that, exactly!

        • Writers who take themselves seriously address these things. It’s part of putting out a book. Those who think their writing is golden right out of the box will fail and soon go away.

  3. W. Lotus says:

    I am always shocked when I catch someone in a bold-faced lie, too. It rarely occurs to me that someone would lie to me. I can see lies from a mile away when the person is lying to someone else, though. Strange.

    Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy dude is creepy. Not everyone deserves a second chance, and people who are still creepy are on that list.

    • He knows I talked to his PO. He’s aware he left quite a lot of criminal history out of his story. What’s more, he insisted “this is all, I swear.” Only it wasn’t.

      I owe him nothing. He can go away.

  4. diannegray says:

    Good grief, Theo! What a story. The guy sounds like a total looney – I really hope he stops calling you. I’m a total sucker for liars because I don’t lie and therefore think no one else lies and I imagine you’re the same.
    “Convicted level two sex offender” – what a grub!
    I’ve come across a few very proficient liars in my time and couldn’t believe how well they lied (totally convincing). These people are scary – great fodder for a story here.

    • It’s nice to know other people are as trusting as me. Comments here prove I’m not alone and the liars are the exception.

      I can excuse a lot of things, but pedophilia will never be one of them. It’s just too sick and hurtful for words. I’m glad I found out in time.

      Note: He has not called me since this morning. Maybe he’s done now.

      • diannegray says:

        I’m really glad he’s stopped calling. He’s the last thing you need in your life right now…

        • That’s a fact! I’ve been under a lot of stress these last few weeks. I want this move to be over, and for life to settle again.

          I did, however, write three paragraphs of a new story this morning before jumping into work. AJ gave it a thumbs-up.

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