by Zalman Velvel
"So Mr. Largent, could you check to see if Fred's okay? It's not like him to be out three days without calling in."
"Yeah, sure." Charlie hung up the phone and sighed. One more thankless chore.
Charlie finished opening the mail. He logged the rents that dribbled in and prepared a deposit. Then he turned to the stack of bills, singled out the water and electric, and paid them before the new rent deposit was devoured.
He locked his desk, then his office, and walked up the stairs wondering what was going to go wrong next in his weary old building. Hey man, he thought, you're 35, and you own an apartment building. With a humongous mortgage. Life will be good someday. Someday. For now, it's one faithful foot above the other, up these creaky old stairs.
He knocked on Fred's door and waited. No answer. He knocked again, and waited. He got out his passkey, opened the door, and leaned his head in.
"Fred? Fred, you in here? It's the landlord …" Something felt wrong. Charlie edged down the hallway to the kitchen. He left the door open in case he had to call for help. Or worse.
Charlie stopped in his tracks when he saw a pair of legs lying on the kitchen floor. He approached with caution.
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© Copyright 2012 by Zalman Velvel Inc.
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