The Caretaker

…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…

The door creaked open ever so slightly to reveal the eyes and nose of a small woman, diligently inspecting would be intruders.

“What business do you have here? No soliciting!”

Jose didn’t respond. Emma stood silent as she didn’t see it as her place to respond. So, Noemi piped up, “we are from abroad. We purchased the leasehold to 11c from a gentleman called Daniel Perez. Would you let us in?”

The small woman scrunched her nose and narrowed her eyes, “I don’t know anything about any Daniel Perez.”

“I thought not. He received the deeds from an acquaintance,” Noemi responded hopefully.

A further scrunch and narrow, “that doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m the caretaker and haven’t heard about any new leaseholders.”

“Well we have the deed here,” Noemi ventures ripping the document from Jose’s hand and waving it in front of those narrow eyes as if it were a key.

“That don’t mean nothing to me young lady! It’s a piece of paper. For all I know you lot are going to rob me and the tenants here blind if I let you in!”

Clearly word of Daniel Perez’s transaction hadn’t reached London. The small woman shut the door and wouldn’t respond to further attempts at ringing the bell, which Noemi frantically commenced for a full five minutes.

After the final ring she turned and smacked Jose as hard as she could, “I need my brother back! Get over it already!”

A classic easier said than done.

As she did so, a man approached walking up the stairs. He spoke to Jose, “I overheard your conversation with the caretaker and your subsequent frustrations so I’m confident you’re not the thieves she thinks you are. May I look at the deed?”

Not holding the deed himself, Jose looked at his sister, not in a way that ordered her to hand them over, rather in a questioning manner. The man noted this and shifted his stance towards Noemi, “May I, my dear?”

“Well, Sir, I am certainly not your ‘dear’, but I would be grateful if you could look over the deeds. We can only make so much sense of them and it would be good to have some ammunition to use against the caretaker there. Though I imagine it will take more than a strong grip on the facts to persuade her.”

She handed over the deed and watched the man carefully as he took out some reading glasses and examined the papers. He flicked through the pages carefully, clearly reading each line carefully. It wasn’t as if he was looking for something specific, he was just absorbing the whole of it.

After a few moments which were uncomfortable, but not suspenseful, the man returned the deed to Noemi and said clearly, “I can assure you this is entirely real,” to which a sign of relief appeared on all concerned, “but, it is also completely worthless.”

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