The Leaseholder

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

It should t have been a surprise and it wouldn’t have really been if the man hadn’t built the deed up for them, for however brief. He should have lead with the fact that the deed was worthless. It would have been far less cruel. So they stared at him. Gobsmacked and waiting for an explanation.

“I see I may have stunned you. My apologies,” he said allowing a small grin shine through the corner of his mouth, “so do let me explain.”

Arms now akimbo, Jose sprang to life, “yes, please do. You don’t know what we’ve been through and it’s certainly not helpful getting a back hand like that.”

Noemi and Emma both gave a small, reserved smile and then angrily looked back at the man.

“I’m sorry you all feel that way. Perhaps some tea? I actually have a room here, so I’m sure Mrs. Pevershem will let us in. Don’t expect any kindness though. She isn’t that to anyone.”

“Will the tea come with an explanation?” Jose asked to be sure.

The man smiled, “it most certainly will.”

With that he walked between them and rang the bell. Mrs. Pevershem answered in a similar manner as before, eyes and nose showing themselves through a small gap. This time she asked instead, “Mr. Jenkins, these are thieves so you should be wary.”

Mr. Jenkins, the man, gave a small laugh, responding, “I assure you that these people are the victims of a crime rather than the perpetrators, Mrs. Pevershem, so please do let us in and get the kettle on for some tea.”

“Very well Mr. Jenkins, but let the record state that this was much against my counsel.”

“Duly noted,” he said with a nod as she opened the door and let the four of them in.

They followed Mr. Jenkins into a front room that was dark and pokey, with a large sofa dominating the room along with a small table and some other armchairs and the like. There was small desk in the corner that appeared to be Mrs. Pevershem’s workstation as there was already a tea cup on it.

Mr. Jenkins gestures to them all to take a seat, which they did.

“So, will we get some explanation before tea?” Noemi asked.

“Of course not, my dear, we must have tea for it to all make sense and seep in. What I can say is that my name is Sam Jenkins and I am a banker. I know deeds and law quite well, having studied it for a time and through my work as a banker, lending and raising money to and on behalf of clients.”

Looking around, it was not what Emma had expected of a bankers residence, if that’s what it was and certainly not something they would be associated with. The twins knew nothing of banks or bankers, though they still found the surroundings quite odd.

It was as if someone had taken what was lying around at different houses as mashed it together. The chair Jose sat in looked like it belonged in a kitchen. A leather armchair stood next to Mr. Jenkins and the sofa which held Noemi and Emma was of some upholstered variety though very worn.

Finally, Mrs. Pevershem waddled in with a tray and placed it on the table which sat remarkably high for being in the front room where it was. It was a type of dining table with legs cut down to size, just not the right size. Mr. Jenkins looked at them, urging them to pour themselves a cup each. With pained looks, they all did and them sat there awkwardly holding tea cups and saucers of different types waiting for Mr. Jenkins explanation. When Jose was just about to urge him on, he began, “I own this house you see. At least I do through various holdings. That is why I know that the document is real. I had it drawn up myself. The problem for you is that it was lost and so a new lease was drawn up. I have a need for it so I am also the leaseholder of 11c.”

“But how did we get it then?”

“Well, to be honest, I was working with a forger and he was using this deed to practice with. He must have kept it after he left my employ. Where did you say you were from?”

“Belize Town,” said Jose.

“Well that chap certainly got as far away from me as he could. I’m sorry that you ended up with this in your possession. I’m afraid that even if it hadn’t been superseded, the lease was up six months ago. You were swindled, but probably in a different way to what the swindler thought. Not that that is any solace.”

“Well, that is another in a very intricate web of disappointments. Why invite us in though?”

“I have a soft spot and also thought that perhaps we could work together in some way that would be mutually beneficial. What do you say?”

Jose had hit bottom and felt himself bouncing back to something, “tell us what you had in mind and we’ll tell you what we think. We have another stop to make on the other side of London, but we may be able to do something with you in any event.”

Mr. Jenkins smiled a wry smile and said, “very good, nearly exactly what I wanted to hear.”

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