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.”

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.”