...Justine and Amy, Julian and I, had posted our vacant, windowless room for rent. These rooms are illegal in Montreal, due to some its-just-a-matter-of-time-till-the-place-catches-fire-and-the-landlord-has-preemtively-sworn-that-they-didn't-do-it permit clause, in which case every room requires an alternate exit (or alternate form of doom). But considering fires need oxygen to burn nobody'd seemed too concerned about the status of this room, and so put up some dry wall to suggest privacy. Of course, as anyone who's familiar with drywall will know, that's like putting up a taut drumskin between two enclosed spaces and then trying to sleep with a pillow over your head while the deafening sound of someone blinking or inconsiderately vacillating their pores permeates your thoughts. So we tried to put a positive spin on it, perhaps called it cozy or womblike or not-claustrophobia-inducing or somesuch. Then we sat back to see who it would bring.
Well, it brought a hungarian girl who reminded me of one of Jabba's guards (sorry, but it's true) half eaten by the Rangor. It brought Armand (an initially shy Frenchman who we loved and eventually raised above our heads in collective triumph). And a few others. But most interestingly it brought Eugene.
Eugene did not come alone. He was a recent emigre/escapee? from Russia and he had a very sobering support system. He had one man on the phone, securing apartment viewing dates for him. He had a PA/translator/field-agent, who escorted him through each viewing. He was the spitting image of Vin Diesel (which, if you know not he, then i'll just say that this is not an image you'll readily spit at) which is like having a few bodyguards. He came in like a bad guy, just nodding and pointing. His translator was very pleasant, but spoke pointedly: "Eugene would like to see your basement" (how the hell did he know that? Eugene had not spoken a word) at which he spent longer looking than his potential bedroom. "The basement is unfinished and, er, not absolutely soundproof. Ha.." we may've stammered back. Again the PA spoke: "How is pressure of water?" Enough to rinse the blood off... Eventually Eugene DID say something, and the translator said: "Eugene will let you know if he will takes it" to which, we being kind of silent and cross-armed, we looked at each other questioning whether they meant the ENTIRE apartment or what and then one of us replied... "Ok, we'll have a little think about it too"... Then: "Eugene must go now, driver is waiting..." Then Eugene smiled. And I breathed.
Armand, I'm so glad you moved in mate!
Some potential other conversations we may've had:
"Screaming is fun, no?"
"You like Mercedes?"
"Price of cage high in Canada."
"The P in RPG means 'propelled'? Huh, Eugene thought it mean Plutonium."
"Eugene say he can tell you cry a a lot. You make good money for Eugene."
"You heard him. Kidney. Now."
"Leather lasts longer than love."