nothing like they used to be

The first day I was left alone in this apartment, Monday, there was a knock at the door. I’d been talking down to my neighbor Pete (literally, not figuratively — my front balcony is above and to the right of his), so I figured it was him. “Come in,” I yelled, and when Pete didn’t come in, I opened the door for him. There was, instead, an unknown quantity on the Welcome mat (which reads, ironically, “Piss Off”). He was wearing a button down dress shirt with no tie, nice slacks and shoes, and his hair was carefully brushed, if not perfectly coiffed. He adopted the manner of an attention-hungry puppy.

“Is this 1465 number 3?” he bubbled. I was immediately cautious. “Yes?” “Oh, hello!” he was relieved, “I’m a private investigator –” “I’m sorry, a what?” “I’m a private investigator for–” “Where’s your hat?” I’m suspicious, of course. This guy looks like every douchebag 22 year old business major, not a thing like a private investigator should look like. He doesn’t understand my question.

Long story short, he was looking for a man who claimed to live in my new apartment who may or may not have witnessed something undefined. I took him down to meet Pete, because I just moved in, and figured Pete might have information for him. He didn’t, but Connie, Pete’s girlfriend, quizzed him on his motives for being in our building (“Why are you looking for him? What did he do? Is this your job, is this what you do? You look too young to be a p.i.”). It was an exciting start to my living here, although the excitement petered out once we’d established that none of us knew anything and therefore could not aid the investigation. Ah well. He looked like a fake p.i., anyway. He didn’t skulk, and he didn’t even have a hat.

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