Excerpt from “The Rental Property” (Rough Draft)

July 26, 2009 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment

“I like your hair. What is it that you do to it to make it appear in that way?” Lera enquired as I primped next to her in the bathroom.

“Well, I have this straightener – top of the line – that does the trick.”

“You and I have the same kinky hair like a Jew or a Negro.”

“African American. Black person.”


“You can borrow it anytime. I don’t mind at all.”

“Really? Thank you! I’ll use it tomorrow before Robert and I go out. By the way, do you think you could watch over BJ? We’ll reduce your rent…”

“Umm…lemme think for a sec…That’s cool. I’m free as far as I know.”


The next evening I gave Lera a quick straightener tutorial before going on a short run. It takes me about 15 minutes to smooth out my long, thick hair, so I figured Lera would be done well before I returned. Drenched in sweat, I knocked on the bathroom door in hopes of taking a shower.

“Come in,” Lera croaked. She glared at her image in the mirror as she frantically ran gel-coated fingers through her wilted curls.

“Zis is a piece of crap!” she barked while slamming the 300-dollar straightener on the counter.

“Hey, I paid a lot of money for that “piece of crap”!”

“I don’t know for why. It doesn’t even vork!”

“If you wash that gel out, I’ll just do your hair for you. Show you how easy it is.”

“I already wasted too much time. Do you mind giving me some privacy?!”

Lera’s incompetence and impatience clearly took precedence over my cleanliness and comfort, so I let her wallow in her frustration as I went outside for a well-deserved cigarette.

Lera and Robert got in late that night, so I didn’t see her until I returned from classes the next afternoon. She had cut off all her hair and had bleached what little was left. She looked like an albino Martin Short.

“Who did your-”

“I just wanted something new,” she shrugged her shoulders in a manner that suggested I delve no further.”

I found my straightener placed next to some wet rags by the sink and moved it to the highest shelf. If Lera ever needed to use it again, she’d have to use the step ladder. I had a quick flash of her – hair grown out and ready to give straightening another go – reaching, falling, and breaking her neck. I couldn’t keep right corner of my lip from turning upward.

Entry filed under: Excerpt. Tags: , , , .

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