The Faux Landlords

OK. It’s been a long day and I’m tired. An hour on the bus, and I just want to sit down.

Argh. I hear voices. Odd… no-one else is due home for another few hours. Alright, this is nothing to worry about yet. It may just be the radio. From next door, because I know I didn’t leave it on when I left this morning. Hm. This frying pan looks sufficiently heavy and menacing. 

The voices are louder the further down the hall I get. And I’m certain I didn’t close the living-room door this morning.

(one startling shriek later)

Woman: Hello.

Man: Hello.

They are sitting there, calm as you please, eating what appears to be carrot cake. From first appearances they are not threatening, though I do believe the cake plate and serving triangle could do some damage if wielded correctly.

Woman: Please, sit. 

Me: This is my home. Why are you inviting me to sit, eating your cake as though you own the place?

Man: We do own the place.

Me: Rubbish. I’ve met the landlord. So have my flatmates. 

Woman: Oh yes? And how did that work out?

Me: Well… Hang on. What’s your stance on penguins?

Man: Oh, we love them. They’re adorable, especially the fluffy baby penguins. 

I drop my bag with a very deliberate thud and shield my body with a heavy textbook. They look amused.

Man: I’m so sorry! Where are my manners?

Me: Somewhere in the North Pole, perhaps?

The woman laughs, slightly condescendingly.

Woman: I’m Penelope. This is Andrew, and we do actually own your house. It’s being sub-letted.

Andrew: Have some cake.

I am very suspicious. 

Me: What is it and how badly will it poison me?

Penelope: Carrot cake. No poison – see, we’re eating it.

This is not reassuring: in fact, it reminds me vaguely of Snow White.

Me: No, thank you. I’m allergic to, uh, beta-carotene. So, apparently, you own this place but are not the owners I met. You just wandered in, getting past the alarm, and sat down for cake.

Andrew: And tea.

He offers me a fresh cup.

Penelope: We just wanted to see how you liked the house. You’ve lived here two years, four months and six days, and we’ve never heard from you. Not even a postcard.

Andrew: Also, I’ve repaired all the things that needed repairing. The leaky tap in the bathroom, the fault with the washing machine, and the kitchen cupboards have been repainted. Those were my top priorities.

Have these people been monitoring this house. As if reading my mind, they abruptly stand, abandoning the cake and tea, and move to the hallway, smiling and shaking my hand. They pay no mind to the fact that I’m dazed and on auto-pilot I walk them to the door. We exchange the basic pleasantries and they leave. The door quietly, gently swings shut after them.

Penelope: Do you suppose she suspected anything?

written in response to the


18 thoughts on “The Faux Landlords”

  1. Oh, you wrote this before I started following you. This is great, I’m so glad you continued it. I’m just catching up with part 2 and your latest, part 3 today. You need to continue this, Sarah, it has potential for a great book 🙂


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