I read the letter aloud in order to further concretize what I held in my hand, since my mind was thoroughly rejecting the reality being presented to it. “…and Mike Gigliano, and Helga and Amir Shah, and Bertha and Ira Wolfwitz, by means of their Verified Complaint say as Statement of Facts: 1.) Casa de Perros adopted a Public Offering statement, which includes, among other things, the Master Deed and the by-laws 2.) Currently, Casa de Perros is governed by a board known as the Casa de Perros Board of Trustees (i.e., CPBT) allegedly elected by the owners, without any substantial proof…blah, blah, blah…”
Allegedly? With the insinuation that I had conducted some sort of clandestine coup for this position? Truthfully, in the place of attending the affairs of this building, I would have rather engineered the execution of my own death via being hanged, drawn, and quartered. And how the hell could Mike legally be on this…he had disowned his place, for fuck’s sake…
“20.) At the July owners’ meeting of this year, Plaintiff Bertha and Plaintiff Helga politely inquired about changing the current bylaws, and without any legal basis, the CPBT emphatically dismissed the request and consequently threatened a number of plaintiffs in response…blah, blah, blah…46.) Instead of abiding by the governing documents of the building, the CPBT has made several executive decisions without putting the motion to a vote, including the opinion of making ‘necessary repairs’ without the guidance or witness of fellow owners…”
I had read some of these bylaws before committing myself to the real estate version of a martyr. Essentially, I had found them to be a paragon of ambiguity, only rivaled by perhaps The Bible. I could see them being used as the basis for a number of claims, up to and including the legal argument that condo owners should be considered possible heirs to the Hapsburg line of monarchy. Maybe I’ll use Lisa’s clothes in that abandoned closet and proclaim myself Queen of the realm…
“…blah, blah, blah…55.) Even though this CPBT body (of ‘supposed’ legitimacy) has not yet proven any of its claims, the Plaintiffs have and will continue to suffer from their brash and cavalier decisions if nothing is done to stop them…blah, blah, blah…71.) The Plaintiffs demand a thorough investigation of the board’s current activities, paid out-of-pocket by the current CPBT members , in order to determine if any immoral or illegal activities have been performed under their governance…”
I had heard of some bold requests in my time…but asking someone to willingly pay for their own incarceration was a new one. Even if I had been as guilty as Robert Durst, I would have been stunned and shocked at such audacity.
“…and against the Defendants…Count One, Ultre Vires…Count Two, Temporary Injunctive Relief…Count Three, Breach of Fiduciary Duties…Prayer for Relief, where we ask for the temporary cease of all building fees, under suspicion of malfeasance…for the restraining of any repairs…and for the CPBT to be temporarily relieved of duty.”
Looking up from the paper, I was too stunned to truly articulate anything poignant. That, and I was equally amused as well as outraged. “Well…that sucks. But that doesn’t mean anything until a court date, right?”
The color of Brian’s forehead turned a bit darker and formed into drupelets, transforming his large smooth head into an overripe raspberry. “That would be true…if Raymond’s lawyer had attended the court date to defend us. Those papers were emailed a couple of weeks ago, and he missed his appearance. So the judge ruled in favor of the defendants.” Brian gritted his teeth. “The lawyer said that he’s sorry.”
“So, in summary,” I articulated, “We’re not the condo board for the time being…nobody is going to pay their maintenance fees…and Bertha’s bitches are trying to send us to jail? And only after being in charge of this abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous place for a few months?”
Babbu nodded violently, as if chopping something (or someone) with his tomahawk of a chin. “Yep. You’ve got it, chief!”
“Well,” I said, “Tell you what…nothing against you guys, but I think that I’ve had enough for one day. So, I’m gonna punch out by going home and getting drunk. And if I’m still alive tomorrow, I’ll give you guys a call and try to work something out. That, or we can talk about how we can just burn down the building with everyone it. Either plan sounds fine to me.” I handed the email back to Brian. “Adios, muchachos.”
And after wiping my feet on the ugly floormat outside the door, I left them. I walked up the remaining floors to the safety and sanity of my own abode, where I hoped to enjoy the scant tendrils left of my high. As I walked through the door, Rhonda called out to me from the bedroom; she had the uncanny ability to recognize me from just the sound of my footsteps. Her olfactory and auditory senses were so keen that I was always slightly frightened to be around her during a full moon. “Dinner’s almost ready! So, how was your workout with Octavio? Did you get another black eye?”
“Nope,” I called out. “But Mike and Lisa destroyed their apartment and are gone forever, and I got kicked out from being on the condo board. Good news is that I know a place where you can get all the free shoes and clothes that you want.” I noticed a filled trash bag standing by the door. “I’m gonna take this trash down. See ya in a bit.”
A brief pause from the bedroom was then followed by a wavering note of confusion, as the door closed behind me. “Wait…what?”
Slinging the garbage bag over my shoulder, I plodded down the stairwell humming “Until It Sleeps” by Metallica (as I’m prone to do when attempting to barricade myself from depression). I yanked open the door to the garage on the ground floor (at just the moment when the lyrics say …open, but beware!), and as I lazily dragged the garbage bag on the floor (much like a neanderthal would drag his wife in politically incorrect cartoons about cavemen), something had enough presence to distract me from my currently intoxicated malaise. I dropped the bag where I stood, and I walked over to the wall of the garage. There, clearly now much larger than it had been, was the crack in the wall that I had observed from our first meeting in the garage so many months ago. Instead of being a few scant millimeters as before, it was now slowly approaching the width of a centimeter. I could now clearly distinguish figures and shapes on the other side of the wall, and much like a poisonous vine with malicious intentions, the fracture was now beginning to creep upwards towards its lackadaisical inhabitants. So…what will kill us first? The building…or each other? I didn’t know…and as long as Rhonda and I weren’t here when the shit eventually went down, I didn’t really care one way or another.
Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.