After working a double shift, my co-worker asked for help moving into her new apartment.
“Want to make 20 bucks?” she asked.
Her load was mostly bags, bins, a futon, mattress and recliner. Easy enough for two people but a difficult amount for one person, especially at night in a rickety elevator.
There was only one problem: I rode my bike to work and she lived on the other side of the city.
Some people would acknowledge this inconvenience and decline. They’d rather join their roommates for a drink, like I had planned. But this girl was new to the city, didn’t know many people and was moving because of a breakup.
What kind of person would I be if I chose alcohol over helping someone in need?
It wasn’t too much work. We alternated between holding the elevator gate and moving items downstairs. By the time we had loaded most of the van, another co-worker arrived. He brought muscles at the perfect time because her new apartment required the use of stairs. She lived on the third floor.
We pulled into her dimly lit alley, and I noticed a small Whole Foods bag hanging from the dumpster. It still had food in it, like somebody was feeding alley cats. This isn’t important to the story. I just think its funny.
Anyway, her key didn’t open the back door and she wasn’t sure where to go. That’s when a man inside the building opened it for her.
“Here you go girl,” he said in a thick Russian accent.
This man had a bramble of long, matted gray hair. His beard was thick and wild. His skin was dark with heavily creased wrinkles, and he was missing teeth. He wore cowboy boots, jeans and a work coat, all of which was speckled with streaks of white paint. On the back of his coat, someone (probably him) wrote (with paint) a message about Israel. Maybe he was actually Israeli. I don’t freakin’ know!
Apparently, he was the building’s caretaker.
In all honestly, I was scared for my co-workers life. Where did she find this place? The black market?!
Caretaker didn’t chat much because his phone rang. He informed the caller the last room was taken. Caretaker did get a chance to relay instructions, though. He told us to unload quickly so that we “didn’t let in all the mouses.”
Yes, mouses. You can’t keep the door open for those pesky critters. So, as told, we laid everything in the hallway before heading up.
After some manual labor, we got her moved in. Through the process, I noticed the other residents were actually very normal and nicely dressed. So what’s up with Caretaker?
Apparently, he’s a tenant too. He just has a lot of handy skills, so the building hires him to fix everything.
I’m not sure this inspires any more confidence about the situation, but the good news is she moved in successfully and we didn’t die in the process.
That’s my good deed for the day!