By Aunt Mary
James hung up the phone and turned to his housemates, “She’s raising the rent again. $950 a month now. That’s three times in just over a year.”
“So much for the great deal of $800 a month on Craigslist,” house mate, Amy said with a chuckle.
“We knew what it was all about when we got into her apartment building,” Doug chimed in. “She’s a slumlord, a pot plantation belle – and she knows we can grow more. She knows we will grow more. That’s the unspoken deal.”
“We’ll have to put another light in the laundry room,” James thought out loud.
“The thing is, she takes advantage,” Doug said, beginning to whine. “How much is Stephanie and Liz growing next door? They have three rooms now and the garage. And they didn’t start out in the apartment, like us.”
“They’ve been in the neighborhood for five years this fall,” Amy responded. “They didn’t have to go into the apartments because ‘dragon lady’ knew they were experienced growers.”
“I heard they are paying more than $1,500 a month now in rent to her,” Doug said.
“What her story again?” Amy asked.
“She’s fifth generation Eureka,” Doug explained. “Her family were lumber barons, but she couldn’t or didn’t continue the tradition. Instead she divided her land, built that apartment building, then these crappy homes, and is charging everyone to grow.”
“So much for renter’s rights,” James laughed. “At least we don’t have a landlord we have to hide from.”
“I wouldn’t mind it so much if the plumbing wasn’t so bad,” Amy said. “I like the neighbors, and you don’t feel so paranoid here – at least everyone knows what everyone else is doing, right?”
“I guess it’s better than Linda’s situation in Arcata,” Doug said. “Yeah, she gets the house to herself, but her landlord is a slave driver. Since limits were raised he’s told her to grow more too. She can’t sleep in the bedroom anymore, that’s what I heard. With all the fans going in the other rooms, you can hardly hear yourself think.”
James was already measuring the laundry room for space. Amy and Doug began dragging supplies outside that had been stored in the room.
“We’ll need to get a shed for the yard now,” James said. “Two lights, pots, soil, fans, plywood, wiring – another humidifier. This is going to cost us.”
Outside, Amy and Doug stopped and listened to the collective hum of the neighborhood’s energy usage. In the evening mist the capacitors at the top of the electrical poles sparked and sizzled while the neighborhood’s lights dimmed and lit up again in a wave.
“And, we are adding two more lights to this circus,” Doug said to no one in particular.