The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Subletter problems

When I was living in Santa Fe, I remember when once we had some very big problems with our subletters. I shared a casita with my roommate Will, who, as I mentioned sold vintage western wear. Our casita was part of a group of casitas, clustered around a central courtyard, located a few blocks north of the central plaza. Next to Will and I was a young couple in a somewhat smaller casita, and across the courtyard were in one house two young girls both named Jessica who went to St. John's College with me, and in the other a middle-aged, reclusive gay man who could do amazing things with bonsai plants.

It was the winter of 2003-04. I had just finished up classes at St. John's and Will was leaving to take a long vacation to South America. To mitigate costs he decided to sublet his apartment for the duration of his trip, which was over a month. He knew a couple that were also in the vintage western wear business and looking for a temporary place to stay, an older couple that had owned a stall at the Santa Fe Flea Market where Will also sold. The husband of this couple was at least in his fifties, a squat man who walked slowly and awkwardly but who spoke forcefully, directly and quickly. He had a somewhat younger wife, probably in her forties, who dressed well in stylish western clothing and was pleasant, compliant and not too talkative. They operated their business primarily through ebay, finding good deals mostly on used cowboy boots and then turning them around for a small markup, first in their stall at the flea market, then subsequently out of a storefront they bought about block or so from the Plaza.

As far as married couples go, their relationship seemed to be functional but a bit rocky, being punctuated by occasional, loud and vocal fights. They would disagree over some matter and it would escalate and then husband would rise up angrily and try to shout his wife into submission, which she frequently did, retreating, cowed and timid. The fights were uncomfortable to be in the presence of, but they were always, while I was there, over pretty quickly.

While Will was away I took a short trip to visit my family for the holidays, leaving the couple alone in our apartment. I couldn't actually spend the holidays with my family since I was working at a restaurant and missing such a high traffic period as Christmas and New Years was out of the question. But I was able to take off about a week after New Years, and flew off to California for a nice little vacation with my family.

Unfortunately, I picked a bad time to leave. After being in California a few days, I got a call from my landlord concerning events that had transpired while I was away. I got the story both from the mouth of the couple who were subletting as well as from the couple that lived in the casita right next to ours and witnessed some of it. As far as I can tell from what these two sources told me, this is what happened. The couple subletting our apartment had gotten into a particularly loud and bitter argument late one night. It had escalated to the point where the wife wanted nothing more than to get away from there as soon as possible. She bolted out of the apartment into the cold threatening to leave her husband with car keys in hand. The husband rushed out behind her trying to block her and do everything he could to stop her. She got into the car and he arrived at the driveway behind her. In his incensed state, the only way he could think of stopping her was to smash out the headlights in the car so she couldn't see. To accomplish this he picked up the first object to hand useful for this, which happened to be a hatchet that Will had left there. He then began to smash away at the headlights. Discouraged, his wife got out of the car adn began to flee down the street on foot and he chased after her, axe in hand. It was at this point that the neighbor saw them.

Eventually, they calmed down and returned to normal and returned to the apartment, but for the neighbor this was too much. He'd just seen a man chasing his wife down the street with an axe and her running away from, screaming at the top of her voice. He didn't want a crazy man like that living next to him. He'd asked to have them kicked out and they were. When I saw them, maybe a week or two after the event, they were still together, quite ashamed and upset by what had happened. When the husband explained to me the whole story, it was in a dispirited and apologetic voice, and his wife sat next and quietly cried. I saw them a few more times after that, and they were still keeping up the business and still together. What happened between them after that I can't tell, but I can't imagine it's very good.

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