So it happens that we three at the House of Love, upon the Green, are looking for a fourth to join our merry bunch. I am of course preferring to get in a friend or a friend of a friend, but this could quite possibly not work out, and so we shall have to face the grim possibility of inviting someone to live with us from the FREAKSHOW that is the general public. So while putting up the advertisement on the net the other day, I suddenly recalled a little tale from the near ancient past. This didn't happen to me but to Mel, a former housemate of mine from my first place back in Melbourne.
So after the usual tedium and personality clashes, the terrace at old 322 Cardigan Street was nearing an end. We were all looking for places to go, and Mel dug up an ad in the papers that happened to be about half a block away, so one Saturday morning she walks up to this guy's apartment. Turns out it's on one of those little side lanes that come off the main street into the block (yet another European echo in Melbourne that I can now recall), and so it's got that nice off-street vibe.
Mel rings the door bell and is invited in by this 20-something business executive guy. She takes a seat in the living room nearby to a strangely non-caring Japanese housemate knitting in the corner, while the owner-landlord-executive-whatever guy is apparently tearing strips off a worried looking former tenant before his (the former tenant's) rapid departure. Mel's a little curious, but decides to stay.
Executive now starts talking to Mel, and it quickly becomes apparent that this is not one of those usual rent deals. The guy earns a truckload of money, and consequently owns or is paying off the place, while possibly doing copious amounts of recreational drugs. He's also got some sort of interest in being a film director, and suddenly produces a small white rectangular plastic sign that says, in large black print:
'No Junk Mail'
and then in smaller print below,
"The Junk Mail Watchdog Is Watching."
The unusual rent deal that this guy would like Mel to participate in is as follows; Executive does not want Mel to pay the $100 a week rent, instead he wants her to buy a hundred of these little signs at $1 a piece and sell 100 of them each week. Executive would follow Mel around with his film camera and make a documentary of said objective, and in doing so would possibly create and perpetuate some sort of mythical Junk Mail Watchdog.
Executive was quite enthusiastic about the prospect, and to assist the now comically perplexed Mel, he puts on a 'training video', which sounds like just some random DVD he's pulled off the shelf, and disappears back off into the apartment, while Mel watches on in amazement.
She turns to Japanese girl, who through the whole time hasn't moved or said anything.
"Is this how you pay your rent?"
Japanese girl looks up, shrugs her shoulders, sighs:
"I don't have the time."
Executive emerges, and Mel decides to leave. She'll get back to him, stay in contact (which she might have actually meant for a time), see how the project goes.....
The concoction of the plan alone astounds me. Also, Mel's a professional actress, so whenever she tells stories in the flesh (like this one), they're always ten times funnier.
Speaking of local 'rent deals', here's a link that old mate J-Sax clued me up to yesterday, an equally bizarre situation that might amuse you all....