“Patience is a Virtue”
“She’s a Virtue, as well as policeman - woman even.”
“You mean she’s your sister?”
“Yes” said Brevity. “How long has Prose been in there?” she asked the Landlord.
“A long time, I mean, I am not exact-“
Brevity thumped the door thunderously “HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THERE PROSE?!” she bellowed at the door.
“I think I heard a noise,” said the landlord.
“He’s probably dead then,” said Brevity
“Dead?! I’m not su-“
“Or it could just be snakes.”
“What else would have been able to climb through the pipes and kill him in that way?”
“Why does he have to be dead?!” Said the Landlord, naturally concerned that having a killer snake riddled aparment might make it tricky to find a new tennant.
“That’s more of a existential question really.” said Brevity. She rummaged in her large bludgesome handbag and produced a mobile phone. She selected a number, squinting at the screen with her glasses pushed up into her cloud of hair. She handed it to him:
“Tell Patience to hurry up and get down here, she owes me.”
“I feel like I am in the center of a joke here…” he said with the phone to his ear.
“Really do think we need to get away from the existential questions dear.” She said before viciously attacking the door with her fist again: “SNAKES! CAN YOU HEAR ME?! OPEN THE DOOR!”
The landlord walked down the sticky-carpeted hallway and turned the corner so he could hear the ringing phone.
It rang for a long time. He’d usually expect the phone to kick into voicemail by now. A feeling of urgency came to him, sucking the air from the hallway around him, he remembered what he was meant to be doing today, in - checking his watch - less than an hour; and now this! Prose had beena good tenant, but what a cunt to die on a day a busy as this-
“Hellooo?” a voice called from far away down the phone. The barrage thundered around the corner.
“Hi” sighed the landlord into the phone. A silence of a moving vehicle rattling around the seemingly point of the mic.
“It’s your brother.”
“Do you mean my half brother?”
“I don’t know. Your sister said he’s turned into a snake, or had been eaten by them, or something.”
“She’s always rushing to conclusions that girl. He’s our brother by marriage. Our parents married you see.”
“Well, yes, I assumed. Do you think you could -“
“I’ll be along in time,” said Patience. “You should have known he was only a half-brother with a name like that.”
“A name like what?”
“Prose. Who are you, shouldn’t you know his name if you’re calling me?”
“I’m his landload.”
“And you don’t know his name?”
“I do, I meant-” There was a soft breathe-filled chuckle from the reciever.
”- I am only having fun with you. I’ll be there eventually. We’re a little stuck in traffic, but I have just clocked off. See you soon.”
Understanding his fate intensely the landlord rounded the corner again to find Brevity trying to peer through the viewfinder. She caught him in the corner of her eye and rounded on him.
“She’ll bealong eventually, she said-“
“OHforfucksake.” Said Brevity, “If we don’t get in there soon the snakes may have eaten him entirely - and you wont be able to identify him and get your rent money. Amongst other things.” She fisted the door again, denting the old paintwork.
“Could you stop that please?” said the landlord sheepishly, feeling small as she stood over her.
She looked taken aback for a moment, before scowling a “why?” at him.
The landlord leant back and glanced around in the new silence and whispered “the neighbours”.
“Oh.” she mouthed. He handed her back her phone and it began ringing.
“Yes?” She snapped into it and walked around the corner. The landlord relaxed and settled in to waiting for Patience Virtue to arrive.