The Gin Palace

I promised to tell you why I left one rental place after a week*.

It was a huge house in Darlington, owned by an elderly couple. They lived there, and rented out their spare rooms to idiots.

I was one of them.

I went round for a visit, one morning, before agreeing to rent. It seemed nice enough, and the landlords were as sweet as pie.

Apparently that was for show. When I moved in, they were both as drunk as skunks. And the landlady went through all my possessions*.

It was a large house. The wife slept on the ground floor in her bedroom, and her husband’s bedroom was on the first floor. I had the bedroom next to his.

All was mildly weird (they both seemed permanently pissed), but vaguely OK until one night, I was woken by shrieking from his room. He was yelling for his wife like the world was ending.

“MARY! MARY! MARY!” (for that was not my landlady’s name, but it’ll do for now.) “MARY! MARY! MARY!”

I was out of bed and banging on his door in an instant: “Are you alright Mr. X?” No answer, just more screaming “MARY! MARY! MARY!”.

I ran downstairs, banged on my landlady’s door. She charged upstairs and into her husband’s room; he was still yelling and she started screaming too.

Ten minutes later, an ambulance arrived, and the paramedics charged up the stairs. Apparently my landlord is utterly sozzled, pissed himself, fell out of bed, can’t get up. I could hear the ambulance crew trying to help him, but he started screaming abuse at them, swearing, lashing out. “We need your permission before we can help you, Sir.” “FUCK OFF! FUCK YOU ALL!”

Eventually, unable to help him, they left. As did his wife, storming off back downstairs.

But still he was screaming for her, “MARY! MARY! MARY!” over and over.

I bang on her door again and she shouts back to just ignore him: “I’m sick of the crazy bastard. He did this last week too. And the week before he chased me around the garden with a knife. I’m going to leave him.”

At 4am he finally stopped screaming. Not that I slept a wink after that.

The next morning at breakfast, Mrs Landlady handed around polaroids she took of her husband the previous night. Pissed out his mind, in a pool of his own piss and poop even, stark-bollock naked.

She said she was handing round the polaroids “to teach him a lesson”.

I told her I’d be moving out that day, and that I’d be back at the weekend to collect the rest of my possessions. Fifteen minutes later, I’d grabbed a bag of essentials and was on the way to spend the rest of the week crashing in a friend’s spare room.

Saturday came. I loaded my things into my car, handed over the keys and asked her for my deposit back. She refused. When I asked why, she told me that it was because her husband was a “dear man who was taken a little poorly” and apparently I was trying to take advantage of them. “If this is the worst thing that happens to you in your life”, she said, “then count yourself lucky.”**

I was steaming at the time, absolutely furious. For years, I couldn’t even think of the pair of them without a rage descending. But, that was a long time ago. These days, I just feel sorry for them. They were both obviously ill, both tied to one another, dragging each other down. I wish them respite, from each other and from the bottle.

*Here’s the first part of the story: No Boundaries

**Actually, it’s about the 7th worse thing that ever happened to me. Maybe she had a point.