Welcome to the A to Z Challenge : 26 Stories during the month of April
Welcome to… The Apartment Building: Swan Rise
(For Links to the previous stories, CLICK HERE)
Andres, the super, growled around the unlit cigar in his mouth. In that mood, anyone in their right mind would jump out of his way as he swung the dirty mop back and forth across the ground floor tiling. The Laundry Room Mafia sniggered amongst themselves, sneaking glances into the hallway to see if anyone was stupid enough to approach him in “that mood.”
Dotty had her head out when Frank got out of the elevator. She, the Capo de tutti lavanderia, was hoping for a great show, but Frank, as usual, disappointed her. She saw the look on Frank’s face as he saw Andres, back turned, advancing on him with that “thwapp thwapp thwapp” of the mop. Instead of continuing down the hallway, Frank opted to leave by the front door, taking the long way to his car. Dotty took this out on Mrs. Beatty, who was doing her one wash for the day.
Next off the elevator was Patty, wearing a tight short red dress and killer heels. She also stopped when she saw Andres, but no one got in her way. She tapped up behind him. Turning, Andres gave her the once over. They nodded to each other, and as she went by, holding the wall so as not to slip, Andres watched her rear sway and her patterned stockinged legs as they waltzed away. He was pretty sure there was a little extra bounce in her movements for him, but he would never act on it, not the way gossip flew around HIS building.
Even though he was one of the prime instigators of gossip flying.
Dragana saw her husband put his head down very fast as she entered the building, passing Patty on the way out. Her scowl was intense enough that if she was a dark magic Witch, like some said she was, all the lights in the building would have blown. He looked up at the rustling of shopping bags (“clothes she needed like a hole in the head,” he thought) and they locked eyes. He waved at her, taking the cigar in his hand before he did. She nodded, turned left, and went into their apartment. Andres sighed, shook his head, and put the cigar back in his mouth.
As the day passed, Andres fixed two stuffed toilets, emptied the recycling room, polished what he could take his time polishing in the foyer, chatted with the Laundry Room Mafia in the morning, took a long lunch, chatted with his cronies over the mail delivery, and disappeared into his workshop or boiler room at every chance he could. Three cigars later, his day was done, and he was in his apartment watching the TV, drinking a beer, and complaining to his wife, who was in the kitchen, cooking, about her dogs, people in the building, and anything else that was bothering him that day.
Dragana ignored him.
Andres was the last of the building superintendents, and next to Old George, he had lasted the longest. The first super was Mr. Jenkins. He came into the building quietly and left the same way, marring and moving upstate soon afterwards. Next came “The Nazis”, a German couple that everyone hated. Everyone, and the hatred was dealt right back. Neither of them were Nazis, nor believed in anything of that regime, but their sour life together spilled out and created an unpleasant taste in all mouths. After them came Old George, a nice man, honestly beloved of the majority of the tenants (especially Amy). Sadly, he passed away, a heart attack taking him in his sleep.
For a short time came Nick. The least said about him, the better. Infidelities, theft, inappropriate behavior with most of the women in the building, drunkenness…all these things were part of his mythos. It was with great relief when he was sent packing.
Dragana, Andres, and their first child moved in immediately after. He went from attendant to Overlord in a short time, making friends with the right people. Dotty and the other ladies approved, as he was as big a yenta as they were. Patty approved of the way he looked at her. The Whistler and the boys approved, as they had someone to shoot the breeze with, dirty jokes and all.
So what if he harrumphed, yelled, chomped a cigar, had favorites, and looked down on everyone else?
A man’s apartment building was his castle.