Tales From The Swamp – Part 1

My brother was moving to Gainesville. We packed his suitcases in my car and drove the five plus hours north on the Florida Turnpike relying on faith that we’d have a place to sleep that night. The landlord said he could move in a day before his lease started, but the previous tenant was the person who was supposed to let us in and he was not answering his telephone. But north we still went under the oak trees with that hanging moss.

The house was impressive. It looked like a space age bachelor pad. It was two stories with a moat underneath. I could imagine it as a location for a swinging party in a deleted scene from Boogie Nights. When I met the landlord the next day he explained the house’s origins. His in-laws built it in 1963 and University of Florida architecture students would hang outside the house sketching its design. He was fond of his father-in-law who had died the previous spring. He was a professor of agriculture who had travelled to 50 countries to help them develop farming solutions to hunger problems.

After we rang the doorbell a couple times and no one answered we were worried we would have to set up my air mattress next to where the students sketched.

My brother went to the other entrance where the tenant could not avoid us. We later learned my brother’s new roommate had problems with this guy. They got in a shouting match over why he wouldn’t pick up the telephone so he could arrange to move his stuff in. The previous tenant explained, “My parents are in town. My parents are the most important thing in my life. When they are around I do not pick up the telephone. My roommates wanted me to sell their things for them, but my parents came in town. You think if I will not help out my friends during this time that I would pick up your calls?” Fortunately to us he was civil.

After moving the boxes in we decided it was time to eat. We went to my favorite spot, Leonardo’s Pizza. Back when I went to college in Tallahassee and I was returning to or leaving from Miami I would always stop in Gainesville for one of their vegan pizzas.

The line this night was very long and our big city ways made us quickly impatient over the leisurely pace of Gainesville. They had to make our pizza from scratch and since we were hungry we ate a bunch of their garlic rolls. This forced us to lose our appetite, so we changed our order to be to go. More time elapsed and now we were both tired from the long drive. So we went up to the cashier and asked if they delivered. They said yes. So we asked if they could deliver the pizza and us to his address a mile away.

We were left walking with the added responsibility of getting a box of pizza back to the house before any bugs or alligators had a chance to chomp on it.

Click here to read Tales from the Swamp – Part 2

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