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It was a beautiful September day when I drove into the apartment complex where I had recently signed a lease. I had no desire to live in the dorms with a bunch of teenagers who had just left home and were busy living it up at the bars. With my own place, I figured I’d be able to study and have my peace and quiet.

I parked my clunker in the first available space in the complex. “Hey, Mel,” yelled my friend Jackie as she ran up to me while I heaved my suitcase out of the backseat. Jackie decided to come to Vermont with me. She wasn’t attending classes, but insisted that she needed a change in scenery. I was happy to have a friend with me and an extra person to help with the rent.

Mel,” Jackie said, “You made it. Mr. Carver is waiting for us upstairs.”

I followed Jackie up the stairs to the second floor where our apartment was. It was a simple two bedroom, two bathroom flat. I wasn’t about to complain since we were only paying $600 a month and it was already furnished.

Ladies,” Mr. Carver greeted us at the door.

I dropped my suitcase, panting from the climb. I really needed some exercise.

Mr. Carver,” I said, “Did we forget to sign something?”

No,” he replied. “I just wanted to make certain that you two got settled and to give you these keys.” He plopped the keys in my outstretched hand.

Hey, Mr. Carver, doesn’t the average rent for a place like this run a few hundred higher?” asked Jackie.

Are you complaining about the rent?”

No,” replied Jackie,” I just wondered why you are so willing to rent this to us so cheap.”

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