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SADY, a person with poor apartment-choosing skills, calls her landlord. Her GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE attends.

SADY (on phone): Hi, this is Sady? We have a problem. The lock on the apartment door is broken. My boyfriend and I went out for groceries, and now we can’t get in. We could really use your help.


SADY: Voicemail.


SADY, now drinking a beer from the sack of groceries and sweating profusely, calls her landlord. Her GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE, also sweaty, is still in attendance.

SADY (on phone): Hi. This is Sady. Your tenant? I don’t know if you got my last message, but the lock on the apartment door is broken. We can’t get in. We’re probably going to break the door down? But I just want the record to show that we did try to reach you, the landlord, first. Before we broke the door down. Which we will do. If we don’t hear back.

GA: No luck?

SADY: Oh, look, he’s calling.


LAUREL, a Landlord, stands in the hall with SADY and a GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE.

LAUREL: How is the lock broken?

SADY: It’s broken in that, when you put a key in it, and turn it, it does not then become unlocked.

LAUREL: Don’t you have your keys?

SADY: We both have keys. When we put them in the door, they do not work. Because the lock is broken.

(At this point, LAUREL tries both sets of keys in the lock, multiple times. This goes on for quite a while.)

LAUREL (puzzled): Looks like it’s a problem with the lock.


The conversation, for some inexplicable reason, continues.

LAUREL: But you could just go through the side door?

GA (eerily cheerful): Well, the side door is bolted. There’s a big bolt that runs across it, that you can only unbolt from inside. And then there’s a chain that’s looped around the doorknob and bolted through the wall. And also the bed is up against the door.

LAUREL: Well, but we could just break down that door, though.

GA: But you’ve got the bolt, you know. And the chain.

SADY: And the bed.

LAUREL: Well, the bed shouldn’t be a problem. We could move that.

GA (yet more cheerful): You’re right! The bed is the least of our problems, really! Say, if you had a ladder, I could climb up through the window…


SADY and GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE are now alone on the porch, still sweating heavily, awaiting the return of LAUREL and his ladder. They are now about three beers in. Also, thanks to a generous donation from her GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE, SADY is chain-smoking.

SADY: I mean, of COURSE the lock is broken. OF COURSE IT’S FUCKING BROKEN. Because it broke, in this EXACT SAME WAY, nine months ago, and he insisted on FIXING IT HIMSELF instead of BRINGING IN A PROFESSIONAL LOCKSMITH and now it is BROKEN. AGAIN.

GA: Look. I’m just demonstrating the maximum amount of compliance here. Because, that way, no matter what we have to do, it will be clear that we cooperated.

SADY: It’s not just this! It is the fact that the heater broke for three days in February! It is the fact that electrical outlets are installed upside-down and faultily! It is the fact that, instead of bringing in exterminators when I ask him to, he shows up HIMSELF with unspecified poisons he got from “a friend” and likely has no idea how to use! He INSISTS on doing EVERY DETAIL of building maintenance HIMSELF because it is CHEAPER and it would be FINE if he were COMPETENT but instead the entire building is FALLING APART because he is A FUCKING –

GA: Oh, hi, Laurel!

SADY: Where. Is. The. Ladder?


Back in the hall. Instead of bringing a ladder, LAUREL has brought his friend, HARDY. HARDY wears a Lynrd Skynyrd t-shirt and has no apparent profession except that he appears – as if by magic! – whenever the building has a serious problem. SADY recalls him from the time her bathroom ceiling caved in for no apparent reason, after which he plastered it up. The GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE stands near him, due to that strange code by which men are allowed to speak to men about issues relating to technology or carpentry. SADY, having made several suggestions without being replied to or even looked at, stands at the foot of the stairs.

LAUREL: What we could do is we could just take off this molding and saw through the door…

HARDY: Do you got the ladder? Go get the ladder.

LAUREL: No, the ladder’s too dangerous. We could take a sledgehammer…

HARDY: You’re gonna break the door.

LAUREL: No, I mean, we would just take the sledgehammer and swing, right here…


LAUREL: Not with a sledgehammer!

HARDY: Get the ladder.


SADY and the GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE sit outside, drinking and (in SADY’s case) chain-smoking with a strange repressed fury.

GA: All I am saying is that when I stood next to them on that staircase, I felt as if I were on Mount Olympus, attending a summit of the gods.

(Here follows a strange slapstick sequence in which LAUREL and HARDY emerge with a ladder, unfold it, nearly back into many power lines, and have an extended back-and-forth about who should go up the ladder first. It ends with LAUREL holding the ladder a fraction of an inch away from the edge of the doorstep on which it is perched, whilst HARDY climbs up, shoves the air conditioner belonging to SADY and her GENTLEMAN ASSOCIATE through the window, and goes around to unlock the apartment door.)




A knock is heard at SADY’s apartment door. She answers it. It is LAUREL.

LAUREL: I’m here to fix the lock.

SADY: Not to be rude, but do you think it would be all right if we got a professional to do it this time?



  1. snobographer wrote:

    It’s funny for me because I don’t have to live it.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  2. meloukhia wrote:

    “…strange code by which men are allowed to speak to men about issues relating to technology or carpentry.”


    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  3. yosafbridge wrote:

    Oh Sady I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you.
    So being unemployed and bored I decided to put my research assistant skills to use and find you some info on tenant rights in NY. Here is a link
    I read through some of it and the problems you are experiencing are covered in the section called Warranty of Habitability (including locks and pest control)
    I’ve also had few problems with my landlord. He never calls me back when there is a problem instead he asks me if I’d please have my “husband” call him to work out the problem. I have told him that I don’t have a “husband” I have a male partner aka a boyfriend and that I am listed as an equal on the lease so he’ll deal with me or he’ll deal with no one and does he think this is 1950’s? (my partner doesn’t mind dealing with the landlord we just like to piss him off my making him talk to the “Mrs.”)
    I hope I haven’t overstepped my bounds as a blog reader. I know it’s weird when a stranger on the interwebs tries to “help” but you’re my favorite writer and like I said I’m unemployed and doing research made me feel useful for a few minutes.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink
  4. madaha wrote:

    You have awesome comic timing. Thanks for the laugh, sorry for your pain.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
  5. Woah man, a landlord couldn’t get away with that kind of behaviour over here 😐

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
  6. Sparklepants wrote:

    On outlets: My dad told me once that the nose is supposed to be up. Isn’t that crazy? That way, if you drop something and it falls into that space, it’ll hit the ground prong. Is that how yours are?

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
  7. Warning! This comment will not at all be constructive or useful in any way:


    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Permalink
  8. Adrianna wrote:

    I would seriously consider moving. This rat seems like the type to try and later bill you for his “repairs”

    Anyway, I have too noticed that a job that requires tools requires “men only” talk. That’s why at work I have a hard time not pulling an “I told you so” when the boys jack up the boat trailers. Does that make me evil? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink
  9. QL wrote:

    I too have visited the land of dodgy landlords. It is not a pleasant place.

    Due to growing up on a farm I’m quite handy, though I be merely a woman, and often take great pleasure in being the only person capable of changing a tyre or wielding a screwdriver in the presence of many male associates.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
  10. My friend Renee REBUILT A CAR. She can take an engine apart and put it back together and MAKE IT WORK. She knows all about automotive shit, and never took a fucking class in her life.

    Men STILL ignore her when she tries to tell them how to fix their shit. “You? Know how to fix cars? HOW CUTE! HAHAHA WHAT A GREAT JOKE that was a good one.”

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink
  11. Maud wrote:

    It’s funny for me because I do have to live it. Laurel has brothers. They are legion. They own property all over the country. Specifically in San Diego. They will inherit the earth, despite lack of meekness. In fact, they apparently already have inherited the earth, otherwise I don’t know how they got their hands on so much property. My sympathies on your latest ordeal.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 12:33 am | Permalink
  12. elegantcurmudgeon wrote:

    That tenants-right link is the ticket. Memorize the useful parts like you’re opening as Hamlet in a week and recite them nearby whenever Landlor-daddy-o is being incompetent in or near your apartment. Also, if you have any ANY questions about NY real estate law, please feel free to ask. (I have the BOOK from taking the NY State RE license class a few years ago on a deranged whim.)

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 6:03 am | Permalink
  13. tess wrote:

    Oh, Sady! The plight of nearly every NY-er I know. And currently my own biggest pet peeve ever. We have mice. And a couple roaches here and there. I’ve asked for an exterminator, and our super’s magical solution to the problem is glue traps, to which I was all, “OH HELL NO.” So I think we’re just going to threaten to not pay our rent until it gets taken care of or hire someone ourselves and deduct it from our rent. Finding a decent landlord in this city is something I still haven’t mastered and fear I never will. Inherit the earth, the landlords shall.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 7:08 am | Permalink
  14. Librarianlord wrote:

    It is the fact that electrical outlets are installed upside-down and faultily!

    The “upside-down” part is due to code changing every few years. Ground on top means that if something falls on the plug, it’ll hit the ground first. Ground on bottom because if a plug is partially unplugged, the ground will be the last part to pull away. Each is safer for different reasons & every few years it seems that they change their minds about which is better.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  15. antiplath wrote:

    Oh Sady, you have my sympathies. Like one commenter said, this guy sounds like one of those landlords that will withhold your deposit/”charge” you for “repairs” after you’ve moved out. What an incompetent goofball. And your bit about standing around smoking in a strange fury after offering several suggestions and consummately being ignored – I can relate. Oh, how I can relate. My dad (he means well, he does) still, to this day, offers to check my car’s oil and put in coolant for me because he thinks I don’t know how EVEN THOUGH I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS MYSELF FOR OVER FIFTEEN YEARS AND HAVE DONE IT IN FRONT OF HIM. Would he do this to a son if he had one? Um, no. The list, it goes on. If I were you, I’d hire a professional locksmith, get the locks fixed, then take the amount you pay the locksmith off the rent that month and attach a copy of the receipt. Every state has different laws re: tenant rights, though, and some are harsh as all hell. Louisiana tenant laws are brutal. Hope NY is better.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink
  16. CLD wrote:

    “It’s broken in that, when you put a key in it, and turn it, it does not then become unlocked.”

    This: it made me pee my pants. In laughter.

    I apologize for peeing in laughter while you suffer.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink
  17. woland wrote:

    Ah yes. Poor apartment chosing skills. I am a person whjo fails to notice very basic things. Like that my last apartment had no grounded electrical outlets, so my slumlords had decided to DRILL A HOLE in the outlet next to the fridge to plug it in. So periodically I would plunge the whole place into darkness if I decided to, say, open the fridge door while charging my cellphone.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  18. Karen wrote:

    Heh. That’s an ironic laugh, in case it doesn’t show. Former property manager dealing with all manner of locks and toilets and things (I know what a ball cock is but it still makes me giggle). Dealing with present landlord who thinks a dishwasher that shoots water out of the metal thingie* atop the sink 6 or 7 times every cycle works perfectly. Also that I reach my 2nd floor via a ladder.

    *technical term

    P.S. I am in awe. Will be back to avidly lick up every word on these pages.

    Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  19. Karen wrote:

    Oh sure, and I know my blog’s url. Sigh. Can I have a do-over?

    Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink
  20. Helen wrote:


    Don’t answer that!

    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 3:54 am | Permalink
  21. Hypatia wrote:

    It’s funny for me because I _have_ lived it. But Sady writes it much better.

    Friday, August 28, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink