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LOST DEEDS, UNBALANCED LIENS / Scott Lasser DAN HAS BEEN STANDING in the lobby for five minutes when a woman in a bathrobe runs up to him and starts to yeU. "You creep, you creep. How can you work for those people, those terrible, immoral people?" Her face and neck are flushed red with anger. WhUe she is screaming, Jerry FuUer, the man Dan is waiting for, comes strolUng into the lobby. Dan knows it is Jerry from the way he's looking around, examining the ceiUng and fingering the peeling paint on the waU. Were this building a car he'd be kicking the tires. The woman has not stopped. She is Usting dates and offenses. "June seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth we had no power. My food went bad. The apartment was unbearable. I couldn't even run a fan. Last week, no hot water, and now today, no water at aU." Dan stares at her feet, at her flip-flop sandals, then up at Jerry FuUer, the architect, white-gray beard, a balding man with a bemused expression. "Tm Dan Harper," Dan says, and extends his hand to Jerry. He must side-step the bathrobe woman to do this. "Quit whUe you can," she says. "Tm sorry," Dan says to her. "TU look into it." "Like heU." She turns; her robe bUlows out Uke an evening gown to reveal legs Dan wishes he did not have to see. She storms up the stairs as if trying to break them, step by step. "Looks Uke you got a tenant problem," Jerry says. "There are a few residential tenants in the buUding. They pay no rent. This is a commercial buUding, zoning-wise, so they're here UlegaUy. They have to get out, so they're mad." "WeU, she was mad," Jerry says. "The landlord doesn't withhold services, does he?" "Of course not." Dan is improvising now. He's not sure what The Missouri Review · 27 the landlord does. "There's a lot of work going on in the buUding," he says. "There's bound to be some disruption of service during working hours." They walk to the elevator, where Tony, the operator, puts down his paper and drives them to eight, the top floor. Tony is not his real name, which is Turkish, and he speaks no EngUsh, so far as Dan can teU, though he can count to eight and knows the word ground. Dan has been in New York a year, and he no longer expects anyone to understand him. "The buUding was built in 1904," Dan explains on the way up. "As a hotel. This used to be Tin Pan AUey, very swank, prewar . World War I, that is. You'U notice there are no supports. Everything is held up by the brick waUs." Tony opens the door and they step out onto the eighth floor. It is "raw space" in New York real estate Ungo. "Like it's been bombed out," was the way Dan first described it to Alex, his friend and boss. Wires hang, floor boards warp, waUs peel, bricks flake. "It looks a Uttle rough now," Dan explains. "We'U go down to six in a minute so you can see it finished." Jerry paces around the floor, which is horseshoe shaped and Usted at eight thousand square feet. The landlord, Klein Realty, had it measured and the rentable area came to 5,437 square feet. The rest is caUed loss factor. This bothered Dan at first, renting space that did not exist. "That's the way it's done here," Alex explained. "You're a tenant; you rent the haUways and the elevator shaft and the court yards, and probably the sidewalk and part of the street." Jerry stands looking out the west-fadng window, gazing down Sixth Avenue. Dan smeUs a deal. Because Jerry is an architect he knows this is beautiful space: hardwood floors, brick arches, southern and western exposure with a low buUding to the west and a parking lot to the south. In other words, lots of Ught. And the price, eighteen doUars a square foot, work included, is below market. Jerry asks the right questions—escalations, move...


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