Tuesday, January 30
the saga of hank continues
on sunday, the man got an email from hank. it said something very much like this: “we have no money for rent and we have to be out by monday. the baby will freeze to death in this weather and we can't feed him without hot water. if he dies, my landlord will pay. i just don't see any hope for anything anymore. you've been a great boss to work for and a good friend too. i asked my family to help but no response. enjoy life and remember that some other people's lives are just hell.”
the man got hank’s landlord’s phone number and asked anastasia at the office to call it. “he owes me a month’s rent - $270,” the landlord said,“and i’m throwing him out if i don’t get it.”
the man and enid discussed the situation. hank had only just moved to this flat, which it now seemed there was no way he could afford, given his monthly income was only $160. how did he plan to make up the deficit, and buy food? just after the baby was born, his family had sent him a lot of money. had he been intending to use that money for rent? if so, where had it all gone?
but in the end, what did it matter what the reason was? enid and the man couldn’t let the newborn baby end up on the snowy streets of kernib, could they, no matter how stupid his parents were. (real question here - enid has no idea what to think about this. at what point is it ok to give up on hank? never? next month, when he can’t pay his rent again? too difficult.)
by two o’clock that afternoon, enid and the man were standing in an icy shopping mall miles outside kernib waiting for a man wearing a yellow jacket. half past, and they were still waiting.
“when i planned this weekend,” said the man, “i didn’t envisage waiting round a cold arcade waiting to give a man i’ve never met a fistful of dollars.”
“didn’t you?” enid asked. “it was exactly what i had in mind.”
at last hank’s landlord arrived, carrying a sports bag with hank’s name scrawled on in black marker pen. the landlord shook hands with them both, then launched into a barrage of russian which he fired at enid; she had to say a few words in her atrocious accent to let him know that she wasn’t the usual molvanian bride. then the man handed over hank’s rent money, and they all shook hands again.
then there was more waiting, for no apparent reason. enid and tm spent the time speculating on why hank’s bag was there. did it contain all his possessions? or the charred remains of his body? or, to be more positive, $5,000,000, because hank was really super rich and was testing them, and would now reward them for being such public-spirited people. (they were getting a bit bored and silly by this point.)
a woman in a fur-trimmed coat arrived. aha, someone who speaks english, thought enid. but no: the landlord handed the money to fur coat, who folded it and stashed it in her handbag without counting it. everyone shook hands again, then the landlord picked up hank’s bag, and departed, followed a little later by the woman.
very soon, a text came from hank thanking them. enid had very mixed feelings about it. she doesn’t feel good, she feels awkward, and irritated with hank, and if she’s really honest, she just wants to get out of the whole situation. she must be a very bad person, she thinks.