Just because we were roommates did not mean we all got along all the time. The Teahead of the August Moon’s name was on the lease, and he had the final say on who moved in. The Teahead liked Buddy. Buddy had been his friend since they were growing up in Newport. So that was how Buddy came to live at the Folkie Palace.
At the Folkie Palace, we had folksingers (me), a semi-failed monastic- the Monk, a serious investigator of odd corners of the world – my friend Bill, a failed Jesuit, and others who wandered in and out. Many were washed out students from local colleges and universities. The siren call of a bohemian lifestyle erasing any dedication to academic pursuits. And now there was Buddy. Buddy was a law student who tossed around terms like perpetuity, accord and satisfaction, ad litum, and additur like the rest of us employed four-letter words.
Buddy seemed destined to wear three-piece suits. And so, on the few times he joined us at the Harvard Gardens, he stood out among the jeans, turtlenecks, T-shirts, and assorted jackets of our crew. We all noticed that he didn’t fit in; everyone else in the bar noticed that he didn’t fit in, and even Buddy knew he didn’t fit in. Buddy was a teetotaler.
After about three months at the Palace, we got Buddy to unbend enough to have two beers with us. He was glassy-eyed and half asleep before he finished the second, and we realized why he had so closely guarded his sobriety. He had almost zero tolerance.
So there he sat, propped up between two of us when an unwelcome presence arrived in the form of our landlord. He came on strong with a demand for a rent increase but soon followed up with numerous other complaints and threats. He went on in this vein for some time with a rising tone that eventually woke up Buddy.
Buddy awoke with a strange light in his eyes, “I hate to obtrude into this matter, but it appears that you may be in error about the rights and privileges pertaining to this issue…as was distinctively laid out in Fishbein vs. Murphy…” and so it continued. Buddy looked like he was borrowing expressions and gestures he had noted lecturer’s use in law school; he then moved on to discuss eruditely nine hundred and fifty years of English Common Law. ” …and so plaintiff would clearly…” Our landlord was now looking glassy-eyed and more than a bit scared. He was a bully, and he did not like how Buddy’s legal knowledge erased his ability to intimidate us. In this cat and mouse game, the mouse had turned. Our landlord held up his hand, ” OK, wiseguy, we’ll forget all this for now, but just make sure I receive my checks on time.”
We carted Buddy home and dropped him onto an unoccupied mattress three piece suit and all. The following day he remembered little except for a dream in which he stood in a court arguing before a spectral jury. Each ghost seemed to look strangely like our landlord. He shuddered at the recollection.
Soon after, the handyman showed up to fix all the broken fixtures, cracked windows, and other issues we had complained about over the previous two years.
It didn’t take a genius to see that Buddy was our good luck charm.