I finished classes and decided to go over to the building. I really didn't have time but I had a pile of undergrad quizzes to grade and felt like putting it off a bit. I justified going over there because I don't have anything to drink at home (AUD 110 quizzes require alcohol of some kind) and there's a liquor store about half a block from the Kavach building. I could look at the building for a minute, maybe on the off chance the gate's finally been left open, and then buy a bottle of two-buck Chuck or its local equal when nothing happens.
I parked over on Heliotrope and walked up the street to the building. There was a Korean woman there, just unlocking the gate to go in. I'm guessing Korean because it's right by Koreatown, but I guess she could've been Japanese or Chinese or Laotian or something. I wish Alice had been there. Alice claims she can tell Asian nationalities apart on sight.
I'd never seen her before. She was about my age, maybe a little older. Great body (the bitch). She was wearing really sharp clothes. I'm not much of a clotheshound but I could tell they were expensive. A lot more than an Architecture grad student can afford, anyway. She had an iPad and she was chatting away on her phone. It all said professional.
She saw me standing there, hung up, gave me this big smile and asked if she could help me. We talked for a few minutes. I was going back and forth between elated and shocked. I can't remember all of it word for word, but here's the jist of it. Her name's Toni (got a glimpse at her business card) and she works for a company called Locke Management. They run the building. Or maybe own it. I wasn't sure. The angry German guy, Oscar, he works for them, too. They've got a website (business card again) and everything. I already glanced at it--its pretty slick. She was there to show an apartment to someone.
So I asked if I could see the apartment too and she got kind of weird. Just a subtle thing. It was like I'd gone from harmless to annoyance in half a second, but she was too professional to actually show it. She kept smiling, but she was pretty firm that she only had the one apartment to show and she'd already made arrangements to show it to "Mister Tucker" who was going to be there any minute now.
I asked if I could just look around anyway and explained that I was an architect (small lie) and really interested in the building. Toni got even more intense that i had to leave. She did not want me in the building. She said it would look bad for her if there was someone else there when her potential tenant showed up. I pulled out my phone and tried to take a picture of the KAVACH over the door and she got super insistent. Put her hand over the lens and everything.
I said okay and put the phone away and she relaxed and smiled the big smile again. She offered me a business card, but it was kind of automatic, like a closing she'd rehearsed a lot and couldn't stop herself from doing. I got one good look and she took it back, apologized and said it was her last one. She needed to save it for the potential tenant (Mister Tucker).
I went down the corner so I was kind of hidden from her by some of the trees and stuff. About ten minutes later a Volkswagon Bug pulled up. Mister Tucker was some scruffy looking guy around thirty or so. They talked for a minute and went in.
Something I thought of once I'd calmed down. I've been checking out this building for almost two years now. Taken at least a hundred photos of it (I took one more while they were talking, but tried to be subtle about it). I've never seen a sign for Locke Management anywhere. Nothing on the fence or the lawn or the door. I've been in LA for almost six years now, moved four times since I got out of the dorms, and I have never even heard of Locke Management.
And who carries only one business card?
|Toni is behind the sign post. "Mister Tucker" is behind the tree.|
I think it would require serious effort to take a worse picture.