In May I wrote about a doss house I discovered while checking out accommodations in Second Life. The building was in a dreadful state of repair but even worse, the owner refused to acknowledge this lamentable fact and insisted that the property was a prime one with all the modern conveniences one could wish for. He even had the audacity to say this while cockroaches and rats were running over our feet! A terrible man with no conscience.
Recently I was informed that the landlord had actually found a tenant, so I went to speak with this person to see how he was faring. What I discovered would break even the hardest of hearts.
Old Bert joined Second Life almost three years ago. At first he had had a wonderful time, wandering around and discovering all the joys of the virtual world, however, he fell on hard times when an unscrupulous avatar managed to clean out Old Bert’s account and he was left penniless, losing his land and his home. Not willing to beg, Old Bert managed to collect some freebie clothes, but he had no where to live and was desperately looking for money. He tried camping, but that was not terribly lucrative and he felt he had too little to risk trying any sploder games in case he lost what he had worked so hard to gain. Few people seemed willing to hire Old Bert, either, saying he was not the right kind of person. However, through perseverance and the occasional bit of good luck, Old Bert was finally able to begin looking for an inexpensive place to call home.
One day while Old Bert was camping, a rather finely dressed man came by and began to talk to him. His name was Merciless0413 Stoneyheart. He told Old Bert that he owned some apartment buildings across the grid which he rented at a very reasonable rate, fully furnished. There was a low prim allowance, but Mr. Stoneyheart explained that since the flats were furnished there was no need for his tenants to rez anything beyond some personal mementoes. Since Old Bert had very little in the way of possessions this was not a concern. Mr. Stoneyheart handed Old Bert a notecard with pictures and a description of his buildings and Old Bert in fact was so desperate that he immediately handed over most of his savings to Mr. Stoneyheart, joyfully tp’ing over to “Empire Gardens” , as Mr. Stoenyheart had grandiosely named his building, ready to start his new life.
What a shock awaited Old Bert. The pictures on the notecard had not prepared him at all for the reality of the situation. Poor Old Bert peered through the grimy window of his new home, into the sad living-dining- bedroom (which Mr. Stoneyheart had euphemistically described as “open plan living”). After working up the nerve to actually enter the building, Old Bert walked through the lobby, stopping by the mailboxes and noting the laundry festooned forlornly around the place. He made his way over to a chair and sat down in despair, trying to gather up enough courage to continue on. After a few minutes he stood up and continued on. As Old Bert walked down the corridor to his new flat he passed another unit with an eviction sign on the door. Mr. Stoneyheart clearly lived up to his name. Upon reaching his door Old Bert opened it and stepped inside.
The main room was even worse than Old Bert had expected, filled with rickety old furniture and filthy appliances. Old Bert fearfully went into the bathroom, expecting the worst. His expectations were exceeded. Although the bathroom contained a toilet, sink and tub, as Mr. Stoneyheart had said, they did not seem to offer the promise of comfort or hygiene.
After this little tour of his new abode, Old Bert returned to his living-dining-bedroom, collapsed onto a bench and cried to himself “Oh, what is to become of me?”
My thanks to Boye Jervil for the photos accompanying this story.