Zalman Velvel began this book of stories by taking some of his early experiences as a landlord, and then removed his character from each. In that place, he put a fictional landlord, an Afro-American man named Charles Largent.
Charlie the Landlord, as he was known to his tenants, was the first person in his family to ever own a rental property, or even his own home. Zalman thought it would be interesting to see the “attitude adjustments” someone would go through as they transitioned from being a tenant, to being a landlord.
The Dead Baby Story is far and away the most popular story Zalman has ever written. It is about the best excuse ever given a landlord for not paying rent. The title just draws people in, like a highway accident ... but there is value after the title.
Disposable People is about a young girl and her baby. She is abandoned by her husband on her 18th birthday … the same day she is being evicted. Charlie must decide if being a landlord is just business, or is there more to it?
Fred’s Diary is about the first time Charlie discovers a tenant that has died, all alone, in one of his apartments. He finds a brief, but revealing diary that he will never forget.
No Damn Good deals with a young thief that is living in Charlie’s apartment building, whom the Police are powerless to stop. If Charlie doesn’t do something soon, he is going to lose his tenants, and then the building he scrimped and saved for.
Fire! is about a catastrophic fire that Charlie has in his building, a building he fixed with his own hands and sweated over. It is caused by the carelessness of one of his tenants, and Charlie is at the lowest point in his life, ready to give up.