‘Was the last tenant a smoker?’ too innocent a question to unsettle the super so.

‘No! Smoking is prohibited in the building!’, he replied with terse finality. ‘Goodbye’ he continued to avoid her eyes. He suddenly seemed to be in a rush to go wherever it was he wanted to go to.

A decidedly abrupt ending to what was an amicable chat till then, thought Karen. He had helped her carry her boxes up the stairs. He had even gone out of his way to move a rocking chair, into her apartment, from the adjoining corridor saying  ‘Abandoned by the previous tenant, its yours if you want it’.

Anyway, she was tired from her trip. It was her first time using the U-Haul truck solo and the drive from Toronto had drained her. She had expected to get to Montreal before dark.

The rental was easy enough to get to even after sunset…in the heart of the McGill ghetto. She was pleased when she found out that the rent paid for wifi too. The McGill professor, also the landlord, took great pains to remind her of this fact during their negotiations.

‘Even though it is a reconfigured townhouse from the 1800’s’ he stressed. Almost as if he knew that it did matter to her since she did not have to rush on a smart phone purchase. Her trusty laptop could do for now.

She found that her newly acquired rocking chair was a comfortable spot for some digital surfing. After checking her inbox and finding nothing of great consequence, she hopped onto Twitter.

@tomcruise-BLOG: Mind-blowing Minority Report technology for real!? Watch video of new tech pulled straight from the screen: http://clicky.me/Gspeak

Tom Cruise – her moms first love and the only reason Karen was following his verified twitter account. She almost ‘unfollowed’ him when she figured out that his PR folks were managing and ghost-writing his blog and twitter account. But this post was interesting…she liked ‘Minority Report’ and the blog post showcased a good likeness of the technology she first saw in that movie.

Then the distinct smell of cigarette smoke and someone literally breathing down her neck. The breath was ICE COLD! She froze, whirled around. Nothing. The smell seemed to be receding too.

She better take a shower and get to bed, she decided, leave the unpacking for the next day.

The water was warm and she looked forward to bed, even though it was just a mattress on the bare but recently polished wood paneled floor.

As she stepped out of the bathroom the place reeked of cigarette smoke again. It almost made her physically sick. She had to talk to the super about this. Tomorrow. Time to sleep now.

She was surprised that she found herself fearfully staring into the darkness before her, for so long. She thought she would be asleep as soon as she hit the bed.

Maybe it was the smell. ‘No! Smoking is prohibited in the building!’ Her tired mind was playing tricks on her. Convincing her she was in the audience of…

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