A FASTidious Credit Report, by Jake Tuck

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Dear Landlord,

We at FASTidious Credit Reporting have reviewed the credit history of your prospective tenant, Glen Hodge, and offer this prompt report. First, we should say that Mr. Hodge has an ostensibly stellar credit history. By the standard scoring method, he received an “excellent” score of 830. He pays all his credit cards and bills on time, save one instance when he was hospitalized after attempting to save an elderly man from a burning house. So his credit is, on the surface, largely immaculate. However, we at FASTidious do not like surface impressions, such as that of the sun in a calm lake; underneath, the lake may contain violent fish. Anyway, we dove into the lake of Mr. Hodge’s credit and found a mess of broken promises. Also, a child’s boot, which was rather macabre, but irrelevant. Thus, we recommend that you decline his application.

To wit: Upon a chance meeting with one Leonard Feller on May 18 of this year, Mr. Hodge agreed to attend a dinner party at the Feller residence; yet, when the day arrived, Mr. Hodge stopped by the Feller house and professed his sincerest apologies regarding his need to cover for a soup kitchen volunteer who had taken ill. Despite the rather delicious deviled eggs he provided to the Fellers for the party (he also gave some to our surveillance agents parked in front of the house), Mr. Hodge failed to fulfill his promise to attend, and his FASTidious Credit Report suffered as a result.

Additionally, after speaking to Mr. Hodge’s college friend Mike Thorton, we learned that in 1999 Mr. Hodge borrowed $300 from Mr. Thorton in order to buy a suit for a local homeless man with a job interview that day. Mr. Hodge paid Mr. Thorton back within a week, with Mr. Thorton’s requested pie interest (interest in the form of pie), but a FASTidious investigation of discount suits in the area showed that $300 was an exorbitant amount to borrow for a suit—he could easily have purchased one for $200. Thus, his score tumbled once more.

Going further back into Mr. Hodge’s history, we find further blights. in 1996, Mr. Hodge went on a date with one Sally Kleinstalk. They had a good time and upon parting Mr. Hodge promised to call Ms. Kleinstalk “soon.” He called her 20 hours later. We investigated and concluded this report faster than that, and we were barely trying. Ms. Kleinstalk and Mr. Hodge are now married, but you get the point.

In high school, Mr. Hodge was a straight-A student, president of his class, and founder of the “Friends of Fiscal Fortitude” club, which taught lessons in prudent personal finance to underprivileged youth. However, a closer look at Mr. Hodge’s high school record reveals a telling episode. In his sophomore English class, Mr. Hodge allegedly handed in an essay a week before it was due, to get his teacher’s advice on how to improve it. The teacher, an inveterate drunk later convicted of wire fraud, claimed never to have received the paper. Mr. Hodge rewrote the paper and handed it in on time, received an A+, and went on to publish it in an acclaimed journal of literary criticism. (Wait, sorry, that episode doesn’t really tell us anything, although the essay is fairly thought-provoking if you’re interested in early Faulkner.) Ah, here’s what we were looking for: Mr. Hodge missed several days of school that year due to something called “influenza,” which sounds to us like a made-up nonsense word. His FASTidious Credit Report thus suffers further.

Finally, we transmit the sordid tale of a two-year-old Mr. Hodge and Bear Bear, the beloved teddy bear of Miles Wooden, a pre-school playmate. On the afternoon of November 10, 1980, Mr. Hodge awoke early from nap time, ambled over to a sleeping Mr. Wooden, and pulled Bear Bear form under the boy’s arm. Only after Mr. Wooden woke up and cried for several minutes did Mr. Hodge return a saliva-laden Bear Bear. I surely hope you would not want a tenant with a record of stealing stuffed animals from children, licking them, then returning them.

These and other incidents lead us to conclude that Mr. Hodge belongs in debtor’s prison, except one that won’t produce historically significant rebellions, like whichever one Daniel Shays was in. And to allow Mr. Hodge to rent an apartment in your building would be to allow into your midst a wretched deviant capable of far more than failure to pay rent. You might meet him while investigating his credit, and he might promise to stop by and check out your collection of 18th century stoves; but he will not do so very quickly, and when he does you will be able to tell it’s not because of a genuine enthusiasm for stoves, but because he wants you to give him a good credit report.

Best,

FASTidious Credit Reporting

Jake Tuck writes screenplays and other things. He is known to be a man for all seasons.

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