“Woa, Lady, how did this become my problem?” I barked into the phone’s receiver. The property manager from the Hampton’s apartment complex, the place the team stayed at in Durham, was on the phone with me. She had a sweet Carolina countenance to her—until I started yelling, anyway.

“It’s not a problem, sir, we just don’t have any record of when you left the apartment complex, so we don’t know what to charge you for.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” I moaned, “I signed out and made sure too…” Crickets on the other end of the line.  “Uhg… Well, I’m going to have to pull up the Bull’s season calendar and see what day I left. Hold on.” I pinched the phone with my head and shoulder so I could twiddle on my laptop. “I was released in September while Gwinnett was in town… It was a Monday night… The 29th. I checked out the next day, the 30th.  I turned my keys in that day.”

“You were released?”

“Yes,” I said with no minor amount of irritation, “I was. Now, more to the point, I remember signing something before I left because I’m anal about what get’s written off on my taxes.”

“Of course you are, sir.” Said the lady.

“You’re not going to charge me extra are you? You said I could just walk out when I signed the lease?” And That’s why I went with that rental instead of some other place, like the hotel down town. Since you travel 15 games a month, you’re paying for 15 days you’re not in the place. A hotel actually makes more sense, unless you have family and need a mobile command center.

All things considered, The Hamptons weren’t the nicest apartment, but it was furnished and I didn’t have to buy bowls and pillows and an air-mattress, just a some trash bags, string cheese, and beer—and I made sure to clean up my empties so I better not get charged.

“You’re fine. We just need the date, and now that we have it, we’re all set.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, sir. We’re just closing the books on the Bulls renters for this summer. Some of the guys didn’t even turn in their keys. They just left. We’re still trying to get our keys back so you’re small potatoes.”

Probably the guys who just got called up, I thought. “Good luck getting those back,” I said, “you’d be better off just getting new keys and billing them. But don’t worry, they got the money now, they’ll be fine”

“Were there a lot of call ups this year?”

“About par for the course,” I said.

“Do they normally not turn in their keys when they’re called up?”

“Hard to tell, but with the pay checks they’re getting now, If I were you, I’d send bills first and ask questions later. They’ll probably just send you a check to shut you up since I’m sure the last thing on their mind is where their minor league apartment keys are. I know it’s the last thing on my mind.”

“But you didn’t get called up, you said you were released.”

“… yes, that’s right, dearie, I did, didn’t I?”