I knocked on the front door of the ancient tenement building, and after a moment a raspy voice called, "Come on in."
I opened the door, and my employer and I stepped into a narrow, dark hallway. There was a staircase that seemed to be sagging a bit to one side. An old man in a wheelchair moved slowly toward us from the back of the building.
"Miss Sleet," he said. "I am so happy to meet you. Please do come in."
"This is Marshall," she said, and he shook my hand as a door opened at the far end of the hallway and the Golden came toward us. They were all drying their hair with big fluffy towels, and they were all naked.
"We have to snake out the drain upstairs," they explained as they padded past us and up the stairs. "We'll do that later tonight. But we had to shower, since we had gym class today, and we can't use the showers at school anymore. Mr. Bostwick let us use his shower so we could clean up before dinner."
"You'll get used to that," Mr. Bostwick said as we heard a door close upstairs.
I wasn't sure about that. Now that they were at home, they weren't even bothering to put on a show of speaking normally. They spoke in some sort of rotation, each saying a phrase. The effect was something like this:
"We have to snake out the drain upstairs,"
"We'll do that later tonight."
"But we had to shower,"
"since we had gym class today,"
"and we can't use the showers at school anymore."
"Mr. Bostwick let us use his shower,"
"so we could clean up before dinner."
"Why can't they shower at school?" my employer asked.
"A few of the parents got upset, for some reason."