the whores who live next door
the alternate title for this post was “this city i live in”. but i feel like “the whores who live next door” has more punch. like screaming sex! and then saying, “now that i’ve got your attention.”
this is a relatively safe city. i haven’t lived anywhere that is more dangerous than here (although the island is getting to be a little unsafe what with the gun violence, but i digress) and while the bad shit that happens here is probably a lot tamer compared to other cities in this world, sometimes things happen that leave a bad taste in your mouth, especially when you realise that crap isn’t just safely tucked away on television, but it’s in your own damn backyard.
i’m about to do a weird little “remember when…” you have been forewarned.
like, years ago, i was heading home via the subway – it was pretty late in the evening as i descended to the platform. i could hear two women chatting. with each step down, the guy on the bench in the centre of the platform came a little more into view. (mom, if you’re reading this, you may want to stop now…) i remember thinking, “what is he doing? is he?… no… he can’t… is… yep. that’s exactly what he’s doing.” and then heading back up the steps to the collector who’s incredulous expression mirrored my own. shades of seinfeld played in my mind – he took… it out. about a month later i heard over the news that several other women had reported a guy that looked similar to this fella for exposing himself on trains. was months before i could comfortably go down into the subway on my own, never knowing if there would be a naked penis around the corner.
earlier this year i watched helpless across the street as some guy ripped a chained bike off a church fence. who does that?
we moved into a new neighbourhood and a few weeks ago, walking down the street, i noticed a cop car parked outside one of the houses. i’ve never seen that before. on my way back, someone had strung up crime scene tape. what the fuck does that mean? my experience with that is, as i said above, only on television. so, freaked out a little, i immediately texted everyone i knew that i would care to tell (that’s actually a lot of people) and went on with my life. later that night, on my way back home, i noticed a light on the porch and a police officer heading upstairs. there was a brown paper bag by the steps and one of those big cameras with a large flash mounted to it. spooked, i looked up in time to catch the eye of the cop in her car, i suppose keeping the lookie-loos at bay. behind her, two forensic vans. i jammed my hands deeper into my pockets and kept walking. my street is creepy enough at night without my vivid imagination conjuring up images of blood and gore. cut to me on the couch checking the news. apparently the guy who lived in that house attacked his landlord with a hand axe. who knows why people do those things? i was just glad i hadn’t left for work on time (as if i ever leave for work on time) or i might have been witness to some of the madness that apparently ensued. turns out that guy (who’s now in his 60s) was convicted of murdering his room-mate 30 years ago but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. that was living down the street from me. this is the stuff paranoid nightmares are made of.
but we get to the point of this post. all that there? is foreshadowing. you’re welcome.
this past weekend, my lazy saturday, i’m sitting on the couch with a friend. watching t.v., probably, playing games on my ipod. innocuous activities because it’s a beautiful normal weekend afternoon and why not? we get a knock on the door. there was a split second where i thought i should get my roomie to answer it. he was out back. but then i thought, why bother? it’s broad daylight. so i saunter over and open it, and this old (i’m assuming) portuguese man is standing there, looking very grandfatherly with his white moustache and thinning hair, a t-shirt and track jacket. probably shorts and sandals or those awful, large sneakers that old men wear sometimes. this man had knocked on the door before, but then i was alone and he had been apologetic. it did not go down like that this time.
the abridged conversation goes something like this:
“are you lost again?”
“no. i got a call telling me to come here.”
“here? are you sure?”
“yes, here. the girl told me to come here.”
“girl? not at this house. maybe you want the place up front. what number did she tell you?”
he proceeds to read off my number, mostly because he’s looking directly at it.
“well, it wasn’t here.”
“you sure?” at this point, he’s looking past me at my friend who, curious about this weird conversation at the door, has peeked around the corner. “you… sure?”
and then he made an obscene gesture with his tongue. and i was like… “yeh. i’m sure.” and slammed the door in his face.
now, at first it didn’t bother me, but the more i thought about it the more i realised somebody’s sweet grandfather just propositioned me at the door of my own house. my skin crawled. my skin is still crawling. i figured i needed to tell my landlord, so someone could keep an eye out for this pervert. unfortunately my landlord wasn’t there, but the guy up front could tell i was upset so he, like any concerned citizen, asked what was up. and i, like any dramatic female, told him.
to which he responded, “yeah… that’s happened before. there are hookers next door.”
just… as a matter of fact. like, “we got a lot of rain this summer,” or “yeah, the garbage goes out on wednesdays.” because, you know, everyone has hookers living next door. he pointed out the camera mounted on one of the second floor windows. why would i have noticed that? and i started to think of the random collection of men that you’ll sometimes see wandering in and out of the alley.
i hope they weren’t trying to keep that shit secret because i told everybody (clearly, because i’m telling you all). it probably isn’t all classy up in their piece like it is in that painting above (i think that’s one thing television isn’t lying to me about), but i have to live with it now and i’m going to believe it is. we do what we can to get by.
i wonder if they’re friendly?
image via you offend me you offend my family