I came home tonight to Tony, my landlord, and Tony his assistant, known respectively as Big and Little Tony; as they were busy yelling at some rather large yet forlorn crackhead who was trying to gain entrance to my building by slamming his head into the glass front door and screaming – “Lemme in!”
Of course Tony, Big and Little, were inside of the building standing on the lobby stairs while both of them were shouting something warm and heartfelt no doubt. But luckily I couldn’t hear either of them because unluckily I was outside standing on the sidewalk behind mister crackhead and here in lies the rub! What am I suppose to do with our newly installed security system when there’s a, well, a crackhead in the ointment, so to speak? It wasn’t like I really wanted to overexert myself by brushing aside the poor miscreant and key in my building code with one hand as with the other I run interference keeping him at bay and then once safely inside close the door in his face! And standing outside in the cold after a hard day of diligent drudgery while this pathetic story unfolds itself was not my idea of an entirely good use of my quality free time either.
And sure in reality I could have just as easily smacked him on the head or beat him to the ground which upon doing so I’m only too sure that Tony and Tony would have then given me my very own key to the laundry room or repainted my bathroom in any shade or hue that I wanted. But does that really do any good and do I really want to get involved in what is obviously a private property dispute and actually its not my property and I really don’t see the advantage of keeping out one aimless dope fiend when the whole building is populated with such! And besides unlike the Tonys who seem to go around in packs I gotta walk these streets alone at all hours of the night and day and the last thing I need is an upset drug addict who’s nursing hurt feelings seeking to extract a vendetta against me or my pitiable car!
Meanwhile inside the lobby I could see a small crowd of my fellow tenants gathering behind Big Tony as Little Tony turns and bounds up the stairs on his way to calling the cops and as the front windows were starting to steam up a bit from their collective breaths I buttoned my coat to ward off the cold night air and said “Ah, excuse me but could you go bang your head down the street? I need to get inside to go home and you’re blocking the door, besides they’re just gonna throw you back out even if you do make it inside before the cops come.”
And you know? I always tend to forget that spastic fiending crackheads are not beings of logic!
“Youse gots sum muny man!” He said as he turned around to face me. “Cuz I needs a few dallar! Youse live here, youse musta gots sum muny!”
And sure I suppose to the untrained eye of a homeless indigent dope smoker that my state of the art single occupancy efficiency unit apartment building looks a lot more hospitable then it is. Though why he didn’t just wander his jonesing ass over two blocks to the luxury condominiums with all the BMWs parked out front and press his little battered face against their glass walled foyer and ask for money I’ll never know? But the fact remains that he hadn’t and I was still nowhere nearer to getting home and I was either going to have to risk an infectious rabid crackhead bite as I rushed the front door or I was gonna stand out here twiddling my thumbs until the cops came and we both knew that that wasn’t going to be anytime soon! Yet what I was really impressed by was the fact that my landlord and about five other cowering tenants all saw the predicament that I was in dealing with this crackhead, who was now sprawled on the ground in front of the door and seeing that did nothing other than stare out at the two of us as I calmly tried in vain to negotiated my entrance into the building.
“Doh’n I knows youse?”
“Surely my good man, you jest!” But after I had said that I noticed that he indeed did look a tad familiar. Though for some reason I find that most dissidents of the streets tend to look a bit like someone that I know or knew to be more precise. But then maybe anybody would look like an old acquaintance of mine if they were covered in grim and lying at the curb. And amazingly just then a black and white squad car pulled into the alley from off of Third Street and while the vehicle was still grinding to a halt in front of me the passenger side door flew open and a large overly buff police officer bounds over towards us holding a flashlight like a club and asks me “Is this man bothering you?”
And what am I going to say to that? Yes officer, please bludgeon him to a bloody pulp with your mag-lite and then drag the carcass away so that I may enter my humble abode as I am late for my mindless TV show and scrumptious frozen dinner! But instead I just looked at this cop whose obviously a lot younger than me and said: “You know! I just don’t know what this city is coming to? I’m a tax payer who pays your salary and this man gets to sleep for free on my public sidewalk! Now why don’t you just shoot the miserable bastard like you guys usually do and let me be on my way!”
And you know? I always tend to forget that angry steroid enhanced 24 year old corn fed police officers are not beings of logic! Or in possession of a sense of humor either!
“Sir, would you please stand over here and show me some identification?”
Me show him some identification?
This was not working out. Here I was tired and really just wanting to go upstairs to my little apartment and instead of aggressively expediting the situation I had passively waited it out and somehow I was becoming the victim, if there was one in all this, and now I was going to have to provide some sort of identification to this neanderthal of a cop. Who was then going to run my name through the various legal systems looking for warrants and needless to say my past criminal history was gonna come popping up like the reoccurring bad dream that it was and somehow just because I got a big smartass mouth I was gonna be the one catching the flack tonight!
Except that fortunately as providence would have it both of the Tonys as well as a few of my fellow tenants actually came out from the relative safety of the lobby to attempt my rescue; and after forcefully shoving the front door open to dislodge the then totally prone crackhead they precariously advanced on the cops and demanded to know why they were harassing me, one of the building’s better residents, while the offending culprit that they had called them about was being ignored and allowed to continue blocking their lobby’s entrance? Of course this open display of such an obtrusive disregard for authority immediately put the cops on the defensive; where they then responded by saying that they’d been called about a man brandishing a deadly weapon and if there wasn’t one found that either someone had some explaining to do or they were gonna search everyone present until they were satisfied that there wasn’t a weapon in someone’s possession!
And in the ensuing turmoil I calmly watched mister crackhead get up and dust himself off as he then turned around and slowly wandered back down the alley disappearing into the dark of the night. Because obviously he wasn’t the main focus anymore – I was. And it was with a bit of reluctance that I started to comply with the policeman’s demands as he told me to put my hands on the vehicle and spread my legs. Where he then roughly patted me down for “weapons” while the contents of my pockets were strewn across the car’s hood in front of me to be carefully examined by the other officer. And as I had feared the eventual report from police headquarters via their radio confirmed that I was in fact a former member of America’s most wanted. Which elicited a million questions – such as: Was I still on parole? When was the last time that I’d been arrested? Does my landlord know that I’m a convicted felon? And so on and so on until I was certainly getting bored if not a bit obstinate, yet I had gotten the point that was obviously being made, which was: Don’t be such a shit disturber!
Ultimately however it wasn’t until an hour later that I finally got home to my apartment, exhausted and mentally trying to decipher if there was indeed a lesson to be learned in all this, and in the end if there was one to be learned – did I?