Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 28: Today

This will be more than 666 characters.

Around 1:30 this afternoon, I was on the phone with a friend, both of us complaining about how much laundry we have to do. I'd just come in from hanging sheets in the brisk October breeze when I heard it: pop! pop!

I looked out the front window. "I think that was a muffled gunshot," I told her. I see two white guys running down my street.

My house faces the side of a house; the front of that house is on the street that ends at mine, in a T. It is a two-family, upstairs and down, and I'm puzzled by what is going on there. There are screaming fights in the street at all hours; my next door neighbors seem involved with them in some way but I'm uncertain how. Most of the summer, an orange extension cord ran from my neighbor's house, crossed the street, and went into the window I knew to be in the stairwell to the second floor apartment. I also knew that a skinny white guy and his--girlfriend? a skinny white girl, seemed constant. But otherwise lots of comings and goings and yellings and some of what police would call "domestics" .

As I stepped onto my porch, I saw Dwayne, the guy next door who sees Michael Jackson in the clouds, on his cell phone. I get off my own phone call and ask him what happened.

"I'm trying to reach 911. I think somebody's been shot."

I dial 911 and cross the street just as a dad from my kids' school does as well. He reaches the garage that faces their alley first, where I can hear someone wailing in pain. The school dad gets down next to the young guy, the skinny white guy I see over there, and he and another passerby start talking to him and trying to use a scrap of curtain they find to stop the bleeding.

There's a lot of bleeding. Like TV amounts. Like more than I've seen in real life.

I finally get through to 911 and give her my address. "My neighbor's been shot."

The skinny girl is running up and down the street wailing and pulling at her hair. A friend of hers (I guess), another young girl, Mexican, mascara streaming down her face, asks me, "Why? Why would they shoot Roy? Roy! Why Roy?" and then moments later, a bit more together, as the 6 police SUVs pull up and the fire truck arrives and the ambulance, she says to me and Dwayne, "I gotta get out of here, I got warrants."

Turns out, skinny girl is Dwayne and Jackie's granddaughter. And the building is bank-owned, the former owners got foreclosed on. The granddaughter learned about the empty house across the street and moved herself on in. Squatted there with Roy.

Seems that Jackie and Dwayne supported this for a while, with the electric cord and whatnot, but over the last month things have gotten ugly.

Neighbors gathered. A woman who had been in the parking lot of the auto parts store on the corner had the most information and was sharing it with the police. More police SUVs came by, and then U-turned and ran up the main drag at high speed. Detectives arrived. The ambulance left with Roy--he'd been shot in the ass, he'd be fine--and the fire truck left. The street was blocked off with police line tape and the crime scene van came by.

I went back inside but watched through the window. Eventually the vehicles left and the Mexican girl came back. I watched while skinny little granddaughter in her microskirt, calm now, sold her puppy to a blond woman in a minivan.


  1. This is rough to read. The world just keeps on being rough, breaking my/our hearts.

  2. OMG... if this were fiction I would be applauding the fast-paced action and the interesting detail, but OMG, to have been in the middle of all this crazy, dark reality...

  3. Yes, I felt like Helen. Damn, this is great as fiction, but terrifying as fact.

  4. Good grief. I can't imagine it. Sending hugs.