“At least I’m still beautiful!”

When I got home last night, I was once again treated to the sight of police standing around on my block.  This time, though, they weren’t down the block; they were on my front porch.

Plus, they weren’t detectives this time.  They were uniforms.  In my estimate of the situation, the change of wardrobe meant that bad stuff was still underway.

There was a gentleman, bespectacled and with a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt, and thus something of a hipster, standing at the foot of the steps that led up to the porch.

He asked me if I knew S____.

“Yes,” I said.  “I met her once.  She lives downstairs from me.”

There are two floors in my apartment, with two apartments on each floor.  I live upstairs with my roommate, and two sets of college-age white women live in the downstairs apartments (respectively).  I guessed that the disturbance had something to do with the apartment that S____ did not live in, but rather in the apartment on the opposite side of the 1st floor, because I had been told by S____’s roommate recently that the people in the other 1st floor apartment were on the verge of eviction.

The guy in the sweatshirt was S___’s friend, and apparently had nothing to do with the police situation.  He was waiting for S___ to show up, and he looked mildly afraid; we smoked cigarettes together for a moment.

I had met A___, one of the young women who lived in that apartment.  She was very nice, and, when the block was being menaced by machine gun-toting teenagers the other week, her boyfriend ran out of the apartment with a pitbull to assist the police.

The way that things looked last night was that there was an eviction taking place.  That seemed to me to be the reason why there was all that stuff–a mattress and box spring, a bookcase, multiple tables and chairs, a Persian lamp, a glass mug full of colorful marbles–stacked with such apparent deliberation on the porch.

A____ and her boyfriend were nice, but I’ll say this: the first floor stank of marijuana all the time.  When A___ introduced herself to me and Peter a week or so before, she saw that Peter and I were on the back balcony drinking beer and provided us with this warning: “Don’t let the landlord see you out here drinking beer,” she said.  “Because if he does, he’ll think you’re also smoking weed, and then he’ll call the cops on you.”

“OK,” I said.  “We’ll keep an eye out.”

So, what I thought was happening last night was that A___ was being evicted because she and her boyfriend clearly smoked such an insane amount of weed.

But it wasn’t true.

When I saw A____ later in the night, after the police left, she was sitting on the steps of the porch waiting for a friend of hers to show.  The stack of domestic objects was still on the porch where it had been before.

When A___’s friend arrived, I was amazed: He was a dude of truly enormous size.  He had worked as a bodyguard before, and that was the reason why he was here with A___ tonight.

A____ speaks in a slight Southern drawl and is one of the most polite, courteous people I have ever met.  I asked her what had happened, and she patiently explained that A___’s roommate, “my oldest friend,” had stolen $2000 cash from A____ earlier that day.

“Why?” I asked.

“She’s a crackhead,” A____ said.

A____ had made the mistake of telling her roommate that A____ planned to buy a car that day.  She had picked it out and everything.  By that point in time, I had already developed a keen understanding of the difference between having and not having a car in Detroit, and all that that means.

Having a car dangled in front of you like that, and then snatched away, with the irreplaceable cash means of attaining that car burned up irrevocably in a glass pipe, is the most heartbreaking thing that I could imagine, at least this month.

A____’s crackhead roommate had staged a clumsy, obvious effort to make it look like there had been a break-in.  But A___’s wallet and all of her jewelry were still in the apartment, and A___ figured out what had actually happened pretty much immediately.

Figuring she’d had enough, that was when A___ moved all of her roommate’s stuff onto the porch.

I patted A_____ on the shoulder.  “I’m sorry,” I said.

She was quiet for a minute, and then she burst out laughing.  “At least I’m still beautiful!” she exclaimed.

At the foot of the stairs that lead to the porch, A___’s huge, deadly friend nodded slowly and with a smile in just one side of his mouth.

At any rate, it’s true.  A____ looks really amazing.

~ by electrorefutedrobo on August 29, 2009.

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