neighborhood watch BY TYLER BUSEY
This lesson begins when the Hardings moved out. Iâ€™d been living next to them for the past two years and the little family kept nice and quiet while they resided in the house next door. Christine invited me over for dinner once or twice a week so I crossed the dirty alleyway that separates our places on a regular basis for some free eats. Tony had a classic case of the never-want-to-grow-ups, and he was good company when I didnâ€™t feel like smoking alone. They even had me break into their house through a back window to feed their dogs when they got stuck at the Denver airport one winter. When Christine got pregnant they decided to move out to the suburbs where the neighborhoods seem to have a better grip on sanity. To tell the truth, I never really gave the couple much thought until they moved out in the early summer.
The dumpy little two-bedroom sat vacant for about a month before a sizable group of twentysomething’s charged my area like goddamn bulls. Because of the drastic changes they brought, I was immediately interested in this erratic group of burnouts for reasons I didn’t fully understand at the time. They were instantly high-profile; impossible to ignore. The music was playing twenty-four hours a day and a noticeable amount of foot traffic picked up in the first week. I don’t have much experience with selling drugs but I can spot a drug dealer when I need to. Everything from motorcycles to mopeds began showing up on my street at all hours of the day and night. I could hear them talking, fucking, yelling and drinking seven days a week from the safety of my covered back-porch. They seemed to have no use for discretion: they were too confident to be caught.
The bass and the constant presence of shadylooking people don’t particularly bother me: I can shut out parts of the world completely if I want it bad enough. The supposed drug dealing didn’t shake me up either – everyone has to make rent. Yet there I sat, night after night, sipping on beers and making mental notes about the ongoing shitshow. Maybe I thought I would have to deal with the cops eventually? Or maybe I’m just nosey. One thing was for certain: they weren’t just partying… they’re wild on some other shit.
One especially hot night a fight broke out in the kitchen and there was a series of gun shots from inside the house. It was that night I decided to do something about this situation; I didnâ€™t want them there anymore, and I wasnâ€™t moving.
I became pseudo-obsessed and emotionally connected to the pandemonium across the alley. After work every day I sat on the porch with a good book and sub-consciously took note of their comings and goings. Finally, after a few weeks of this, I caught a bit of loud back-yard banter that informed me of their trip out of town the next Friday to go see a concert. All of the roommates would be gone for the entire night.
By the time midnight rolled around on the night of their show I was ready to go. The cars had left a few hours before and silence had taken over the grounds. I left through my back door under the cover of night and hopped the two back fences on either side of the alleyway between our buildings. Just as I expected, the broken window I had used before to help out the Hardings hadnâ€™t been fixed and it popped open with almost no effort.
I began making my way silently through the dark house with my heart jumping up into my throat every time I turned a corner. The meticulous search of the basement turned up nothing so I headed upstairs. I had barely started on the first level when I found about a quarter lb. of grass in the kitchen cupboard and another quarter lb. in the linen closet. I knew theyâ€™d been working out of the home. One of the upstairs bedrooms showed me an enormous bag of coke and a handgun, and the next one produced a small stack of dirty cash. I left all the used-dime bags, fancy pipes, expensive electronics, and other random valuables untouched. This wasnâ€™t about robbing them blind, it was about a lesson in discretion. I had to hit them where it hurts.
I left silently through the same window and made certain it was closed tightly before vaulting the fences again. I grabbed my bike and headed west towards the downtown district with my freshlyloaded bag. This was the easiest part: everybody likes cheap drugs. The weed was gone in just three phone calls. Then I picked up a friend and we biked to a massive apartment building where we met his acquaintance who took the blow and the gun off my hands. The entire process - including biking and stopping at the liquor store for a six-pack â€“ took less than five hours. I locked my bike at my friendsâ€™ place and took a cab home as the night sky began to grow lighter. I wanted to be back in time for the show.
I cracked my second beer at daybreak when I heard my neighbors get back home. The usual hip-hop beat started and everything seemed normal for about a half hourâ€Ś and thatâ€™s when it all took off. The screaming and frantic moving of furniture was like music to my ears. The slamming of doors and an assortment of fights continued well into the morning. I sat there with just under four grand tucked tightly under my mattress and a big smile on my face.
About a week later they were evicted for not paying rent or too many noise complaints from the other neighbors or something. I took their stock, I stole their source of income, and most importantly I reminded them that there is always someone paying attention - especially when you arenâ€™t. The use of discretion is a powerful thing.
loosely based on â€œhouse keysâ€? by brother ali