Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tony thinks I'm Fat

For the most part, I don’t think I care what my neighbor thinks of me.  With the exception of losing him as an odd sort of muse, I think I would get along fine if he never uttered another word to me.  There is always the peephole in my door which has brought great stories.  I think many of the stories that I currently have of him require several encounters in order to tell.  I get the exposition in the first encounter where the plot and characters are introduced.  The climax in the second encounter and I get the falling action in the third encounter.
Sometimes I have to write these blog entries like they are one long encounter in order for them to make sense.  My encounters create the data, I compile them and distill them into short bursts so that they have some coherence.  The time that takes place between these encounters can be days, weeks, even months.
One of these developing rolling encounters is the realization what Tony thinks of me.  A good portion of my encounters with Tony happen as a result of me having to walk Dante.  I have to walk him several times a day.  Tony has made it abundantly clear that he does not like to spend a whole lot of time with Bonnie/Bitch/Witch/Ugly/Numbnuts. So we run into each other outside. Often. Many of these run ins happen right on my porch because he is sitting on our “common” apartment stoop, drinking.
“Hey, Tom.  You going out?”  
“Just to walk Dante.”  Even if I were going out at this point and taking Dante with me I would have altered my plans right then and there.  I would do this to avoid him asking me to pick him up some beer or give him a ride somewhere.  
“You spoil that dog.”  He says with a smile.
“I haven’t asked him.  He might not think so.”  Dante pulled at the extendable leash.  Perhaps he knows how much I don’t like him and wanted to pull me away from him.
“I bet that dog eats better than I do.  Look at him.” He said looking longingly at Dante.  In his mind Dante must have a seat at our dinner table where he can eat gluttonously until he loses interest or gets sick, no sooner.
“He isn’t that bad. He's all muscle.” I said playfully defending the feelings and body image of my chunky peanut butter loving mutt.
“Heh.  You look like you have a lot of muscle on you then.”
I knew where he was taking aim.  I am not the thinnest of people.  I get it.  On at least two occasions mid-conversation he has thrown in a:
“Tom, are you putting on weight?”
This question immediately creates two self reflective questions in my mind.  Neither of which have anything to do with answering his question.
1) When did we become such confidants that you feel comfortable to tell me I am gaining weight?  
2) How the hell would you know? You have introduced me to our neighbors three times since I have moved into this apartment.  How would you know what I looked like from one encounter to another?  
I personally know I am overweight but its another thing to be told you are overweight by someone else.  It is also an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT thing to be told you are fat by some shithead alcoholic who has drank so much that his liver is scarred beyond normal function and has actually caused permanent brain damage.  
On another encounter, one late Sunday night Samlee and I got home from a road trip. We were unloading the car so that we would not have to do it in the morning.  As I unloaded the trunk, Tony appeared behind me, scaring the shit out of me.  He does not walk.  He does not shuffle.  He drifts.  He can approach so silently that he could easily have gotten the jump on me.  He has done it to me so many times I am sure he does it on purpose now.  
He asked if I needed help and of course I did not want him helping us.  I don’t like him.  I don’t like the idea of him touching my things.  Namely, one of the last few things left in my trunk was a shopping bag full of alcohol that we had taken with us that weekend.  I did not want him touching my booze.  The last thing I need is for him to develop an idea that Sam and I share a love of his greatest debilitating vice.  The only thing worse perhaps is he breaking the contents of the bag because he is a stumbling fool.
“Oh Tony, don’t worry about it I’ll get it in a minute.  How are you?”
“I’m good.  What did you do this weekend?”
“We had a nice time.  Did some sightseeing.  Relaxing. I had a nice time.”
“Well it looks like you did a lot of eating.”  He reached out an open hand and gave the side of my belly a pat.  I pulled away.  Luggage still in each arm.  I felt like I was standing on my front porch, naked.  But instead of telling him.  Get your fucking hands off me you fucking piece of shit. I said:
“Heh. I ate.”
“Yeah, I bet you did. Is there anything you DIDN’T eat?”  
“Heh. Funny.  Good night Tony.”
I live my life by a certain code.  I really do not like to rock the boat.  If I were to get in a fight with this man on my front porch I would have to live with the consequences for as long as I am living here.  I would have to deal with the thought this man who is home all day and as far as I can tell awake all night has proximity to our cars, our apartment, my dog, and of course my wife.  
-Could he scratch my or Sam’s car?  
-Could he break into my apartment while Sam and I are on one of our trips?
-Could he call the management company and complain anonymously about my dog?  
-Could he get in one of his screaming arguments he has with Bonnie, with my wife?

I don’t know. Wrong answer, Tom.  But he has told me “We don’t call the cops around here.  If you have a problem you talk to me about it.”  It’s not that I am not willing to ever “rock the boat.” It’s just that it is going to have to take a bit more than some asshole reminding me I am fat.  Which is good for the microcosm of the international state of affairs of my apartment complex, but not exactly healthy psychologically.
Finally, a few weeks ago I had an encounter with Tony.  But for the first time since I moved in here it happened in my subconscious sleep.  In my dream, Sam and I were going to go out.  But I had to take Dante out first.  So, I was walking Dante in my dream when Tony approached me.  He grabbed my belly and asked me if I was gaining weight.  Dream Thomas does not have the same regard for boat physics that Reality Thomas carries.  
Dream Thomas flew off the handle at him.  
Cursing incoherently at him telling him if he were to ever say another word to Dream Thomas he would put him in the ground.  Dream Tony was not expecting this and recoiled.  Dream Thomas continued his rant insulting Dream Tony’s failing mental health and that a soon to be babbling man child was in no position to point out the vices of other people.  Dream Tony, you are a piece of shit.
Dream Thomas felt vindicated.  Dream Thomas had a moment.  Dream Tony did not say a word (finally!) and walked away.  Dream Thomas went back inside with Dream Dante and told the story to Dream Samlee.  In my dream, we were getting ready to go out, so I started changing to leave.  Sadly, this is when my Freudian superego had to start over-thinking things, it could not let my id think that what happened was acceptable.  
So logically, Dream Tony swung my front door open and proceeds to get into a fight with me in my own house.  Dream Thomas standing there at the end of the hallway while Dream Tony is standing in the doorway.  Of course, Dream Thomas is standing there exposed, in his underwear cursing at him at the top of his dream lungs.  
Both of them swearing to hurt one another.  Dream Tony telling Dream Thomas he better watch his back.  Dream Thomas daring Dream Tony to enter the house.  Dream Thomas despite being more furious than a hornets nest wanted Dream Tony to be given a legal reason to be attacked.  Breaking and entering.  Even in a state of raving lunacy I still had the foresight to keep Dream Thomas out of prison.  Dream Thomas crossed the hallway at Dream Tony and suddenly I woke up.  
When I awoke I pushed my face off the pillows and I was stunned that I was still angry. It was amazing.  It was as if my ego wasn’t able to close the door fast enough and repress my emotions and thoughts.  The feeling of anger from yelling at Dream Tony.  The intense feeling of humility at being seen in my underwear in front of this person who obviously thinks less of me.   
The memory was so fresh it took me a few moments to realize it was a dream.  Asking myself where I was, when the event could have happened if it did.  Slowly the reality of it being a dream set in and I was a little melancholic about it.  Glad that I would not have to worry about getting into an open conflict with him but still wishing he could push me to the point where my superego would tell my id and my ego:
“Go ahead, this guy has it coming.”

Saturday, September 15, 2012

For Sale

My neighbor at one time sold used cars.  For obvious, organic brain disease-y reasons, he is no longer working.  When he is not waiting for disability or social security checks I believe he still sells the occasional car.  This is in addition to whatever illegal things he is doing by selling gold or trying to sell the worthless bedbug ridden discards he finds in the dumpster next to our apartment.  
    A few months ago, my neighbor excitedly pointed out his latest purchase.  For $800 he bought a blue heavily used Astrovan which he claimed had only 120k miles on it.  He said he was going to clean it up, detail it, and sell it for $1,600.  But left it open to the possibility he might give the car to his neighbor upstairs to get "fringe benefits". I shudder to think what that would entail.  He reminded me he sold this guy the car he currently drives, a white police interceptor complete with a polished chrome searchlight on the drivers side door.  
I am NOT a stalker.
At the car wash...
He kept to his word.  Over the course of two or three months, he would wash this car religiously every other day regardless if the car was driven anywhere and regardless of any drought precautions that were in place at the time.  Through his hardwork and dedication he was able to obtain a wonderfully dull, faded, evenly scratched surface you can only get through diligent repeated soapless, polishless carwashes with old t-shirts and dishrags.
This van and his rusted trash-heap are taking up the best parking spaces for our building.  Neither car moves from these spot.  He is convinced that if he were to move the cars to another spot they would be ripe for the taking by thieves.
I think its obnoxious that someone:
2) Does not have a license due to his ALCOHOL INDUCED DEMENTIA and his repeated DUI’s,
4) DOESN’T WORK, has two cars, in the best spots, and one of them is up on jacks and bricks.  It is as though he wanted to make sure when I invited friends or family over they would know before they even got out of their cars that I was renting in a real grade A joint.  
One night while Sam and I were having dinner we heard a fight upstairs.  Their fights are aggravating not because they are having them but because it's incredibly hard to discern what they are saying. It's as if the teacher from the old peanuts cartoon was getting into an argument with her male counterpart. Later that night I saw him washing the cars again but this time he moved the van to the other side of the parking lot  To showcase the car better he parked the car at an angle so that it took up two spots.  Spots in the area I typically park my car so that I don’t have to worry about him getting the itch to clean my car with his dirty dishrags.
Operators are standing by...
The very next morning, it had a for sale sign on it. $1,600 OR BO.  Yes.  That is his number if any of you are interested.  But I suggest you keep reading before you call.  
On Labor Day, I labored an evening shift at the hospital.  I got home at nearly 11 at night.  When I pulled up I saw Tony, he looked panicked he was pacing back and forth on the sidewalk in front of our apartment.  
“Tony? Is everything okay?”
“No.  They are coming for me, man.  I gotta go.” This would not be the first time the cops have come to the house, so him getting picked up is not something outside the realm of the possible.  He was drunk.  I didn’t have current evidence to back that up, only probability.  It was late.  He was outside.  He wasn’t making a lot of sense.  Plus, he is always drunk.  It would be pretty fantastic if he is this freaked out during one of the few times in his life that he is sober.  
“Where are you going to go?”
“I don’t know.  I just gotta...”  He trailed off for a second as he watched a car drive up towards us and then pass. “...go. They are coming for me.”
“Won’t they find you? Don’t you still have that ankle bracelet on?”
“No, man.  I cut that off days ago.”  He smiled and suddenly he did not seem so panicked.  He pulled up his pants leg to reveal his bare ankle.  
“Who is coming for you then?”  I said moving towards my front door.
“Eh.  The assisted living people.  You know?  Bonnie has had it.”  He is walking a few steps behind me.  When I stop at my door, he walks ahead to the stairs leading to his apartment, each action he makes is methodically taken.  The simple act of moving his hand to put it on the banister appears to channel as much focus as someone trying to levitate or bend a spoon with their mind.
“Bonnie is going to stick me in assisted living.”
“Why?” As in why hasn’t that been done ages ago?
“We had a fight. A bad one.  She is kicking me out and sending me to assisted living.”
I gave the necessary moment of pause to reflect on the tragedy of it all.

One and a Two and a Three...

“Alright man.  Goodnight.”  I cracked the door open and he started to climb the stairs.
“Yeah.  Goodnight.”
Once inside I told Sam about my recent Tony encounter and Sam told me of some epic fight they had earlier while I was at work.  It consisted of a lot of screaming, storming around the apartment, and things hitting the floor.
The next morning when I went outside to head to work I saw this:
The Van.  Now back in one of the better parking places.
    A scene played out in my head.  Tony after speaking with me went inside realizing the error of his ways.  He sat down on his couch, turned on the TV, told his girlfriend to shut up and get him a miller light.  Everything was fine, until he looked outside.  He peeked through the parted space in the venetian blinds created by his index and middle finger.  
    A black van with tinted windows was stopped in the parking lot.  Figures dressed in black lept into the night from a sleek Shady Acres Nursing Home activity van.  They were here.  He quickly scrambled to the front door and swung it open.  They were standing there, holding up giant 100 ml syringes of Haldol.  They reached out to grab him and he quickly slammed the door back catching a hand holding a syringe in the door. He pushed against the weight of 3 nurses aides as the hand dropped the syringe and retracted back outside.  He locked and chained the door as the men on the other side of the door knocked and pleaded for him to open it.  
    He moved away from the door.  He was trapped.  Bonnie came out of the bedroom to see the commotion.  
    “They are here!”
    “THEM.”  He said still backing away as Bonnie passed him to look out the peephole.  
    “Come on Tony. Calm down. I am sure its nothing. They...oh my God.” They were trying to break the door in. “Quick get the phone!  Call the cops!”  
    “Who did you call?  What am I going to do?”  He went to the kitchen and grabbed the phone.  He noticed the kicking had stopped.  When he came out of the kitchen, Bonnie was standing there the door was wide open.  
    “I am sorry!  It’s for the best!  Honey!”
    “My god Bonnie, what did you do?!”
    “Mr. Tony.  Calm down.  We are here to help.  We are here to take you to a nice place...” He crept up to Tony with his hands up unthreateningly holding a straight jacket its unlocked buckles jingling with each step.
    Tony hit him with the portable phone with such force that the phone burst against his face.
    “You’ll never take me alive!”  He turned and ran across the living room and lept through the glass window out of his second story apartment.  He deftly tumbled in the grass and lept to his feet already moving towards the blue van.  He threw the car into drive screeching the tires as the van lurched forward.  The nurses in black drew pistols and fired.  They blew out two of his tires with sedative laced darts, but Tony swerved keeping control of the car.  A crack driver, a skill he forged through years of boosting and selling cars.   The van exploded through a gate where a security guard had to jump out of the way to avoid the blue Astrovan trailing sparks from its rims.

Tony escaped.

But, there was no broken glass in the yard and if he escaped, why did he drive the car back?  I conceded.  After he spoke to me, he went back inside had another fight with Bonnie and wasn’t going to get picked up and taken away by cops or assisted living personnel.  
He left in the van.  
Hit a curb.  
With both tires.  
The end.

    Sam, a day later told me that on that night he nearly hit her with his van.  She was walking Dante and he threw the van into reverse and drove the van up onto the sidewalk before throwing the car into drive and driving away.  Nonetheless, I did not see Tony for days.  
Then one day I was sitting in my car in the parking lot organizing my errands on a pad of paper when he appeared.  
    “Hey Tom.”
    “Oh.  Tony.  Hey.”
    “I just wanted to tell you.  Eh.  Did you see my car?”
    “Yeah.  What happened? Are you okay?” I asked, feigning concern.
    “Can you believe it?”
    “Believe what?” I stalled.
    “Labor day night?  Some kids stole my car! You saw what they did to it?” he said amazed at his own lies.
    “The tires?”
"The bushes."
    “Yeah!  They hit a curb.  Damaged the rims.  There was a regulator in the car...they had no idea what it was for so they just threw it in those bushes over there. They didn’t care.”  He pointed at this large seemingly impenetrable mass of vegetation across from our apartment.  
    “But you found it? In the bushes.  Where they threw it?” I asked hoping he would stop and realize just how stupid this story sounded.
    “Yes.  Thank God there is no body damage.  The frame is good.  It’s just the tires and the rims.  But I wanted to tell you to be careful.  Lock your doors.  Keep your car parked here where you can see it.”
The irony of this advice is on the night he said it was stolen by the roving band of hoodlums was where it was parked.  He was parked right next to my car.  Just goes to show you never know when and where paranoid alcohol induced delusions will strike.  
           The for sale sign is still on it.  The price has not budged.  You might want to wait a few days I am sure with a few more car washes those tires will fix themselves. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


Studynook a la Thomas
I have been studying for my RNFA course.  I have noticed that if I am inside the apartment, I will undoubtedly distract myself.  I will need to beat one level in a video game, I will need to fix myself a snack, I will negotiate one more episode of Law and Order; there will always be something.  So I study on the porch or at the library.  The library is great.  It's quiet.  It forces you to focus on the topic and the only distractions you have are the ones you bring in with you.  But the internet there is terrible and when all your exams are online and you are constantly losing the progress on the exams because the router keeps resetting itself one can get frustrated.  
    So, the porch is my study.  It’s amazing what ten feet can accomplish.  Ten feet makes my PC or the Wii too far away to play.  Ten feet means changing the channel to see what else is on such a hassle.  Plus the internet is stable and I can answer the phone if I must.  
I had been studying for a good part of the day.  When walking up the road I can see Tony with a plastic bag in his hand. He walks up to his car and opens the drivers door to place bag on the car seat.   I use the term car loosely.  It bears the shape of a car but I certainly could not call it an automobile.  Because I only see it pushed around manually in the lot so there is nothing auto or mobile about it.  It is a rust heap.  He has told me numerous times he plans to fix it.  So far the only change that I see is that the trunk now requires a rubber bungee cord to stay closed.  
I deftly avoided eye contact but it does not matter.  He is like a disinterest carrying passenger liner coasting into the harbor of my mind.  He is oblivious to any desire I have to be left alone.  It is a honed art.  He slowly drifts up to my porch, his movements remind me of a nursing home resident thorazine shuffle.
    “Hey Tom.”  He holds a hand over the porch banister for a handshake.  
    “Hi.”  I reluctantly take his hand a give him a firm grip.
    “What are you doing?”
    “Studying. For a class.”
    “You’re the nurse.  But Sam is the teacher.”  I am convinced this has now gone into his repertoire of things he forces his rattled brain to remember.  He is not saying this as a conversation piece but to remind himself.  It makes me curious what other relatively recent data he force feeds into his brain.
    “So this is a nurse class? Are you going to be a doctor now?”
    “Yup.”  I have probably only looked up from my books once or twice during all of this.
“Maybe you could be my doctor.”  He said with a smile.
“Did you see they took my hose away?”  It’s like a wrestling match.  He wants to pin my attention into submission.  Meanwhile I am trying to exude a lack of attention which is slipping out between him and the mat.  I know ultimately, unless I go inside, he will win.  If I go inside, I won’t be able to study.  
“Who took the hose?”  I force my nose back into the vascular portion of my anatomy and physiology book.  
“They did. The office did.”
“They have a hose.  Why would they want your hose?” I ask.
“That's what I said.  But she wanted to borrow it.  She gave it to her brother in law.  And now I am not getting it back.  He keeps sayin’ he is gonna bring it back.  But...”
“He isn’t?” I asked incredulously.
“Nope.  So I bought a new one.  On sale.  Normally this hose with the ahh...with the umm...” I look up from the book, which is more like a prop now; the prop of the would be student.  He is making a squeezing gesture.  We are playing charades.  
Okay.  One word.  Undisclosed syllables.  Attached to a hose and is pumped repeatedly like an cow’s udder.  I bet I could make up a word right now and argue with him that it is the correct word for it.  Blastunger.  You could argue that it’s a German word.  That the Germans invented the hose.  Prior to Germanic Wars.  In Germany.  Where they speak German.  Blastunger.  Say blastunger, Tom.
“Sprayer?  Nozzle?”  Pussy.  
“Yeah.  A nozzle.  A hose with a sprayer nozzle.  And a nice one, not one of those cheap-made in-China ones that break if you drop it the wrong way. Guess how much I paid for it?”
With no effort on my part, a number jumped into my head.  Thirty Five.  Bob Barker was standing there with his funny looking pencil thin microphone.  I am jumping up and down gushing incoherently next to him wondering what game I will play next after ‘Charades’ and ‘Guess the Number.’
I look down at my book which has now made my fingertips numb.  I can not remember anything.  I’ve been reading right iliac artery repeatedly since he came over.  Nothing is sticking.  It’s like someone is giving me turn by turn directions in Manhattan but the directions are moments past the point I needed them so everything sounds familiar but I can not do anything about it.  
I realize only then, my attention span was pinned before he even approached me.  It’s just he knocked it down with such force that my brain still thought it was fighting him off.  
    I relent, “Thirty five?”
    “Hah!  Eight Bucks! You want to know how much it is worth?”
    “Eh.” I shrug.
    “At least Forty five!  At LEAST.”  This conversation sucks. This is a conversation that fat polyester blend wearing suburban home owning neighbors have while standing over John Deere lawn mowers.
    “I know it doesn’t have that spool that rolls the hose up like the other one but I promise I will keep it neat.  But like what I said before don’t tell anyone.  We don’t do that around here.”  He is holding up one finger as though he was going to put it up to his lips but I think his hand lost its way to his mouth.  
(Addendum:  A few weeks prior to this Sam was away in Florida.  I was sitting at home watching tv on the couch.  Yes.  It was after midnight and yes, I was sitting there in my underwear.  There is a knock at my door and Dante, of course, goes ape shit.  A KNOCK? AFTER MIDNIGHT!? He barked as I struggled to get my pants on. If I am going to get murdered I am at least not going to look like some bum.  When I looked out my peephole, I don’t see anything.  Another knock.  Dante repeats his concern for my safety.  It turned out it was Tony.  In the bushes, attaching a hose to the spigot outside my front door.  This would be the hose that believed gets stolen by the office. He wanted to tell me he was outside, so that I don't call the cops on him for fixing his hose outside my apartment.  Bear in mind had he just done his business I would have had no idea he was even there.  He also told me I could just the hose for all my apartment needs when ever I wanted I did not have to ask.  The only rule is, we can’t tell anyone.  His hose was to be OUR secret.)
He points at the dying flowers hanging from planters on the porch.  "You can use the hose to water your plants if you want. I am going to power wash all these windows. you know the management really should be doing all this."
"Maybe that's why they needed the hose." I said.  His mouth opened and closed somewhere a synapse fired and then forgot why.
Dante stirred from inside the apartment and walked outside. He looked up at the man who can never get his name right. He is wearing a white warm up jumper with an irish flag embroidered his left breast. He looks like an irish soccer hooligan.
"Heeeeeeyyy. Diego."
“Dago. Right?”
I have my theories as to why he thinks my dog is a racial slur.  My best one is when I first introduced him to Dante.  He repeated it to himself and asked me if the name was Spanish or Italian.  Dante is named after Dante Alighieri.  So I answered Italian.  Since then, he calls out a random Italian sounding name usually starting with the letter D.  So, he sees my dog and thinks: Diego first, because who names their dog a slur for an Italian person?  Apparently me because Dago, is the next word he pitches when Diego gets shot down.   Danny, Doggie, Rex (the neighbor’s Pitbull), and my personal favorite “Kitty Kat.”
“Dante..” I was not going to have him walk through all the D words his brain damage can recall like he was taking some neurologic exam.
“Dante! Dante, Dante, Dante.”  He said pretending like he was going to finally commit it to memory.  He calls Dante to him making a noise I am familiar with calling for a cat while snapping his fingers.  Dante sniffs his hand, to which at the time I thought it was because he wanted food.  He reaches down over the banister and steadies himself on my dying lilies.  He is petting Dante he is moving further away from his hand making him stretch his arm further.  The banister creaks under his weight. Dante lays down flat right in front of him and it takes real effort on Tony’s part to pet him.  
“This dog is so nice.  He wouldn’t harm a flea.”
“He might.” I say looking down at Dante.   
“Check out the ass on that.”  I look up at him. He is staring at something behind me.  Which is good that he was not checking out my dogs ass.  
    I have seen his girlfriend Bonnie.  So I wondered what he qualified as a something with nice ass would land on my threshold.  The problem is my back is turned to whatever he sees.  I would have to back up my chair and turn around in order to see.  He is still staring.  He looks captivated.
    It’s killing me.  I place my book on the table, scoot my chair backwards and look over my left shoulder.  There are several people outside on the lawn right now.  All of whom belong to this Indian family that lives in the building next to ours.  There is a young teenage boy chasing what I presumed to be his little brother.  On the lawn, standing there was a young 12 year old girl who was waving to her father as he pulling out backwards in his minivan.  I thought for a moment the mom was walking away from the community mailbox but they were out of my view.
“I don’t know who you are talking about.”  Maybe it was the mom.  I thought.  I hoped.  
“What do you mean? You did not see her?”  A few moments went by and he leaned over to pet Dante again.  In this time I pondered what I thought the mother looked like last time I saw her.  The more I thought the more I worried it was not the mom he was talking about.  Suddenly he stiffened up and stared off back across the lawn.  
“Quick.  There she is again. Man, check out that hot piece of ass.”
    I sat there a moment.  Begging God, Heaven, the cosmos for anyone.  
A tall voluptuous OF AGE 18 year old Indian bombshell.  
An awake, alert, oriented ninety six year old woman with a recent hip replacement and a walker.  
Shit, at this point I would take a stark naked full consenting 21 year old male Adonis with body of flesh colored marble and a three foot penis.
Anything but a petite innocent 12 year old Indian girl in pink pajamas.  
    I slowly turned around around grasping for anything.  It was like I was in some perverse evil morality play using the framework of a “Where’s Waldo?” book.  FIND THE LEAST MORALLY REPUGNANT SEX OBJECT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.
    It was only the girl.  I quickly turned back around.  I felt disgusting.  I felt like I was some dirty shit head in some pervert chatroom ribbing one another while cat calling on an elementary school playground.  Any moment, Chris Hansen was going walk up to me.  
    “Dude.  I don’t know who you are talking about.  All I see is the little girl not a piece of ass.”
    “I guess you missed her.” He leaned back over the banister to pet my dog, but Dante was coming over to me now.  Maybe he could sense how uncomfortable I was.  I looked down at him and he looked up at me and I pet his head.  Across his brown fur I could see a red streak.  At first I thought it was paint or something.  But I’ve seen this at work before.  It was blood.  I looked at him closely the red clashed starkly with his white fur.  I looked at my hands and on my right hand in my palm there was half dollar sized mark of dry blood.  
I wasn’t bleeding.  “Tony I have blood all over my fucking hands Dante has blood all over him. Are you cut?”
“No.  Why would I be cut?”
I breathed a sigh of relief.  Thank god.  Maybe it was Dante or I scratched a scab on my leg or something.   
    “Oh wait.  Yeah.  I guess I am bleeding.  I fell before. Yeah here.  Look.”  I looked up at him and he was pulling back a flap of skin between the webbing of his right thumb and index finger.  He had blood all over his left sleeve  that I could not see until I stood up.
    “I was wondering where that was coming from.” He said looking down at his sleeve.  “Its okay.  It will heal.”
    I was stunned.  As though concern for him had even a whisper of possibility in the realm of reality right now   I had no sympathy for him.  This man I barely know bled all over me and my dog.  This possibly evil man who with my luck has AIDS, with a side of Hep alphabet. and a sprinkling of blood borne antibiotic resistant pathogens.  Its pointless to stay here.  This is the best worst reason to bring this conversation to a close.  
    “I have to go Tony.  I need to wash my hands.  And my dog.  You should fix your hand.”  
    “Yeah. Oh okay.  Sorry about that, Tom.  I’ll talk to you later.”
    Dear God, I wish that wasn't the truth.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Apt 146

The perfect supplement to any welcome mat.
The indispensable panty liner.
I still don't know my next door neighbors name.  It’s something foreign sounding and any effort I might make to figure it by cycling through random names would only make me look like a racist.  So, I just call him Shane.  Only recently was I finally able to commit the name of his girlfriend to mind, Agatha (not her real name). The only reason I am probably going to remember that is because Sam told me and the only reason I am probably not going to remember it is because I feel this compulsion to give her a fake name on this blog.  
Agatha suns herself on a beach chair that Tony found.  I have the feeling it is because Tony once saw her sunning herself on a towel and being a creepy demented rapist sortof guy encouraged them to take it so she would sun herself more.  This beach chair was one of a pair that was thrown in the dumpster.  Tony reclaimed one of them, cleaned it off, and gave it to them.    
I was once speaking with one of the property managers and she let it slip that Agatha is actually the lease signer.  She also let it slip that as far as she knew Shane is not Agatha’s husband and gave me this vibe that she did not think he was the father of their baby either.  Shane and Agatha both own gold/tan colored cars.  One is a Nissan while the other car is a Lexus.  Shane and Agatha have got to be pretty popular too.  Day and night they get quick five minute visits from different people.  Sometimes visits so fast they do not even bother turning off their car.  
Yes Agatha, you too can park your car like a selfish asshole.
One day coming home from work from the Surgicenter I saw Shane and his Lexus pulled over with two police cars.  He was sitting on the curb.  One of the cop cars was a K9 unit.  Shortly after that he vanished for about 2-3 months.  Only the Nissan occupied a space in front of the apartment.  Agatha still entertained guests.  Including one gentleman who helped her change her locks and door frame one day.  

1) Whitewood Gardens is an affordable place which Agatha had to sign the lease while telling the rental office she was a single mother.
2) Shane and Agatha own a pitbull who flips a shit if I walk near their apartment.  
3) Lots of visitors.  Day or night.  Quick visits.
4) These visits stop if Shane is not around.  
5) Not only did they change the locks on their door they also replaced the door frame.  All of this was done without the knowledge or approval of the property manager.  
6) Shane attracts the attention of police officers.  
No, It's never too late at night to fortify
your drug den.
    It’s obvious.  Shane is a doctor and these people are dropping by for wellness visits.  Agatha is a nurse and without the capable Dr. Shane Ghetto Physician she can not take care of the surrounding populace.  His services are so desired that they had to increase security to protect their new born child.  
    No.  The truth is, Shane is probably a drug dealer.  Can I say that with definitive certainty?  No, not at all.  I know what you are thinking, “Tom!? How can you tolerate living next to a possible drug dealer?”  To which I have forced myself to accept that there HAS to be some benefit.  The biggest is they tend to keep to themselves. They leave me and my wife alone which is more than I can say for Tony and Bonnie.  There is a reduced chance that someone will do something stupid because I am sure Shane does not want to attract the attention his uniformed friends of Eatontown.  They are quiet neighbors and only once in my 8 months living here have I seen them throw a party and even that was only about 10 people.  
    With that comes an assortment of problems and headaches.  For one, I AM LIVING NEXT DOOR TO A FUCKING DRUG DEALER.  These shifty people are always sitting out there with their headlights on.  Sitting in their cars for extended periods of time before leaving.  Who knows if one of these shifty people get the wrong door one day or get really frustrated with their dealer one night and shoot up the apartment.  Or one night will I have to deal with being questioned by police officers, who might think my lack of knowing anything be interpreted as me being a patron of his pharmaceutical services.
But, the greatest issue I have comes mostly from their 70 lb pit bull, Max.  I am sure with in the Agatha/Shane household Max must be like one of the family.  This is evidenced by the the fact Max is not kept on a leash anymore.  Shane will sit on his porch or leaned into the open windows of his visitors cars with Max sniffing around yards away from him.  Sometimes Sam and I will pull up in our car and Shane will see us and tell Max to go inside and he obeys.  Which is good because once I was getting something out of my trunk and when I turned around Max was there. Effectively cornering me arms full between my car and the my side opening RAV 4 trunk hatch.  
One night a few months ago Sam went to walk Dante after getting in rather late.  She was walking Dante near the dumpster when as  Sam describes, “Max just appeared.”  It caught Dante off guard because he only saw Max when Sam gasped.  Dante immediately started snarling and lunging at him Sam scooped him up and ran inside.  It became apparent that Max was such a good dog that if it was late enough he could just be let out without supervision to roam the campus of Whitewood Gardens as he saw fit.  
There have been times and I want to emphasize the pluralization of the word TIMES that I have gone to walk Dante and the moment I open my door Max has tried to make his way into my apartment.  I have to quickly yank Dante back to prevent him from protecting his home and quickly close the door so that Max backs up OUT OF MY FUCKING APARTMENT.  This has happened so often that I now look out the peephole all the time and especially before I leave the apartment.  
I was never a peephole user but I am the consummate peephole enthusiast.  I have even browsed the peephole section at Lowe’s to see how much a fully armed and operational peephole upgrade might cost me.
I have more interaction with their dog then the human counterparts.  I don’t care for their proxy too much so in turn I do not care for them.  The property manager asked me one day if I had any problems with their dog.  I did mention that I noticed they sometimes don’t use a leash.  She said she had complaints from other people in the complex about the dog roaming free.  Agatha told her that she was in the process of getting rid of the dog.  That was two months ago.  The dog tried to get in my apartment again last weekend. If I complain too much, everyone might have to get rid of their dogs.  Which would consequently leave Sam, Dante, and I homeless because I am not going to get rid of my dog over some lousy rule.  
Are these neighbors terrible people?  I don’t want to think they are.  
Have I heard their baby crying inside the apartment and did they turn the TV louder?  Yes. But who know maybe the baby prefers dubstep to the booty dropping bass they were playing.
Do I feel awkward when I see Agatha tanning herself and I ask myself what Shane finds attractive?  Yes.  Because I certainly don’t see it.  
Do I wonder what Shane sells and how much it might cost me?  OF COURSE NOT. THAT’S ILLEGAL AND WRONG!  
Am I a little jealous how well behaved their possibly murderous pitbull is?  Don’t tell Dante, but, yes.