It costs extra, for one thing. And it does something weird to my cell phone.
And it’s 5 in the morning. And the operator ACTUALLY asked me if I wanted to leave my name and callback number.
I hate calling them, but I had no choice this time. This shit had been going on for hours. And no sooner than I hang up the call I hear voices outside my window. I live three floors up, and my bedroom faces the wide street. The voices must have moved from one floor down - the central nervous system of drama - and taken to the streets while I was on the phone.
I stand up and discreetly approach my window. Before I peel back the heavy curtain and move aside the blinds, I can hear her. Funny, if I ever did leave a callback number, I wouldn’t ever be able to identify her face in a line up. She’s just a voice to me.
The cops are already here. Three cars lined up at the curb outside the crib, two facing the wrong way on my one-way. One cop doing most of the talking.
“It’s up to you. I told you that before,” he says. “I can walk upstairs with you and get your stuff and you can file a report. You can’t keep going back and being a punching bag.” His words are at once pleading, but mostly exasperated and annoyed. “This is the third time I’ve been called here tonight alone.”
I was late calling because I’m used to their nonsense. My neighbor one floor down is a nutbag. As is the white chick who lives there that he kicks out on average a few times a week.
When I came in this evening I noticed rose petals on the stairs up to the second floor. Weird. it was right in the spot where I almost threw up at the smell and sight of blood, about two weeks ago.
What I know of them is mostly what I piece together from hearing them fight. I gather that she’s from Oklahoma. Maybe a stripper. They share a car. She has a few friends. They smoke a lot of herb. He thinks she’s the “stupidest girl in the entire world. So fucking dumb!”
He’s big and imposing. She’s tiny. I sometimes run into her on my way in or out of the building. We say hello. But I can ever make out her face. The one time I had an extended period to study her – when she knocked on my door to borrow my cellie – a large spreading bruise covered most of her right eye.
Usually they argue, maybe throw some shit around, and then pass out. Tonight they argued, he left for a bit, came back, pounded on the door, and started bitching at her again. “Why the fcuk I gotta knock on my own door, yo?!”
Then he throws her out of the apartment. She’s in the hall quiet. Usually she’s bawling her eyes out and banging on the door, begging him to open it. But this time she’s quiet.
Then he calls to her. “Where the fuck is my [INAUDIBLE]??!!”
“It’s in my black Guess bag.”
“The black one?”
“I don’t see it!”
“Open the door. I got you. I got you. It’s ok.” She’s exhausted. And she’s pleading. But this time it sounds like she’s trying to reassure him. Like she’s talking him down from a ledge. Like he’s forgotten that he can trust her while spiraling in one of his episodes. Cuz it’s obvious that this is what is happening. He's not just a bully. He's a sick (psycho) bully.
“If I you lying to me ima throw your shit out the window."
“Baby, open the door and I’ll find it for you.” I’m thinking, ok weed. He’s looking for his weed and maybe that’ll calm his ass down.
“It’s not in here!”
“Empty out the bag. It’s in there. Open the door so I can show you. Let me help you.”
“It’s not in this fcuking bag and now your shit is going out the window.” And sure enough, I hear debris scraping against the brick outside on its way down past my window.
“Baby, you gave me your shades and I put them in my black Guess bag. Are you looking in the right bag?”
This ngga is flipping out over SHADES. This is when I let my fingers do the dialing.
Outside on the curb in front of my bedroom I look down at the girl talking to the cops. She’s in cuffed jeans and, ironically, a wife beater. She’s barefoot. And from here the tat on her forearm looks like a smudge of dirt. She’s smoothing down her hair, and standing still as she listens. She occasionally fidgets with the large plastic bin with the cracked cover. The one he threw out the window.
I then wonder where dude is. Did he dip out the back fire escape like she did that one time the cops came to their door a few months back?
It’s just past dawn now. The sky is awake, as I imagine is the entire neighborhood. I wonder who else called the cops. I look out at the neighboring windows to see if I’m the only one watching. I’m so sure that the old man in the crib directly across the street – the one who would watch me dress and get fcuked against my window before I got curtains – is up and enjoying the scene below.
But I see only empty windows. Windows that reflect back to me the light of the early morning sun.
“What’s his last name?” the cop asks. I hear her spelling it out. I look down, and then back up. I see a figure in the window across the street. But it’s not the old man. In fact, it’s a young man. Large and imposing. I look closely and through the window across the wide street, I can see the reflection of a man crawling on my roof. I’m on the third floor. The top. I see it clear as day.
He’s laying on his stomach listening, as I am, to the scene below. Within seconds he scales back away from the street like he's in a damn obstacle course and disappears. Then he returns to the front of the roof, this time walking upright. I wish I had spidey sense enough to let the jakes know this loser is up there.
I retire back to bed. The cops are still outside. I can hear them talking. She comes back upstairs. He’s there. They continue arguing, like nothing ever happened. They pass out before I do. I’m up for the day.