I’ve spoken about the neighborhood where I work on a few occasions. To describe it I’ll use the direct quote from a friend of mine in federal law enforcement,
“That’s a hell hole.”
I’m not even going to cross the street, just a two hundred yard radius from my office front door, and we’ve had two dumped dead bodies; one dumped and burned body that may have been dead beforehand; many vehicle accidents with, to my not very discerning body count, five fatalities; a dumped and torched vehicle from a armored car robbery that culminated with two murdered guards; too many fights to count (and that’s just during daylight hours. I don’t have the computation power to calculate nights); too many stolen vehicles; a few bodies we thought were dead (one that was almost run over by a lawn mower); and the list could go on forever.
But, really, those are aberrations. The real color of the neighborhood comes in the average people. People like the bar manager of a dive outside of my two hundred yard radius but within where this conversation took place. I see him in line at the coffee shop. I like him, hard working, good guy. I ask what he’s doing and he tells me that he had to go in early because,
“The rat problem is back.”
He says, for whatever reason, during this time of the year rats by the score make their way to the neighbors house to eat their winter full. He says the new owners started to freak but he told them they never get inside the bar and don’t get in any of their trash.
“Guess they’re not alcoholics.” He states before telling me he had to get back. “I have to bury the two I’ve already killed this morning and have a few more to tackle.”
Walking back, not thinking anything weird of that conversation (shows how far ones weirdness factor can fall) when I see a vehicle with the words ‘FOR SALE’ written on all the windows. But something didn’t fit for me. It only took a second to realize what they were. Not only was there no number but there was no back plate. But the thing that really stood out was the shredded back passenger tire. I’m not kidding when I say shredded. The only thing hold the remnants on was the weight of the vehicle. I’m looking at it as I pass, Lo-Jack firmly in place, and look at the front that has the front plate.
As I’m passing, chuckling at the people in my neighborhood, a cop car pulls up to the back of the vehicle and, having seen me looking at the vehicle ask if it’s mine. I tell him it is not. He asks if I know who’s it is. I tell him I do not. But I add. as he’s standing at the back of the vehicle that he may not have trouble tracking down the owner. He looks as me and, as I turn to walk away, point at the front of the vehicle.
I get to my office door as he reaches the front and I hear him laugh.
Yes, officer, in this neighborhood, sometimes that’s the only option you have.