As I sit here typing this on our front stoop my husband is reading “The Killing Joke”. As you all know, I’m more of a Wonder Woman/Supergirl kind of fan, however, there are times when my inner Batman comes out. Admittedly I was obsessed with the character as a kid.
In our neighborhood here of late we’ve been having issues with some neighbors breaking and entering into apartments, stealing things, and ransacking private spaces.
One particular neighbor was evicted from his residence for his recent behavior, usually fueled by alcohol, and what I am assuming to be bitterness. Since he has been kicked out, he has been staying in a tiny gazeebo (the one feature of our entire complex), sometimes with a suitcase. Then the day came where he was so drunk he passed out behind the laundry facility,…ten feet from the gazeebo.
His staying in the gazeebo and passing out didn’t warrant a call to law enforcement. His day came when he ransacked a neighbor’s apartment, calling him a racial slur, then trying to lure said neighbor’s kids into the gazeebo.
The cops ushered him out once before, then again after the incident with the kids. Believe it or not, this former tennant is only one small problem in a neighborhood full of criminal ongoings.
It has become so bad the decent neighbors approached my husband and I about forming an official neighborhood watch where we go on patrols to keep the thieves at bay.
Is it time to move you say? Yes. Can we afford to move? No. Not until our lease is up in December.
My husband has been patrolling a few nights a week, sometimes by himself which makes me nervous and unable to sleep. This doesn’t help on nights when I have to be up at 4:30 am. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it and trying to figure out a way to make this neighborhood better.
Last night was the first night we went patrolling together. He showed me where he and the neighborhood watch have figured out where one culprit lives who has been breaking into cars. He’s been using his bike as a quick get-away vehicle and has done so without being exposed, until last week.
As we walked “the beat” we rounded into the parking lot of the apartments where this kid lives. My husband then showed me which residence. This kid didn’t do a very good job in covering up his window. There was a sheet haphazardly hung in front of the window exposing parts of his home. There was a scent of blackberry vapor in the air. I approached the window as my husband said, “That’s illegal, ya’ know?”
Then the dark side of the Quirk came out. I said, “If this guy is willing to go into our neighbor’s apartments, into their cars and steal things that don’t belong to him, then we should have every right.” (Every right to see into his life.)
He kind of just looked at me with a cautioned grin, wondering what had just happened and where I had gone. Don’t get me wrong, usually I’m not an ‘eye for an eye’ kind of person, but living in a horrible neighborhood has opened my eyes to having to stick together for the good of the community and unfortunately wanting to bend the rules. Especially when the safety of children is involved.
As we were having this conversation, a car started and the headlights came on. We tried to hang out at the corner of the building, even though I wasn’t successful in my venture of jumping up at a distance to see above the poorly hung, makeshift curtain. We looked guilty of something way more sinister.
The person drove past us, probably thinking we were just as shady as the person we were trying to keep at bay.
We moved on the foot path trying to see any other markers of behavior. Luckily this night we didn’t have to stay out too long. The prostitutes, pimp and drug dealers were all behind closed doors conducting their business or hopefully just sleeping.
Last night we slept well. Then my husband woke me up.
The cursing, child lurerer was back in the gazeebo this morning with a soda. I was still in bed, my brain tired of all the nonsense in this neighborhood and all the crap the kind and good people here have been forced to see and endure.
“He isn’t supposed to be here”, I said.
“I don’t think he’s with it enough to understand that.” Sobering words from my husband. The evicted guy has been known to be inebriated 24 hours a day.
This time my inner Batman stayed at bay. Out came Catwoman, possibly Harley Quinn. I had entered new territory.
“This is a time I wish I had a BB gun. I could lay down on the porch, where the weirdo can’t see me, and I could aim the gun between the rails. ‘POP! POP!’ right on his butt.”
My husband kind of grinned again, “Those things hurt worse than you actually think.”
My theory is it wouldn’t tear the skin.
“OR, I could use a paint ball gun. When it hit him we could then call the police and tell them to follow the guy with the paint splotches!”
He kind of giggled at the idea.
“Or we could sit with a soda in the gazeebo across from him, and if he spoke to us, we could say, ‘Did you hear that?’ We ignore him, making him think he’s a ghost.”
My husbands face lost any trace of a playful smile. “That’s sick and twisted.”
“You married me!”
Then he remarked, “If we did that though, it would give him the idea or license to do whatever he wants to see what he can get away with.”
“Dang it! Why do you have to be right?”
I’m out of ideas readers. What would you do in this situation?