Sometimes I feel as if I’m a magnet for drama. Soap-opera-like situations seem to continually arise in my life, and I must confess that I’ve considered asking for a new script-writer.
Being an optimistic soul, though, I try to make use of these situations as food for thought and fodder for writing.
A bit of background: after the former incarnation of this blog fizzled out due to lack of funds, my power and water were shut off and for a time I had no phone and of course no ‘net access. I entered a primitive phase of my life with a very local emphasis — survival mode.
Two houses up the street from my building I ended up meeting a woman named Debbie, the black matriarch of an intricately-structured clan consisting of her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and her husband Lucky, the last of whom visits from time to time. That family treated me well and I would spend time hanging out at Debbie’s house. She let me fill jugs of water for my simple needs and occasionally I’d eat with the family.
This situation couldn’t go on forever, as technically living without electricity is illegal in Hannibal. At one point a round orange sticker was affixed to my door which bluntly stated “Unfit For Occupancy”.
To make a long story short, I’m now renting a room from an old friend with whom I used to work some years ago at the Amoco BP station. Myrlene lives with her two teen-aged daughters Bobbie and Ronnie.
I still receive mail at my desolate and dark building and a kitten still lives there, so I stop by the building at least once every day. Yesterday morning I was at the building and it occurred to me that I ought to stop by Debbie’s house for a visit and maybe have a cup of coffee with her.
“Well, hi, Larry! How’s it working out at your new place?”
“Pretty well, Debbie. How are things around here?”
“Well, Diondra [Debbie’s daughter] has been squabbling with her guy Jerome. They’re in the other room.”
I could hear some impassioned talk coming from the next room, which is separated from the living room by a curtain which was only partly closed. The sounds of scuffling became evident and I couldn’t resist peeking through the gap in the curtain. Jerome was grabbing Diondra and shoving her violently against the wall. He’s a big guy with a mouth full of gold teeth and he’s twice Diondra’s size.
Debbie exclaimed “What the fuck is goin’ on in there? I ain’t puttin’ up with this bullshit in my house! You’d better leave Diondra alone and get out of here, or I’m callin’ the police!”
I heard Diondra’s little boy Lance crying in Debbie’s bedroom across the hall. I went to him to see what I could do to comfort him.
“Uncle Larry, look what he did to my mom’s cell phone!”
I put the phone back together and luckily it still worked.
Lance said “I just want to go home!”
I said “Why don’t you go to your grandma for a while — I think your mom will be leaving before too long.”
Meanwhile Debbie was confronting Jerome and she ended up calling the police. Debbie is rather short and stout but she’s a very formidable woman. I certainly would hesitate to cross her!
Jerome ran off down the alley. I was amused by Debbie’s phone conversation with a police officer:
“You’d better pick up that motherfucker before you come here! I’m pressin’ charges, for sure. Nobody pulls that kinda shit in my house!”
Here I’d stopped by for a bit of coffee and conversation, and now the cops were coming!
While we waited Debbie said to me:
“If that fuckin’ Jerome had come into my living room I’da cut him! I always have my knife within reach.”
Diondra came into the living room. She’s about thirty years old and works as a CNA at a local nursing home. I’m quite fond of her and her boy. She sat down on the couch and sighed.
She said “Well, I guess I’m single again!”
Two cops showed up and took statements from everyone. They had arrested Jerome back in the alley and it turned out that he had several outstanding warrants. He’ll be in jail for quite some time. Diondra said:
“He’s been on the run for the past year, and lately he’s been talkin’ about turnin’ himself in. Now he doesn’t have to!”
Another of Debbie’s daughters showed up with her three little girls; the girls went out on the porch with Diondra’s boy Lance while we discussed the incident.
Debbie said “My fingertips are just like ice! I’m all shook up!”
I said “You’re still in shock, I imagine.”
“Larry, I’m sorry this had to happen while you were here. Come back and maybe we can have a calmer visit.”
I got up, bade adieu to Debbie and her daughters, and went out the front door. The kids were all out there and Lance said to me:
“Uncle Larry, you gonna come back tomorrow?””
“Well, maybe not tomorrow, but I’ll be back before long!”
As I walked down the sidewalk towards my building the four kids cried out “Bye, Larry!” I waved, pondering this new drama as I walked.