Saturday, June 16, 2007

In “Real” Life

Last Thursday as I was going through my normal get-ready-for-bed routine at around 12:43 pm – sleeping pills, ear plugs, stomach not-too-empty, not-too-full (I need to feed my ulcers right) – a sudden noise broke through the normal hippity-hoppity soundtrack which our neighbors across the street so graciously provides us with via their blasting Aiwa stereo system on the top floor (speakers propped up on the window sill facing out toward people like me that need to sleep during the day). They usually turn it on at about 9 am and leave it on till they goes to sleep every evening during the summer -- a seasonal all-day, every-day affair. The songs I suppose are different and specially selected for each special day but they sound all the same to me.

POLICE! “PUT YOUR *bleeping* HANDS UP!” barked the lead cop.

I ran over to the window in time to see the stocky Hispanic man-in-black leap onto the roofs of the parked cars below our apartment building, making nice foot-sized dents complete with detailed footprints, his gun drawn braced in both hands.

Around the back of our building an 18 year-old boy in a white t-shirt, mid-calf dark denim shorts, and an ill-fitting fitted all-black Yankee’s baseball cap over a red doo-rag, leapt over our fence under our fire escape and started scaling the next fence (where the # 1 annoying dog is normally kept) seemingly in slow motion.

The female cop who arrived second on the scene after calling for back up yelled to the fugitive-from-justice, “You haven’t done anything yet!”

“Then why are you chasing me? I live here,” the young thug replied.

“We just want to talk to you.” She said, in her most mothering-while-yelling voice.

“Why are you running?” Yelled the self-righteous stocky head cop.

The guy wasn’t buying it,

The cops already on the “scene” ran around the block to cut off the escape routes (except they forgot that the kid could go back the way he came). The lawbreaker kept running until he saw that the west side was cut off then he doubled back accidentally tripping himself up with the kiddie pool the #1 annoying dog owners had recently set up for all-day squealing parties. The boy asked the dog owner if he could escape through her apartment in a plaintive Spanish voice, saying it is an emergency the police were chasing him. Then he saw the police were already in front of that apartment (he didn’t hear my muffled coaching, because my window was still closed) and other anti-hip-hop-thug people in the next building were tracking his location with their fingers for the cops.

The stocky head cop came running from the west side his gun out again screaming. “GET DOWN ON THE GROUND! I’M GONNA SHOOT YOU!”

The evildoer ignored this advice and calmly climbed back over our fence into the parking lot filled with dented cars and escaped.

Two minutes later our street was filled with cop cars, and cops nosing around looking for the muchacho as my Cuban neighbor remarked. Dino, our superintendent told the cops we don’t have any trouble makers in our building. A lie that contradicts what he had just told me seconds earlier -- that you have to be careful around druggies.

The hibbity-hoppity soundtrack never stopped and now it seemed less annoying, more indicative of the violence that is constantly seething under the crusty surface in the most densely populated neighborhood in Manhattan: my place seems to be a stage for a bad play about reckless cops and bad guys, not really a good place to sleep anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So... I'm glad it wasn't you hopping the fences, or could you even do it? *LOL* ~ih

11:47 AM  

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