Tag Archives: crime

you think a dumpster brings our neighborhood together? you should see what happens when there’s a fire.

not our neighborhood. our neighbors, however, would have all come out in their slippers to watch it burn, tho.

holly always tells me that if someone’s trying to mug me i should yell “FIRE!” and not “HELP!” because “help” they’ll ignore around here. but “fire.” oh everyone in our neighborhood cares about a fire.

i recently told you about how a single neighborhood dumpster, at least here in southeast baltimore, brings people out of their homes in droves to throw things out they’ve been collecting in their basements, backyards and, i suppose if they’re hoarders, dining rooms, for 20 or more years. it’s like a community outing–if you can have a community outing in housecoats holding old microwaves while simultaneously smoking and yelling at your children. which, in baltimore, i think you can.

anyway, fires are pretty exciting around here–they’re also pretty freaking scary, as our homes are, like, connected, and one fire can, you know, burn an entire block. but these are details! there are sirens, huge red fire trucks, big fire dudes, and, mostly importantly, lots of smoke. in other words: free entertainment.

the first fire i ever saw in our neighborhood was a few years ago. i was home sick, alone. all the sudden i see this tan smoke blowing past our window. it didn’t even look like smoke. i was like, what the hell’s going on out there? a sandstorm??

i put on shoes and a hat to cover i’m sure what was a huge hair day for me (home sick means huuuuge hair) and went outside to find pretty much our entire neighborhood already outside watching a church burn.

i was like, oh my gosh. the church is on fire. i know you’re all wanting to sing: the church/the church/the church is on fire/we don’t need no water, etc. but shame on you cause it was a church and it was pretty upsetting.

i don’t know how my neighbors were all feeling. hell, i was surprised to see them all home on a weekday afternoon. i wanted to shout does anybody work around here?? but didn’t fearing repercussions and possibly violence.

everyone was huddled in groups across the street from the church, pointing. then the wbal-tv news chopper came by and we all gawked at that, too. (i love me some wbal, but damn that chopper is so damn loud.)

i tried explaining the scene to holly when she got home but i was kind of speechless. it was like…we all came together, i wanted to say. but then i snapped out of it and  instead complained that i had to change my clothes b/c i smelled like a barbecue.

the secret was out. fires are a community occasion around here. even more so than a dumpster b/c you can join in without fear of bumping into the person actually paying for the dumpster you’re about to drop your 1976 mini fridge into.

now if you’re actually being mugged while there’s a fire going on, i don’t know what to tell you. maybe yell something about free crabcakes? then duck & cover.

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what would you do if you found out i was a fugitive? would you turn me in or live life knowing your wife could never ever get a parking ticket or else you might lose her forever?

susan lefevre in 1975, left. marie walsh, ex-fugitive mom, right. pretty mugshot! you go, girl!

you might hate me for saying this, but i’m not the biggest oprah fan.  she’s incredibly good at what she does. but honestly? i’ve always imagined she’d be a bee-otch to work for (confirmed by these annoying behind-the-scenes shows on her new cable network–which holly inexplicably likes to watch while we’re trying to go to sleep, don’t even ask me why–and all her producers seem very, extremely scared of her) and therefore find her show hard to watch.

i also don’t enjoy the fact that she’s on the cover of every single issue of her magazine. she is, however, a big friend of the gays and i enjoy her interviewing style. so that might cancel it all out.

anyway, it was with great surprise when i found myself absolutely glued to her show yesterday, which focused on this lady, marie walsh–just your typical upper-middle-class, tennis-playing, horse-riding mother of three (or four, i forget)–who was, unbeknownst to her husband and family and everyone else, actually a fugitive on the run for 32 years. yeah, i know.

her real name was really susan lefevre and she was arrested at 19 for selling 2.5 grams of heroin to an undercover state trooper in 1975. (it sounds like it was a set-up but i don’t know.) and it was her law-abiding grandfather that helped her break out of prison. (you can read all about her story here. she has a new memoir out b/c, apparently, you have to either be snookie or a longtime fugitive to get a book deal these days.)

holly and i both got really into watching the show and at a certain point, after oprah talked to this woman’s husband, i got to thinking:

what would holly do if she found out i was a fugitive? not that i am. (really, i’m not. tho saying that does make me sound kind of suspicious.) no really. what if i had escaped out of prison and was on the lam for like 25 years (this would, of course, make me a seven-year-old fugitive) and changed my identity and had totally kept it a secret from my partner and one day she found out?

so i asked her.

“it depends on what you’d done,” she said.

my gut reaction to her answer was disappointment. [versus, say…when she rated me “an eight” (and that was “including my personality”) on a scale of one to 10 when my gut reaction was red hot seething anger. you can read all about that disastrous conversation here and don’t say i didn’t warn you. ew i’m getting angry just thinking about it.] b/c i was prepared to say i would support her as a fugitive no matter what. b/c we’re married and best friends and together for 10 years next month, and hello, we love each other.

so i thought about it.

“yeah, i guess you’re right,” i announced. “i mean, if i was a murderer, that could be a source of worry. but if i sold 2.5 grams of heroin in 1975 it’d be different.”

(now she’s saying, as i write this, that the bigger issue would be lying. like, if i lied about that for so long, what else could i be hiding? quiet holly! i’m trying to blog. she’s kind of right but whatever, i’m totally not talking about that right now.)

i told her that i would support her as a fugitive no matter what, and commit myself to living a life devoted to making sure she never got a parking or speeding ticket. (this would be difficult, as she’s a pretty risky parker sometimes. also she sometimes speeds but usually only b/c i’m always running 10 to 20 minutes late so she needs to drive faster to whatever event we’re going to so it doesn’t, you know, end before we get there.)

anyway, despite my disappointment, i’m going to stick to my original thought which is that yes, holly, i would stick by you if i found out you were a fugitive. i know that you’d never hurt a fly, so how bad could it be? plus i wouldn’t mind moving every few years. i might even let you get a motorcycle, b/c, you know, fugitives need motorcycles. and fugitives’ wives need jet-black motorcycle jackets with lots of unnecessary zippers to wear on their fugitive partners’ motorcycles. and i’d have to get, like, badass boots to match. these are my priorities, folks.

anyway, i’m wondering: would you stand by your woman or man if he or she was a (non-violent) fugitive and was hiding it from you for, like, 32 years. discuss.

things i love about our neighborhood (not)

that’s so 90s that i said that but whatever. here goes:

i love seeing ppl put “the club” on their car steering wheels around here. ha! yeah like that’s gonna help! if anything i think seeing “the club” (talk about 90s! geesh) will only irritate potentials thiefs, therefore making your lame car (oh and it’s always total jalopies/clunkers that have the club) more likely to get its windows smashed in for the 47 cents you left laying on the front seat. (duh.) seeing the club on your damn steering wheels make me want to smash your window in. and i don’t even need change. (right now at least.)

oh and i just love the fact that we got a $60 CITATION for WEEDS around the tree we begged, prodded and pleaded to get planted in front of our house to make the block look better. yeah so ok there are weeds there now but they weren’t there EIGHT WEEKS AGO when the “inspector” ticketed us! this city is out. of. control. it’s so damn broke they will ticket you for BREATHING. i wish i was kidding! inspectors come into neighborhoods where they think ppl can afford arbitrary tickets–think again; we really can’t–in order to fund who knows what. the only thing that runs smoothly in this city is the library system. (long live the enoch pratt free library. i love you guys. mmmwah.)

speaking of tickets, i also love that one of our two cars gets TICKETED like every other day for some stupid parking violation when ppl consistently park in our dirty alley, blocking both the trash and recycling trucks. what gives!? we call and cops don’t even show up, not even a ticket for these idiots. hello it’s ILLEGAL to park in alleys! man up and park on the street like the rest of us! i hope your tires blow out from all the broken glass when you try to drive out in the morning. and i hope a rat makes a nest in your back and/or front seat of your car and then chews a hole straight thru to your motor.

and speaking of animals, i just love how cats somehow hide their crap in the grass so i inevitably STEP on it on my way to bring the trash out to said alley every week. my sh*t kicker boots are truly sh*t kickers. can’t even bring the damn things inside! these cats are unbearable! if you’re a cat lover, move to downtown baltimore. i guarantee in five minutes you’ll hate them. they’d scratch your eyes out in five seconds so don’t “aww.” they will cut you.

and even tho i say i don’t love it but i actually kind of do in a way. i love the interesting things that show up curbside around here. mostly it’s shoes (sandals, randomly) and pieces of weave.

i will save more “things i love about our neighborhood (not)” for later. i’m sure i’ll come up with more. until then, goodnight.

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oh fer cryin out loud: i really am old now

b/c i just called the local elementary/middle school “not as a parent but as a concerned member of the community.” damn kids are running wild in the neighborhood! not only walking in the middle of the street–i’m not talking a few at a time either, i’m talking 15-20 at a time; the sidewalks are clear btw, there’s  no reason to walk in the middle of the street–but taking handfuls of icy, sharp snow and scratching cars as they drive by.

this one kid did it to the car in front of us, then looked us straight in the eye and did it to us, too. they all pretty much sh*t a brick when all the sudden holly opens her door and gets out to yell at them, “hey! do you have money to fix the scratches on my car?? do you????” at which point they all started taunting us, shouting curses, dancing and giving us the finger, still in the middle of the street, of course.

look, i’m not stupid. these kids have been cooped up inside for over a week. and a lot of the kids around here depend on school to eat, so they’re probably grumpy and their home lives are probably crap. but: it is DANGEROUS for them to be walking down the middle of the street any time of the year, but esp. when two-way streets are now one-way and there’s ice and snow everywhere and most ppl around here don’t know how to drive in these conditions anyway! half the cars you see every day are slipping and sliding down these narrow sidestreets that a lot of the schools are on. they also shouldn’t be messing with moving vehicles, trying to damage them. these kids are badasses as it is. middle schoolers have actually beaten up full-grown adults in this city. but c’mon now. taunting drivers while they’re slipping and sliding on bad road conditions? plus taunting drivers in general! and destroying property. school administrators should know about that.

then we’re trying to pull in our spot and just as we’re starting to back up we see this woman–i don’t know if she was a mother or just a caretaker/daycare person–but she is beating this little girl that couldn’t have been more than four. i’m sorry but a kid that little does not need to be hit like that. what could she have possibly done?? the woman’s got about four or five kids with her, including an itty-bitty one in stroller. and this little girl is just wailing and now the others that saw her get hit are crying, too. we didn’t know if we should say something to this woman or not. i just kept thinking, if we say something she’ll probably get even more mad and beat the girl some more. yeah, and we’re wondering why kids are cursing us out and destroying property. i’m not saying it gives older kids a carte blanche to do whatever they want to, but it was certainly a cause-and-effect reminder of what some of these kids have gone thru and continue to go thru on a daily basis. it’s funny how you need a license to drive, but anyone biologically able can have a child.

anyway, i’m like, 80 now, calling school administrators. and i know they have enough to worry about. but still, they ought to know what their kids are up to in the neighborhood just outside the school building.

i knew it was only a matter of time

before some dumbass pulled a knife on somebody over a parking spot. this is today’s new neighborhood development.

yup, some dude moved someone else’s chair and parked in his spot. we saw cop cars and asked what was going on. like i keep saying: respect the chair. [or the cone, milkcrate, dining room set, tv tray, coffee table (yes, saw one of those today) or, my new favorite, a laundry basket full of snow with a pink foam floaty noodle sticking out of it.] respect it or you might get cut. at least in baltimore. so beware.

only in this town

woo-boy: Big Boyz Bail Bonds pens. a baltimore tradition.

do postal workers hand you a Big Boyz Bail Bonds pen to sign for your package. only baltimore.

these pens are everywhere around here. this is one of the topics i’ve been meaning to blog about forever. the pens (see above) are yellow and hot pink. if you’re near one, you can’t miss it. i find myself signing the check at restaurants with them, at grocery stores…i mean, everywhere. the postal worker that delivered our package earlier today said she’s even seen them at the dentist. the bail guys swing by on her route and give her handfuls of them. talk about good marketing. pens in the internet age. who’da thought.

their guerilla marketing tactics also extend to t-shirts. the dealers, hookers and pimps across the street–and all of their associates–sported Big Boyz Bail Bond t-shirts over the summer. hell, that’s probably who got them out and back on our corner. maybe if you buy some bail bonds you get a free t-shirt?? (on a sidenote, bail bonds confuse the hell outta me. lending money to ppl who most likley can’t pay you back? where’s the profit in that? if you can explain this to me, pls do.)

anyway. this is baltimore. love or it leave it. or just like it, grin, bear it and make jokes about it.

well the neighborhood’s bustling again

drugdealers–and the ppl that hang around them–are like roaches: for every one that disappears, five more take his or her place. there is no such thing as “one roach” (just as there’s “no such thing as one mouse,” some home specialist said on the today show this morning. i can attest to that.  i can also attest to the roaches, but i digress). there is no such thing as a lone drugdealer. or hooker. or any such neighborhood riffraff. this is just my theory. but i think i’m right on the mark.

another one of my theories: as soon as you start telling yourself that things are SO much better–omG i haven’t gotten a headache in two whole weeks! the very next day? THREE-DAY MIGRAINE–they will go to sh*t. this is not always so. but watch what you tell yourself. or others.

holly and i were just thinking–trembly little happy thoughts that were too fragile even to mention to each other–that things in our neighborhood were settling down.

the paddywagon came a few weeks ago and carted off most of the local corner house’s dealers, hookers, etc. things were quiet. for, like, a few days. it was nice. then, of course, a whole new crew–with fancy jeans and shiny belts–came to replace them. but then it rained for four days straight and they disappeared. (drugdealers apparently do not like the rain. at least not in baltimore. go figure!) and now it seems like the power in the drughouse was turned off (at least on the first floor; the peeping tom lives on the second floor. he’s got lights. i don’t even want to talk about that freak.) and i honestly think the cold drove them away. (they don’t like to be cold either. hm.)

well now it’s friggin warm again (maryland weather) and lo and behold, more new ppl. more than that, some of the old hookers (and, yes, some of them really are “old hookers”)/dealers/users (?) must’ve been released from prison and they’re back friggin running their friggin mouths all. day. long. you can hear them from around the block. i kid you not.

for all of you that smoke, esp. you ladies, stop right now. just stop. if not for your health or your looks then for your goshdarn VOICE. b/c i swear, if you’re my age (early 30s), in about 20 years you will sound like a baltimore hooker. and trust me, you don’t want that.