Submitted by megan on Fri, 08/29/2008 - 22:05
When I came home yesterday afternoon to deal with pergola business, there were two cop cars in the street and two cops on the front porch of the House of Scoundrels.
They're not really scoundrels. Or rather, I don't know if they're scoundrels or not. They look like they may have lived a scoundrelly life, but really, I have an ex who probably looks like that now: wearing 20 years more lines than he's a right to, leathery and red-eyed, grizzled. He wasn't a scoundrel at all; just someone with too much despair and a too strong longing for a substance to numb it.
Mostly they just sit on the porch and drink, our Scoundrels, and pretty quietly at that. They're not friendly, per se, though certainly more so than the hipsters responsible for Garbage Lawn. Sometimes the friends who come to drink on the Scoundrel porch are loud, but then sometimes so are the people who drink with the artsy girls on the front porch of the Homelike Apts.
There are two bad things about the House of Scoundrels. The first is that Tuberculosis Man wakes me up 5 mornings out of 7, before the sun is up, sometimes, often just as it's starting its ascent. Being woken up by hacking and hawking and snorting and spitting is very unpleasant.
He probably doesn't have TB,* it's not really that kind of cough.
And that's probably not very nice. Scratch that. I know it's not very nice. They're probably decent enough guys, and there's obviously at least one very serious addiction going on over there, and I am going to take a guess and say that they probably don't have consistent medical care.
This neighbourhood is getting gentrified. It's perfect for that. Being west of Bronson, rents are a lot cheaper than Centretown proper, but being so close to Bronson, it's basically in Centretown proper. My street is kind of blocked off to traffic, which makes it perfect for families. House prices are still reasonable, because it's known as a rough street. It was a rough street, though that was before my time.
Now, the hip kids and families with children are taking over. Practically, I'm not going to argue with that, because I've lived here for three years and I love the street enough to have bought a house on it. I'm one of the hip kids, I won't argue with that either. And I don't want to wake up to someone losing their lung every morning. But I know we're going to push these people out, and they have a right to be somewhere. Why not here?
When I left to run an errand, the two cop cars were gone. When I came back from my errand, the asshole landlord was there.
This guy, man, I don't know about this guy. Except that he's an asshole and the second bad thing. I've heard him screaming at the various scoundrels before, and I learned last night from my Sexy Neighbour that the Asshole Landlord had threatened to stab one of our Scoundrels.
I didn't find this out until after I broke up the fight though.
Such as it was.
When the person instigating a fight - which he has done, I found out later, by tripping off the porch and falling face first into the victim's car - is so drunk the only thing he can do is mutter "don't come back don't come back don't come" and lurch and lean and then throw a wild and weak punch, well, really, it's not much of a contest.
Blue Shirt Porch Guy went down on the first punch from AL.
I stopped, one foot on my first step. The buff sporty tough guy on the other side of the street paused, looking over his shoulder at them.
BSPG got back up, lurching and leaning still, puffing up his chest. AL threw another punch. BSPG went down again. AL threw more punches.
Now, I know it's generally stupid to try and break up a fight between two grown men. They're already unpredictable, and while I know I can take the guy who can't stand up, this AL is a wildcard.
But not on my street. Sure, BSPG started it. But by god, AL, be a fucking grown up. Drive away while he's down. Don't kick him.
It appears that may be exactly what he's doing.
Buff Guy keeps on walking. I take my foot off the front step.
I'm not going to surprise them, not one fucking chance. What I'm hoping is that if I yell at them, they'll know someone is paying attention and that'll snap them out of their stupid lockstep.
AL has stopped by the time I'm mid-way across the street. BSPG is back up again, swaying and muttering.
"I'm going to call the cops!" AL announces.
"Yeah," I say. "I was thinking of that myself."
So he dials, BSPG tries to get back onto the porch and keeps falling off the stairs. He's got a lump on his jaw the size of an orange. It's turning purple. His ear is bleeding.
I look at the porch. Two Scoundrels, and this time I think they righteously deserve the title, are sitting there. They've been watching their friend fall down and hurt himself, they've been watching AL have at 'er.
It incenses me. "And you! You're sitting there? Shouldn't you be doing something? Like caring?" I pull my stabby finger out for this, using it as punctuation for my angry sentence fragments.
They just stare at me. And really, I guess, what are they going to do? They certainly know BSPG, his limits and his temperament a damn sight better than I do. And he was inflicting way more damage on his own self than AL.
I give up, I leave, go back home.
Not long after, I hear three cop cars pull up, I hear the other neighbours out on the sidewalk, the ones who pretended nothing was happening, chatting with each other now, telling the police they don't know what happened. I'm on the phone with Jackass Shipping, trying not to blow a gasket.
I hear the words "pink shirt." I look down. That's me.
When I opened the door, the cops were already heading towards my house. I told them what I saw. BSPG threw the first punch, so the AL was totally within the law to "defend himself" by repeatedly punching the prone and insensible man. Nothing happened to anyone, there was nothing to do.
We, a few of us, us homeowners, us renters, us hip kids and care providers, we stood on the other side of the street and watched, talked amongst ourselves, all wry lips and shoulder shrugs, while some of the cops and the scoundrels laughed on the porch. AL stood alone by the car, one hand on the hood, waiting for his turn to tell his story.
*And hell, who am I to talk, Miss Positive Mantoux Test over here.