Wait, did I say day singular? I meant days. Plural. The police visited my nannydom a number of times, but I was only present for two of them.
Let me preface this by saying that I have limited experience with drugs. I can count the number of times I have smoked weed on both hands and I have zero experience with anything else. It's not that I'm STRAIGHT EDGE, YO; it's just that I never found myself presented with many opportunities and, the few times that I did, my disinterest prevailed and I gleefully wandered away to pursue shinier endeavors. That said, I know a junkie when I see one and, as it just so happens, one lives in my nannydom. He looks like Iggy Pop except all meth and no rockstar.
|Replace all of the leather with heroin and subtract 90 pounds.|
"I show you how to get money from tenants."
I met her in the lobby and she produced a handwritten list of apartments with outstanding balances. She drug her finger over each one, detailing the totals in broken English when suddenly I spotted a skinny red headed woman lugging a bike up the stoop. She appeared to be yelling at no one in particular as she started to bang on the glass doors. She eventually pressed a button on the outside intercom and continued to scream into it until whoever she intended to see buzzed her in. She made it to the center before it occurred to her that she was not alone. We shared a good three seconds of intense eye contact. Hers drifted to her lit cigarette, smouldering at the end of her loose, dangling arm. She looked back at us and, in one slow and fluid motion, hid the cigarette behind her back. Confident that this effectively hid her cigarette from us, she made a beeline to the elevator - leaving a hazy trail of smoke behind her.
"Is she allowed to do that? Smoke inside?" I asked. The interim manager looked after the angry woman for a minute before shaking her head disapprovingly and muttering,
Something about knocking on a stranger's door to quiz them about their financial situation fails to come to me naturally. That explains why I felt relief when no one answered the door on the first four apartments. It also explains the sinking sensation in my gut when we reached the fifth and I heard signs of activity inside. I heard footsteps walking away from us, the sound of the television going silent, and the sound of approaching footsteps to the door.
"Aha, someone home," the interim manager whispered, smiling.
"What do we do?"
"You," she said, "ask when they pay."
The footsteps became louder. Thoughts of who could be looming on the other side raced through my head. Terrorists. Unattended children. An army of pitbulls. The doorknob turned, ever so slowly, and I swallowed my nerves and prepared to muster a hello.
"DAMMIT, YOU FUCKING FUCKER, LET ME IN!"
The person who had just opened the door glanced at me and glanced back in the direction that the violent scream had come from.
"You should probably take care of that before you come and ask me for money," he said, and closed the door. The screams persisted.
"YOU CALL ME SAYING THAT YOU'RE DEALING WITH FAMILY? FAMILY? WHAT FAMILY, YOU BULLSHITTER!"
We rounded the corner and saw the gaunt red head with the bicycle, banging on a unit and pacing back and forth, taking short breaks only to take deep drags from her still lit cigarette.
"Listen, you bullshitting cocksucker," she said, driving her fist into the wall, "I rode down here all the way from downtown and I fucking need you to open the door NOW."
I glanced over to the interim manager to see what she would do. Both she and her daughter, who had been silent the entire time, seemed unfazed by the commotion.
"Hey," called the interim manager, "Hey, no smoke in the hall!"
"ASSHOLE, ALL I HAVE HAD THIS WEEK ARE SOME FUCKING CHEESE AND CRACKERS, LET ME IN!"
Then, almost within a millisecond, the woman stopped yelling and began to cry, repeating, "Cheese and crackers, fucking cheese and crackers," all over again as she turned her back to the wall and sank to the floor. She hugged her knees and screamed into her legs as she rocked back and forth.
"Open the door!" she called out one last time. This time the tenant met her demands.
"Why do you have to do that?" he yelled.
The woman stopped crying immediately and shot straight up, screaming,
"WHY THE HELL DO YOU ONLY JUST NOW LET ME IN? YOU GOTTA SEE ME LIKE THAT? HUH? GOTTA SEE ME LIKE THAT?"
"No, you can't just come in here whenever the fuck you want to and demand to come into my apartment!"
"YEAH, WELL -"
"Get in here!" He yelled, ushering her inside and looking both ways before slamming his door shut.
I glanced back to the interim manager and her daughter, expecting to see expressions of quizzical horror.
Instead, the interim manager shook her head and said, "Hmmph."
- End Part 1. -