It all started quietly, this particular Tuesday. Chooch and I were sprawled across the floor, me watching the US Open, Chooch flipping through OK! Magazine.
And then the urgent pounding happened on my front door.
Great, I thought, figuring it was the maintenance man arriving unannounced as usual, but hoping it wasn’t the dreaded gas man. I was just happy I had on a bra as I pulled open the door and found myself nose-to-badge.
No cordiality, no good mornings, just a very gruff and blunt, “Do you live here alone?” I looked past the tall bear of a Pittsburgh detective and did a rough count of at least nine others, milling around my front yard and driveway in navy blue t-shirts and ball caps.
The first thought that clouded my mind was, “Oh shit, wtf did I do now?” If it’s true what they say about your past catching up to you, then those peanut shell magnets I stole from Lechter’s when I was six now have me in a full-nelson. Not to mention the hobo I shot point blank back in ’02 and rolled into a tar pit. (KIDDING. God.) I could feel my sweat glands pumping out pools of anxiety and guilt. I gathered my composure and told him that my boyfriend also lives here. Oh shit, wtf did HENRY do, I thought.
“But you don’t have roommates? A male and female?” he asked, and I could feel his glare searching my eyeballs for the truth, a flicker of hesitance, a shadow of doubt. His eyes kept darting over my shouder and into my toy-strewn living room. Chooch leaned against the door frame and kept pointing at me, as if he was trying desperately to alert the popo that the perp was standing right in front of them, in the bright pink shirt. I was kind of hoping that perhaps Chooch would choose that moment to shout his new favorite salutation — HEY DOUCHE! — and maybe offer a round of Freezepops.
When I told him no, he began asking me about my neighbors, if I knew of anyone – a male and female – who had moved in to one of the apartments on my block, within the last month. I laughed inwardly and considered explaining to him that I’m nearly a recluse and try with all of my might not to have any association with the people here.
“Obviously, we’re looking for someone,” he explained, thank God because my blond hair prevents me from gathering clues and forming conclusions without the aid of big tough men. Eventually, I was dismissed and retreated back to my living room, feeling guilty and suspicious like I always do when questioned. The same way I feel when I go to the bank, like the teller naturally assumes I’m withdrawing money to purchase supplies for my meth lab.
Now I want to know who my neighbors are and if there’s a body count.