Oh hey guys, B-line Story Time!
Early Thursday morning, right before 6am if my blurry eyes were looking at the time properly, I woke up to what sounded like an explosion, a loud bang, followed by tons of masculine shouting. I had slept on the couch that night because sometimes I like to fall asleep to Korean stuff playing on YouTube (leave me alone), so when I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was that my living room was flooded with flashing red and blue lights. I jumped off the couch and ran to the window.
There were cops and SWAT vehicles ALL UP AND DOWN MY STREET.
My heart was racing and I felt dizzy with anxiety. My first thought was HOW DID THEY FIND ME.
I mean: I DIDN’T DO IT.
I mean: NO SRSLY, WHAT DID I DO!?
But after the first few seconds of shock wore off, I realized that they weren’t coming for me after all. Even though it sounded like they had my house surrounded and were actually INSIDE my house.
Oh wait…they kind of were.
BECAUSE THEY WERE AT MY NEIGHBOR’S.
THE GUY WHO LIVES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF MY DUPLEX.
WE SHARE A FUCKING WALL.
I heard an undecipherable shouting, someone yelling about drugs.
Of course. It’s always motherfucking drugs.
Chooch had woken up too and that boy wakes at NOTHING so you know shit was apocalyptic up here on P-Ave. I went flying upstairs and joined him in my bedroom, where we sat at the foot of my bed, peeking out the blinds. I called Henry at work and he said that Hot Naybor Chris had already called him because he too heard an explosion. Now that I think about it, I think all I heard was the banging of the front door being knocked in, but Chooch said he for sure heard an explosion followed by a bright flash of light outside his window and that the explosion sounded like it came from upstairs. So we think the cops might have used a flash bomb upstairs before entering the neighbor’s bedroom.
You guys. My mind was spinning. With Boots, that fucking piece of white trash who lived there last year, something like this would be expected. In fact something similar did happen to him but I was at work for that one. And that was because he robbed and assaulted a man. (Janna looked him up last night out of curiosity and I’m happy to report that that d-bag is currently in jail.)
But this current guy…he seemed so NORMAL. I know, I know, that’s how it always works. The neighbor of BTK goes on record saying, “But Dennis was so normal!” Ted Bundy’s grandma talking about how he helped her carry her groceries like a NORMAL guy. We’ve all heard that before. But when this guy moved in last spring, after the landlord literally had to gut and rebuild the interior of that unit after Boots destroyed it with his drug-induced stupors, Chooch and I went out to introduce ourselves and it became a thing that we could exclude Henry from, you know?
Like, we knew the neighbor better than Henry because we met him first. It was kind of like a Parker’s sitch. I don’t want to say his name, so we’ll make one up: Ned.
I was so happy to have Ned next door after the horrors of Boots! There was a woman who lived there too, she was occasionally annoying (she talked SUPER LOUD and fought with Ned a lot) but overall, they were pretty normal people, didn’t come and go at all hours of the night, DIDN’T SLAM THE DOOR THANK THE FUCKING LORD. Just pretty regular neighbors. In fact, the only thing they gave us to obsess about was trying to figure out their relationship. We never saw them leave together in the same car, or even at the same time, and they seemed to just not like each other. I think we settled on the belief that they were siblings or cousins, maybe.
She told me her name once when we were both leaving for work at the same time, but a truck drove past just as she said it so I just pretended like I heard because I didn’t feel like extending the conversation by asking her to repeat it.
One time we talked about the weather and she was like, “GIRL I WILL TAKE THIS RAIN OVER THAT COLD SHIT WE’VE BEEN HAVING” and I was like, “Ok.”
She was fairly unassuming too. Always dressed in workout clothes. Not like slummy, grimy sweatshirts or whatever, but really nice workout clothes. And she was in great shape too. So in my head, she was an aerobics instructor.
COINCIDENTALLY, she was not there while all of this was going on Thursday morning. DID SHE KNOW? WAS SHE THE MOLE? WERE THEY AFTER HER TOO?
I kept thinking it had to be her. I wanted it to be her because I really liked Ned and didn’t want to believe that he did something bad.
But after an hour of listening to the drug task team tear the house apart, an hour of crashing and banging and shattering and clattering, police radios squawking, the police dog barking, the SWAT team eventually pulled out. So I was like, “MAYBE IT WAS A MISTAKE! MAYBE THEY DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING!”
But then….I looked out the window again and saw him.
Standing on the sidewalk, surrounded by police clad in hoodies and vests.
“They have Ned cuffed!” I hoarsely whispered to Chooch, and then we started to cry a little.
Like, it actually hurt to see him out there with his head hanging.
This is the third neighbor in a row over there who has been arrested in dramatic fashion (the lady who lived there before Boots was arrested by the US Marshall; we think she part of some car theft ring), but for some reason, this is the one that hurts, man. I felt some type of affinity toward Ned. I wanted him to kick out that broad and be able to have a quiet existence without her yelling at him. I was so Team Ned.
“You didn’t even know him!” Henry yelled at me that night when I started crying about it with my hands over my heart and saying, “I FEEL SO BAD FOR NED. I HOPE HE DIDN’T DO IT. MAYBE HE WAS FRAMED!!!!!”
And, in the middle of the K-drama we were watching, “DO YOU THINK NED IS OK!?”
I keep having these sad montages of my interactions with Ned whirring through my mind. Like when we were both coming home at the same time and he was telling me that he was going to South Carolina because his daughter was graduating early from college, and he was worried about the impending snow storm. And I was like, “Be careful out there!”
Or the time we were both checking our mail boxes at the same time on Halloween and he was like, “I guess I better run out and get candy, the kids’ll be coming” and I laughed, “And mine will be one of them!”
“Remember when we were walking to CVS the other night and Ned was driving down the street and we waved at each other?” I sadly asked Henry yesterday and he was like, “Please stop.”
No one has been over there since this happened Thursday morning, except for the landlord (HNC called him immediately, he’s such a Town Gossip!), and the landlord said that the cops completely trashed the place. Once again, he’s got an empty unit that needs a ton of work before he can rent it again.
HELLO DUM-DUM MAYBE DO BETTER BACKGROUND CHECKS?!
Anyway, I snuck over there last night to check for mail in the mail box because I don’t know Ned’s last name and we wanted to see if we could figure out what was going on. His name wasn’t on anything, but hers was. We looked her up and if this is the same woman, which I think probably is because her name is pretty unique, SHE RECENTLY GOT OUT OF JAIL, DRUG-RELATED OF COURSE.
Ugh. But this made me have hope, that maybe it was her they were after, maybe Ned was framed, maybe he took the fall for her.
But then Henry got some intel from his cop contact who said that a normal drug sweep usually only entails a handful of cops, not SWAT. Guys I’m telling you, our street was lit up like a popo Christmas tree. There had to have been at least 20 cops out there. His source also said that coke was found, and gave him the name of the man arrested.
AND IT WAS NOT NED’S NAME.
There’s a man who is often over there, we thought he was even living there for awhile, so first I thought that maybe he was there when this happened, and he got arrested too.
But I only saw Ned in cuffs. And that other guy’s car wasn’t here.
So then I sadly let myself think the inevitable: DID NED GIVE US A FAKE NAME.
We looked up the name the source gave us and if it’s Ned, then we have essentially been living next door to a leader of a fucking heroin ring. There was a well-known incident here in Pittsburgh from the early 2000s that this guy was involved in, where a popular and infamous nightclub was used as a front. The DEA was involved and this guy, if it’s actually Ned or not I don’t know, served about 10 years in prison but then was let out when some law was passed to reduce sentences for non-violent drug crimes. The dates match up. The age of the guy named in the articles we read match the age of the guy arrested next to us.
OMFG WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING NEXT DOOR TO US. Literally every other house on our block is just…regular. Older people. Families. Just a regular city street! The common denominator is….(no, not me, which is what Glenn suggested)…THE LANDLORD. Maybe he’s the top dog!?
We’re trying to get more information. Today, one of Ned’s friends, this guy with a ginger beard who just looks like he’s probably a jerk, stopped over just as we were getting ready to pull out of the parking lot, so we sat in the car and watched him go in the house for less than 30 seconds AND THEN LEAVE. WHAT WAS HE DOING I’M SO SCARED.
I don’t really understand why I’m having such Emotion over this whole ordeal but it really fucking sucked to see that guy getting arrested. I felt so disappointed, yet worried. OK, so maybe we only ever had like three encounters with each other, but I was so happy to have a neighbor who wasn’t, I don’t know, potentially raping strung-out ladies next door; covering holes in his windows with cereal boxes; stomping up and down the steps at all hours of the night in his cement-block boots; and stealing from the veritable grab-bag of squatters he was letting live there.
Ned seemed like a decent guy. I feel so fucking duped.
I think I actually have some slight PTSD from this. It was so scary, like they were in our house. It was a really scary way to wake up, let me tell you.
“So, those people were like major drug lords but they only paid me $3 to shovel their sidewalk? Wow,” Chooch muttered, suddenly not sorry for Ned anymore.
If you’re keeping score, this makes 3 out 3 recent neighbors who have moved out because now they live in a prison. That side of the house is cursed.
Here’s some free advice for the landlord: do better background checks maybe? Like, is this even happening at all? And perhaps find a nice elderly couple to rent to. Half-deaf so my constant Kpop won’t cause complaints, she knits, he does crossword puzzles.