Pardon moi if I have already mentioned this, but last winter, the new jackass priest at the church across the street put up a sign prohibiting people from parking in the church lot overnight. This presented an issue because that’s where a bunch of us on this block parked because our street is notorious for hit-and-runs. I mean, if you’ve even casually read this blog or followed me on Instagram over the years, you have probably known about at least one incident. In fact, Henry was even interviewed about this on the local news!
As you can see in the picture below, there are two driveways for four duplexes to share. House #3 has two residents and SIX cars. SIX!!! Two of them are FREE CANDY vans that don’t run and are just rusting in the back, a minivan that used to be permanently parked in the church lot was moved behind House #1, one was being stored in the garage of House #2 while the house was vacant, and then two of them are actually used daily.
The people who live in House #7 are just as bad. One of their cars is literally a Yellow Cab minivan. They also had a bunch of cars that were broken down and being “stored” in the lot across the street, in addition to someone’s extremely noisy work van (we’ll get to this in a second), so it’s actually no wonder the priest flipped his shit.
OK, now please familiarize yourself with the cast of characters as detailed below:
- Multi-unit house not affiliated with our set of duplexes (they have a different landlord). Residents include Chooch’s friend Marky who lives there with his grandparents, some older lone guy who recently broke his knee and fell in front of our house at 1am after getting out of the hospital and Chooch, unbeknownst to us, went out to assist him; a…strange older couple who we never have had any interaction with but Hot Naybor Chris refers to them as Johnny Cash and Buttcrack (her ass crack really does make an absurd amount of appearances). For the sake of brevity, we will henceforth refer to them as JC & BC.
- There used to be a couple from Kentucky who lived here and the cops were there so much, they should have been helping with rent. Tons of domestic issues. They were smoking with Marky’s mom and stepdad one night and caught their couch on fire. The husband reminded me of Johnny Craig. Anyway, they’re gone and now Rob* is moving in.
- HNC and his wife who hates the squirrels and is the Pioneer parking dictator.
- The coolest people on the street!
- Henry’s older son Blake and his fam.
- Two older brothers. One is George and I don’t know the other guy’s name. They are nice enough but they did have an Oz sign in their yard for this last election, so. I think the daughter of one of them lives there too? She owns a boutique on the Boulevard and seems cool. They also have a cool dog named Zeus. Overall, no issues with these people but we also keep our distance all the same.
- Chooch’s nemesis Larry and his wife. She seems sane. I think she is also somehow related to one of the brothers next door to them? Daughter, maybe? I also think that their young adult son and/or daughter has been living there too?
- IDK, seem normal, no interaction
- IDK, seem normal, no interaction but it’s worth mentioning that this is the unit where my favorite ex-neighbor ROBIN used to live.
- Jackie’s house, has been there since before I moved in back in 1999. Not a rental unit. At this point, me, Jackie, and two other non-rental houses on the other side of her are the OGs of the block.
- The yellow lines that HNC’s wife had painted on the curb because she can’t pull out of the driveway if people park too close. If you park over the yellow lines, she will call the police on you. She did that to one of my old neighbors, but that was probably also because she was black. Sigh.
*OK, we’ll start this with a backstory about ROB. When I moved here in 1999, Rob and Jackie were married and had a son named Brandon. I think Brandon was somewhere between 10-12 and he was a little punk, if we’re being honest. I was 20 when I moved here and Brandon and some other neighbor kids glommed on to me IMMEDIATELY. I kind of became the resident babysitter, except that I wasn’t getting paid. But it wasn’t all that bad. I always had friends here with me and we would play with the kids in the yard. Brandon could be a super dick though and to this day, I am still convinced that he broke into my house through my basement in 2001 and stole an entire CD rack from my house. Even when I confronted Jackie about it, she didn’t deny it on his behalf, just said that if he did it, she unfortunately had not seen any of the CDs in her house. I was actually JUST thinking about this other day too when the whole Hoobstank topic came up because the night I was robbed, I was at the Dave Navarro show at Metropol and Hoobastank opened for him. I was with my friend Wonka and as we were leaving, the singer of Hoobastank (they were not well-known at all yet, no radio “hits”) was handing out samplers. Never one to pass up a CD sampler, I of course took one and I went to walk away, the singer called out, “Wait! Don’t you want me to sign it?” So that is why I have a signed Hoobastank CD in my collection, OK? God.
Then Dave Navarro said hello to me and let me take his picture as he was getting into his car and I floated home on Cloud Nine….only to see that the glass of my basement window had been broken.
Meanwhile, Brandon’s dad was the Street Drunk. Everyone knew Rob. He’d get hammered and like, stand in the middle of the road naked. There was this one story I had heard about how he was getting on a plane shortly after 9/11 and started screaming about terrorists and had to be dragged off the plane.
Rob and Jackie live far enough down the street that I haven’t had much interaction with them over the years, but Jackie has always been very kind to me and we still say hello to each other in passing. I have to laugh though because there used to be a kid that lived next to her who Chooch and Marky used to play with and for some reason they would always go in Jackie’s backyard and then she would yell at them. Chooch haaaates her to this day and calls her The Witch but if you ask me, this was just karma for all the times her dumb kid would darken my doorstep.
I guess it was about a year ago, I kept noticing that Rob was in and out of Larry’s house (House #7). I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but it somehow came up in conversation when Henry was talking to HNC one day that Jackie had kicked Rob out and gotten a restraining order against him SO HE MOVED IN WITH LARRY. Oh, I bet Jackie fucking loved that, still having to see his ass every day.
So then the NEW PARKING DECREE was issued and Rob, no longer having a driveway, had to start squeezing his noisy-ass work van onto the street. Now, this is city parking and no one can “claim” that a particular space is theirs, as much as they want to. Most people just bitch about it quietly but NOT HNC’S WIFE. All it took was Rob parking his van ONE TIME in front of HER HOUSE for her to straight-up threaten him with a baseball bat. I’m not joking – it was a whole fucking confrontation and I have it on video. This was in April.
Things got pretty quiet on the parking front for a while. In fact, I eventually realized one day over the summer that I hadn’t seen Rob’s van in a while so I figured he must have moved, but then I quickly moved on because I didn’t actually care that much.
Two weeks ago, Henry and I were getting in the car to leave and HNC was fiddling around with one of his broken rapist vans. I asked him how he was doing and he groaned, “Oh just lovely. I’m getting a new neighbor. DEAD ROB.”
“Dead Rob?” I asked, not following.
“Yeah, you know, Rob from down there? He died then came back?* Anyway, his mom up to died and he sold her house and now he’s moving in next door to me.”
*(UM NO I DIDN’T KNOW THIS??? I GUESS THAT’S WHY HE DISAPPEARED FOR A WHILE? WAS HE IN REHAB OR SOMETHING?)
“I haven’t told Ruth yet,” Chris went on. “She’s not going to be happy.”
Then I immediately remembered their April altercation and had to chew on the inside of my cheek to keep from squealing. I managed to wait until Henry and I pulled out of the driveway before LEGIT CACKLING over this. If you don’t know, HNC’s wife is like Pioneer Enemy #1. There is not a person on this street who has not suffered her wrath. I try very hard to tread lightly even though I want to confront her so bad every time she calls the squirrels bastards.
So HNC had to remove his spare car from the empty house’s garage since IT AIN’T EMPTY ANYMORE, FRIEND, and now street parking got a bit trickier because Rob has two cars that he needs to park on the street since HNC takes up the entire bottom of the driveway (we’re so privileged and grateful that he cleared enough space for us to park our two cars, thanks so much for providing us with space that we’re already entitled to according to our lease, but mmmm).
If you please go back up and refer to my handy illustration, you will see that there is a WHITE CAR parked in front of HNC’s house, owned by Johnny Cash and Buttcrack. Now, legend has it that HNC asked them nicely to kindly start parking their car farther up the street, more toward their own house, so that HNC can park the car that he actually does drive in front of his own house. Allegedly, they said they would and I guess they did so one or two times, but then reverted back to parking in front of HNC’s house. HNC says it’s because they like the convenience of this spot in that it enables them to more easily make a U-turn when leaving? This is such a wild rationale to me. I mean, that reason just seems dumb.
So HNC (or Ruth, I dunno – I wasn’t there) had to ask them again. Now, this is where things get curious to me because whatever happened next caused JC and BC to go over to HNC’s house on Monday afternoon. I was sitting at my desk working and Henry had just walked out the door to go to THE STORE when he called me and said, “JC and BC just walked up to Ruth’s house, get ready.” So of course I whirled around to look out the window. From my vantage, I couldn’t see JC because he must have been too close to Ruth’s front door, but I could see BC, who was standing on the sidewalk casually slurping on what appeared to be a milkshake.
Then I heard GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE! *SLAM* GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE! *ANOTHER SLAM* and then JC & BC retreated. Henry had just reached our car in the lot (we still park there during the day until the sign changes and says that we can’t) and said that he turned around in time to see JC lurching and slurring (Henry’s imitation of this was priceless, honestly) and Ruth slamming the door. “I guarantee she calls the cops,” Henry said when he called me again from the car.
Several minutes later, cop shows up. I was desperately trying to hear what was being said but there is never a reprieve from the traffic on this fucking street. But I could tell that Ruth was crying and she was obviously explaining the parking situation to the cop. Then the cop walked over to JC’s house. Henry was home at this point, and I said, “Fuck it, I’m going out there.” I mean, I wanted to know. And I didn’t want to rely on whatever secondhand nonsense HNC was going to give to Henry later.
Ruth was fucking shaking on her porch when I walked over. Rob, in the process of moving in, also came over to comfort her, which I thought was decent considering she had just threatened him with a baseball bat six months ago. But then as he walked away, she looked at me and said with total contempt in her tone, “And you know where HE came from” and pointed down the street toward Larry’s house. I’m actually surprised she didn’t spit at him as he was walking away. Good ol’ Ruth.
But then she went back to be being shook and told me the story:
She was in the kitchen baking a pumpkin pie (this was a key element to the story, apparently, because I have heard her tell the story so many times now and it always starts out this way) when she heard a light tapping. She assumed it was Rob hanging up pictures next door. Then suddenly, JC is storming into her house, lurching at her and slurring angrily (her imitation of this sounded just like Henry’s, like someone who had just woken up from oral surgery had immediately gone to a haunted house and was trying to scream with a mouthful of gauze and novacaine. She said that the only reason her door was even unlocked was because her daughter was on her way over. And I get it, a Monday afternoon, broad daylight, you don’t really think twice about unlocking your door in preparation for someone’s arrival. I can’t fault her for that.
But how fucking horrific, to be in your kitchen, listening to the radio and baking a pie, when some fucking drunk derelict comes bursting into your house?? And I am in no way condoning this, but it begs the question….what was the actual impetus of this? Like, what EXACTLY was said to them over this stupid parking situation that caused the guy to be that angry (he also seems a bit off too, to be frank) that he is going to walk right into your house when you don’t answer?!
There are missing pieces here. Or…maybe he’s just that fucking weird that this seemed OK to him??
Anyway, the cop came back over at this point, so I excused myself and went back into my house.
“WAS ROB HOLDING A SHOT GUN???” Henry asked me.
“No, it was like, a vaccuum cleaner from the 80s,” I clarified, and that became my favorite part of the whole debacle. I can’t explain it, but I get big Beetlejuice vibes from Rob and him loitering on his porch with a vaccuum nozzle while in the middle of a neighborhood dispute is exactly the image I want to use on the imaginary cover for the straight-to-video VHS tape of this volume of the Pioneer Tales.
After the cop left, I went back over to Ruth’s because I genuinely felt bad and wanted to give her my number in case anything like that happened again. She invited me in and went through the whole ordeal again in depth and man, the image I have in my head of this weirdo pushing his way into her house, ugh. Shudder City.
A short while later came another explosion of expletives outside. I looked out the window just in time to see Ruth’s daughter Ashley rushing through the yard, screaming, “IF YOU FUCK WITH MY MOM AGAIN, I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU” as her husband was trying to hold her back. Then about an hour later, ANOTHER screaming match happened. I tried to get this on video but of course, fucking traffic and also there is no good vantage point from the inside of my house to be able to capture what goes on over on that side of the yard. But this time it sounded like both Ashley and her husband and both JC and BC were screaming threats and insults at each. Ashley and her husband kept sneering at them for being alcoholics and saying things like, “I can smell the booze on your breath from over here!” and then the cops showed up again, this time because JC called them and said he was assaulted by Ashley’s husband which I’m pretty sure is not accurate, but ok.
Later that night, Henry and I were telling Chooch about everything he missed when he was at work. I was reminded of the time when I first moved in and there was a guy named Paul who lived in House #5. People were constantly mistaking my house for Paul’s, peering into my window and calling out, “PAUL!” and I’m like, “Nope, next house.” Paul was basically like an eternal frat boy and was probably definitely selling drugs too, because he was very popular and always had people coming in and out. I told Chooch about the time that I had just gotten into bed for the night and stupid Jeff, my then-boyfriend, hadn’t shut the front door all the way which I found out when we were laying in bed and heard the front door open.
The fridge opening.
Beer bottles clanking as they’re being put into the fridge.
Then, footsteps on the stairs.
Jeff, manly as he was, was straight-up cowering behind me in bed.
“Paul?” a stranger’s voice called out from the midway point of the steps.
“No, wrong house,” I replied.
“Oh fuck, I’m so sorry!”
Footsteps more frantic now, fridge door opening, beer bottles being removed, front door closes.
“Oh my god!” Chooch said.
“Yeah, it was scary and weird,” I laughed. Because I wasn’t murdered that night, so I can laugh.
There was also this one time when I had several friends over and we were all sitting outside drinking some shitty Smirnoff Ice probably, when some people got out of a car and started walking down my sidewalk toward my porch. We were all sitting on the sidewalk and these randos just like, stepped over us and kept walking.
“Watch this,” I mouthed to my friends, and then counted down 3….2….
The randos walked right onto my porch and opened my front door.
“Wrong house!” I called over my shoulder. “Paul lives down there.”
Paul still lived there by the time Henry had moved in with me, so he is also aware of this legendary part of Pioneer’s past. We shared some more Paul stories with Chooch and then briefly wondered whatever happened to him.
And then the next day, this happened?!
Highly doubt they were trying to reach THAT Paul, but still spooky!
I was telling some co-workers about this and how you know, once Paul moved away, random strangers stopped walking into my house and BOY, SO GLAD ABOUT THAT, DOT DOT DOT.
PART 2, TOMORROW.