Henry and I were working on the Gameboy project Saturday night, being the wild and crazy kids that we are (I at least sipped on a glass of wine during the art sesh, lol ugh this lame life). The firetruck came by for a visit, which is not unusual given the crazy street I live on. From what we deduced, our neighbor a few houses down had smelled gas, so after the firetruck came, so did the gas company. This is like the third time of late that the gas company has come in for this – the last time, both local gas companies were here all day, doing their gas company things, and I guess the result was “no leak”?? I have no idea, but I really hope that if something is going on over there, someone fixes it soon. I want to move, but I’d like that to be into a new house and not a burial plot, you know? IS THAT TOO DARK FOR MONDAY.
Anyway, this was all just my usual preamble to set the scene, I guess.
Around 10:30, I decided I was done playing with clay and retreated to the couch. Right after I sat down, I heard a horn blaring and saw a blue light flash outside of the window. It was an ambulance, and they were beeping at the DRUNK WOMAN SHAMBLING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET IN FRONT OF MY HOUSE.
“Well, there’s a drunk person walking past our house,” I reported to Henry, who had asked for a Pioneer Ave update from the dining room.
Usually, I do not care much for people, but this broad was making me capital N nervous. She was D R U N K, and just like, “Tee hee, I had three Fuzzy Navels with my gal pals” giddy drunk. First of all, why was she ALONE? I opened the front door just in time to see her nearly get hit by a pick-up truck, stagger even farther into the road, where she came close to being clipped by a car passing on the other side.
Might I remind you at this time that I do not live on a quiet residential road. This ain’t Maple Street, my guy.
(As I write this, the gas company is back on my block.)
“Don’t get involved,” Henry warned, now in Dad Mode. “Someone probably already called 911. Let them deal with it.”
WOW look who doesn’t want someone else to steal the hero thunder. Mmm.
Yes, there is always the risk that the person in question is psychotic or belligerent; and yes, it’s true that, at my core, I truly do not care much for people because all of my love is for animals, but if anything happened to this broad, I’d carry that to my grave. My capacity for carrying guilt is huge. You could fill quarries with the guilt I got loafing on my conscience at all times.
I went outside. Prayed to the Kpop idols that this wasn’t going to backfire. Gently called out, “Hello, are you OK?”
She looked up at me with glassy, unfocused eyes, and this was the first time I really gained a sense of what I was dealing with: a classic White Yinzer of approx. late 40s to late 50s, possibly even younger if we’re going the “rode hard and put away wet” assumption.
What came next was a deluge of slurred words, something about trying to get somewhere, no one answering, where’s the road, etc. “I’m drunk,” she tacked on, a disclaimer that I did not need.
“OK, well, let’s stand here on the sidewalk while we figure this out,” I said, blocking her from drifting back out onto the street.
“Why are you being nice to me?” she asked, and OK I dislike people, we know this, but wow, that one made me feel something in the ice box. I explained that I saw her in the street from my window and didn’t want her to get hurt.
She said she was trying to get to Liberty, and I was thinking she needed to go downtown and I’m sorry, I wasn’t committed enough to offer this broad a ride. If she needed an Uber, I was happy to wait there with her until one arrived, but then she finally got ahold of her friend, Lorraine. She put Lorraine on speaker and started yelling at her for not picking up, and then she goes, “THIS GIRL IS HELPING ME, HERE TELL HER WHERE YOU LIVE” and then she screamed, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” to Lorraine when I was trying to tell Lorraine where we were standing. Henry was watching this from the front door and asked me later, “Did she tell her friend to shut the fuck up?” with a laugh. Yes, yes she did.
Turns out, LORRAINE only lives one block away from me, on the same street. This drunkard had actually shambled past Lorraine’s house and good thing I found her when I did or she may actually have ended up downtown at some point. Who could be sure.
So now I’m trying to get the broad to turn around so that we can start our walk to Lorraine’s. Again, she asked me why I was being so nice. And maybe I was even asking myself this too, but dude…girls gotta look out for each other, no matter what. ESPECIALLY ON PIONEER. The residents around here are like a jar of mixed nuts, literally. Imagine ROB or LARRY intercepting. No, on second thought, do not imagine.
Rob, coincidentally, did come out of his front door during this but it wasn’t to help, it was because he waiting for his….customer.
By now, I had asked the lush for her name.
“Fred,” she spat her alleged name into the air, and if this were a graphic novel, imagine the letters F R E D coalescing in the space before us in glittering liquor droplets, like a dive bar’s marquee.
You know, it just occurred to me that she sort of resembled Jennifer Coolidge but like, a rough blue-collared Yinzer edition, like if J.Cool was born, raised, and possibly perms hair in DA BURGH.
In front of my neighbor George’s house, Fred drew in a harsh sniff. “I smell gas!” Here is where I remind you that the gas company is still present, parked in the lot across the street waiting for more crew to arrive. Pioneer had multiple story lines playing out on this night. I explained to her that my neighbor had already called 911 about it and pointed to the parked gas company car.
“YOU’RE GON’ SPLODE!” she frantically slurred. “BUBBY, THEY’RE GON’ SPLODE YOU!”
Did I mention that she called me Bubby during this guided tour of Pioneer? But with her level of inebriation, it was coming out more like a burped “buhhhhhby.”
Now we’re about four houses away from my house, still on the same block, when we passed a parked car with people inside. PRETTY SURE they live in one of the houses on my block, so, you know, technically my neighbors. Fred, apropos of NOTHING, lurched toward the passenger window and fucking barks, “FUCK YOU! FUCK! YOU!” into the rolled-up window.
“OK, no, let’s not…no,” I said, giving her a tug to keep her moving.
“I like to FIGHT!” she cried. “I just really love FIGHTING, Bubby!!”
“Gotta stay on your good side!” I laughed nervously, while in my head I’m like “GOTTA STAY ON HER GOOD SIDE” sans laughter.
Did I tell you that we were holding hands the whole time? Yeah, we were holding hands. Looking back on this has me feeling very uncomfy now.
Fred, forgetting about the random people in a parked car that she wanted to fuck up, asked me with so much gravity to her warbled voice, “Bubby. Does your husband hit you?” (She may have said “hate” instead, I couldn’t tell, but either option is depressing.)
I said no and the ERIN IN ME wanted to use this opening as yet another platform to whine about my unmarried status, but THIS NIGHT WAS ABOUT HELPING FRED, NOT MAKING IT ALL ABOUT ME AS USUAL.
We had finally reached the next block (I could have walked here in about 30 seconds if I didn’t have a drunk lady leaning against me, nearly breaking her ankles in the wedges she was wearing.
I asked her where she had been coming from, and she said Slapshots. You guys, Slapshots is a bar on a very busy main road. It’s a very doable walk…BUT NOT WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK IN WEDGES?! I was telling my friend Nate about this at work today and he was like, “Erin. She walked to your street from SLAPSHOTS? HOW DID SHE NOT GET KILLED.”
You cannot just stumble into West Liberty Avenue in a drunken stupor and expect to live. That road is fucking busy, always. Fred must have had a goddamn angel gliding above her this night.
♠ Lorraine’s house
♥ MY HOUSE WHERE I FOUND FRED IN THE STREET
Trying to make small talk as I led her across the street like a school crossing guard with my arm out to stop oncoming traffic, I asked Fred if Lorraine was her friend, or sister, or…
“SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND!” Fred shouted. “I had another really good friend too but she hanged herself last year. It’s been a really bad year.” And then, a quiet burp pushed out the rest: “I’m so depressed.”
Honestly, same, but I was also relieved that we had successfully crossed over Pioneer while she was spilling these dark truths.
Before I had a chance to really unpack what Fred was saying, A COP ROLLED TO A STOP NEXT TO US. because of course, this was bound to happen. I had seen him earlier when I first went outside to get her out of the street so I’m sure he was just circling the block LIKE THOSE MOTHERFUCKING HAWKS, hoping to have a reason to cuff some chicks, let’s goooooo.
“Everything OK here?” he called out of his passenger-side window. My natural instinct is to sneer in the faces of cops, but I just wanted this expedition to end without escalation. GET FRED TO LORRAINE’S. IGNORE BOOBYTRAPS. DODGE DISTRACTIONS. DON’T LET FRED FALL. DON’T LET FRED ENGAGE IN FISTICUFFS. UNLOCK LEVEL LORRAINE’S HOUSE.
“Yes, we’re fine. I’m just getting her to her friend’s house right down there.”
He gave us a douchey invisible hat-tip, before setting off to look for other ways to meet his ARREST quota.
“YOU’RE AWESOME!” Fred screamed at his patrol car, and then as he drove away, she tacked on, “YOU FUCKING PIG.”
You guys, we made it to Lorraine’s. I knew this because Lorraine had said it was the only house with a tree in the yard after I asked her to repeat her house number for the third time back when we were on the phone, because I was too distracted by Fred’s precarious swaying to retain the 4 digits she kept giving me.
And then Fred recognized her car parked on the street so that was the clincher.
“Let me drive you home, Bubby! You have to let me drive you home!”
Um…no way was this broad getting behind any wheel. I told her that I was fine to walk back (literally took me a minute) and that the only thing she should be doing was going into Lorraine’s house, hydrated, and getting some sleep.
And now Fred had half-crashed into me, half-pulled me into a hug. “I can’t let you leave!” she cried into my shoulder.
Oh my god. Get it together Fred.
Of course, Lorraine had a steep set of steps leading up to her house, so that was a treat. I was walking behind Fred, I don’t know what I thought that was going to do – she’d have taken us both out if she fell.
Once we made it to Lorraine’s porch, Fred just opened the door and walked right in. My heart started racing, hoping that this was the right house and we weren’t about to get our faces shot off. Fred ran/stumbled straight ahead and faceplanted HARD into a black leather couch. Lorraine was sitting in a recliner next to the door, with her back facing me. She looked over her shoulder and said “Thanks.”
That’s all. Just thanks.
I mean, I wasn’t looking for cash (although Fred was trying hard to give me money) but the way this bitch was just like BIG SHRUG really pissed me off. OK, maybe this is Typical Fred Antics but c’mon you dumb bitch, this is your friend and she was literally out in the wild of Brookline, where she could have been picked up by a rapist, taken to the drunk tank by that smarmy cop, GOTTEN FLATTENED BY A TRUCK…Fred’s night could have ended up in so many worse ways. The fact that Lorraine didn’t even at least stand on her porch to look for us? That really pissed me off. Fred deserves better.
I’m sure Fred forgot all about this immediately upon hitting the couch, but I think I will remember Fred forever.
My entire body wasn’t even in the house yet before Henry’s rang.
Hot Naybor Chris: “What is going on out there??”
Ah, Pioneer Avenue’s tagline.