Friday, July 24, 2009

Postcard from Murderville

Last night, around midnight, I found myself lying face down on the floor next to my couch. Odd popping sounds from outside forced me to duck and cover.

"Finally," I thought, "The gun fire everyone has been talking about!"

A couple months ago an old friend was visiting and dubbed my neighborhood "Murderville" Even in broad daylight he could sense something wasn't quite right in the hood. I love the eclectic vibe my area affords me- the remodeled historic homes and apartments, the dilapidated shacks, the mini mansions. It's the reason I live here, why I've always wanted to live here. If you as me, I say I live in the East Village. Unfortunately, Murderville is what everyone now remembers. Thanks!

I had some time to think while I was on the floor: Can I reach my phone? These don't sound like shots fired, but what are the? Should I get up? No, idiot! What would your Dad say? What if they were gunshots? Stay down!! How much does it cost to replace a window? What about the wall? What's that echo?

Ten "shots" later, I pick myself off the floor and casually look outside. Nothing is there. Not in the courtyard, not at the crack house across the street, not anywhere. Surely I would see something outside, right?

The sorry truth is, probably not. About a year ago, I was sitting on the couch watching one of those sappy Hollywood movies you can only watch at home alone and never tell anyone you saw it, when I heard a noise outside. I peeked out the window but didn't see anything there. I went back to my Will Smith movie- damn, I shouldn't have said that! Anyway, a couple minutes later, I heard a noise again coming from my courtyard. When I looked out the window I saw a guy leaning against the gate. "Silly drunk", I thought; and went back to my movie. Not a minute later, I heard yelling in the courtyard as someone, presumably the drunk, tried to beat down the door to an apartment. "Weirdo".

Several minutes later, I notice a flashing of red and blues and peek out the window to the street. There were about six cruisers, and ambulance, and all the cops and paramedics to go with them. In my courtyard, a stretcher carried the drunk out and into the ambulance. Cops milled about, checking out the fence, talking to neighbors. This was just too go to miss! I quickly put on an outfit befitting the situation (i.e. no pajamas), and went outside. A young policeman came up and asked me if I heard anything so I recounted the story above. Apparently, the guy wasn't a drunk, or at least that's not all he was. You see, when I first heard the noise and looked outside, the guys was impaled on the spikes atop my courtyards fence. When I looked back outside and saw him leaning against the fence, he had wiggled himself free. When I heard yelling and pounding, he was trying to get his friends attention. It was a gruesome sight.

I have no idea what the noise I heard last night was. Maybe firecrackers? BB gun? Car backfiring several times? Maybe it was a gun? Maybe the echoing noise was caused by the layout of my courtyard. Like they say in those Tootsie Rolls commercials, the world may never know.

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