Friday, June 22, 2007

meet the neighbors

Allie and were sitting on the porch eating delicious fajitas when we heard a hellicopter fly by so low that it sounded like a lawnmower on the roof. And the sound of sirens was welling on the horizon, drawing nearer by the second.

We stepped out onto the lawn and craned our necks skyward. It was a police copter circling the next block over.

"Come on," I said to Allie, "let's go check it out."

As we rounded the block, we saw other neighbors on their front porches, standing on their tippy toes, trying to get a glimpse of the scene. Some followed us on our march to the action.

"What if we get shot?" Allie asked.

"We won't get shot," I said. But then, remembering how irked she gets when I tell her something won't happen only see it to happen shortly thereafter, I said, "Well, maybe we will. But it'll be worth it."

We turned the corner and saw the flashing lights, a woman waving her arms in the air, cussing, restrained by the cops. We saw a man in cuffs and some kind of weird face-masked helmet that the cops put on to keep him from spitting, I guess. They kept pouring water in his face.

We asked a skinny man with no shirt and a pair of baggy shorts what was going on. He didn't know much, only that the man in the helmet had received a face full of pepper spray. Thus the periodic water dowsing. He apparently knew the man. "That's Adrian," he said.

We stood and watched for a while as they cuffed Adrian's mom and dad. We noticed a film crew recording the whole thing.

"Wow!" I said. "Cops is shooting this!"

There were a few people gathered in clusters around the scene, gawking like us, hoping, I have to admit, to see something really outrageous. One man sat in an idling Corolla across the street. After a while he drove off, flashing a thumbs up as he left, yelling, "Let's keep our neighborhood clean!"

The skinny man in shorts looked at the cops and scoffed, "I'd like to ask them how many people they've beaten today." Earlier he'd said, "This is a police state." Allie asked his name. He said it is Rick. He and his wife and two daughters live directly behind us. They've lived there for 20 years. He said my garden is "beautiful."

The action had slowed to a procedural hault. We had a brief rush when an ambulance pulled up, but it was short lived. Just then our tall lesbian neighbor four houses to the north showed up. I'd never had a chance to ask her name, so I took the opportunity. It's Jennifer.

As we were walking home I turned to Allie and said, "What a great way to meet our neighbors." We agreed to invite them all over for a barbecue soon.

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