In my bedside table drawer sits a pair of scissors, a pad of paper, three dead AA batteries, a crucifix, a condom, and a packet of soy sauce.
The condom is from the 2008 Obama Campaign, and the packaging reads, “Put on your ‘O’ face.” The ‘O’ is adorned in campaign branding colors and there’s a smiling picture of then Senator Obama on the back, to set the mood.
I’m pretty sure it’s not official campaign merchandize.
I haven’t opened it (and never will for fear of ruining its value), but I’ve always wondered if Obama’s image is carried over to the actual prophylactic. Maybe his slogan of “Yes We Can” has made an impact in the bedroom as well, an environment where switching positions on something is encouraged.
The soy sauce was the result of getting sushi for lunch one day at work. I had an extra packet and rather than throw it away I considered it might be useful to take back to my apartment. I discovered it in my pocket when I was changing for bed and by that point the kitchen was much too far away, so in the bedside table drawer it went. I’ve been searching for a kinky Asian girl ever since.
The scissors, batteries and crucifix are self-explanatory.
And the pad of paper? I live in the Old City section of Philadelphia, a raucous area of town with over 80 bars and nightclubs packed into less than one-half square mile. In the center of it all sits my apartment building, where in the past 7 months I’ve observed some pretty bizarre scenarios outside my rear window. And I use the pad of paper to document these scenarios.
Here are those notes.
* * *
Wednesday. 10:35 PM. Was in my living room reading and heard a can being kicked down the alleyway. Hollow tin pop-rattling blacktop. Annoying. It’s quiet now. Can’t see anything.
Back at the window. As soon as I made it into the living room I heard someone scream.
“No! God! Oh, God! Nooooo!”
Now? Nothing. That was it. It’s quieter than before.
I can’t see anyone below. Either the man just lost a tin can he really loved, or Godzilla has crawled out of the Delaware River.
Those are the only two options.
I’m locking the window. Wish I lived on a higher floor. Or a lower one, considering height of Godzilla. Call realtor.
* * *
Two guys sound like they’re fighting downstairs. I can’t get a good view of them but there is a lot of cursing and screaming. Posturing. I wonder if I could win a fight. Maybe with a woman. A small woman.
Sick wet thud of flesh on flesh. A man with his hands over his face just stumbled out. He’s covered in blood. Wobbling into the street. He just fell over. Cars are lining up behind him honking. Headlights illuminating blood puddles. Doesn’t look like he’s moving.
He’s moving now, but not far. He’s rolling around on the ground moaning. Drivers are laying on their horns. He’s taking forever to get out of the way.
I yelled for him to shut up.
“Shut up already!” I yelled.
One guy just got out of his car. He seems concerned. He’ll call an ambulance.
Nope. He dragged the bloody man to the curb, got back into his car, and took off down the street. Someone is clapping from an open window.
Guy looks pretty dead.
I’m hungry. Remember to buy snacks.
* * *
Two hookers were just screaming at a homeless man. I couldn’t hear what they were saying so I went to the window. From what I can make out, it sounds like he touched one of their legs, and then asked for a sandwich.
I remember one time on my way to work in New York when someone offered a homeless man a ham sandwich and he threw it back at them screaming, “I can’t eat this! I’m Kosher!”
The man just called one of the hookers ugly and I laughed. How embarrassing for her.
One of them heard me and threw a bottle towards the window.
I laughed again.
* * *
Two drunk girls were screaming and laughing outside for the past five minutes. It’s Sunday night. I went to the window to see them both crouching behind a car. One pulled down her skirt, then the other.
Squinted, but couldn’t tell the pubic hair situation. Too dark. The lighting, not the hair.
They both started peeing.
A guy friend was on lookout at the entrance to the parking lot. One of the girls groaned and said, “Ew, I got it on my foot!”
I yelled, “I see you!”
I’ve been hiding on the floor for twenty minutes.
* * *
There are other stories – like the time a marching band set up to practice in the parking lot across the street on a Tuesday night. One of my neighbors came out in her pajamas and chased a fat tuba player down the block. He fell on his face and everyone laughed at him, even his band friends.
I guess I just live in a weird neighborhood, a place where it’s normal to scream into darkness, pee behind cars, scuffle with hookers and lie bloodied in the street. I’ll just sit watching from my rear window, taking notes on the pad of paper I keep next to the scissors, three dead AA batteries, crucifix, Obama condom, and packet of soy sauce, observing the weirdos as they pass through the night.