Sunday, May 2, 2010


I haven't seen the old bozo across the road in months. In the neighborhood, there was no one more reviled than the slouching, graying man and his vast collection of road hogging landscaping equipment.

Parking is at a premium on the dead end street where I live. People get bitchy about it. They discuss it endlessly. At times, it has seemed like the arguments might simmer over into a fistfight.

For my part, the curb in front of your house is just a place to put something that probably belongs to a bank.

I was probably the only man on the block who missed the old bozo when he and his sprawling brood of vaguely criminal children moved out after the weather turned bitterly cold. From others I heard their furnace had died. For whatever reason, they didn't get it fixed, decided instead to stop paying all of their utilities and move out.

I missed the old bozo because he was the resident supervillain, the guy everyone talked about behind his back, and while he filled the position, no one in my house could even apply. Truthfully, this is less of a concern than it used to be, but I still worry a little about the neighbors gathering up the pitchforks and having the landlord drive us from our shabby home just because we're a bit weird.

I didn't know what to make of the cop cars parked outside --I just recognized the police themselves were not at my door. They were across the road, trying to open the front door to the bozo's derelict house.

The lady with the big dogs tried to explain. Evidently, one of the bozo's vaguely criminal children and a couple of friends had broken into the place, which as it turned out, was not his actual property. The police were called. The owner was called and at some point, a substantial number of firearms were discovered and declared "abandoned."

How many firearms?

"Enough to start a small war," said the cop.

And while a few of us watched, a policeman handed rifles through the front window to a partner who then hauled them up the cement steps and stacked them in the backseat of two patrol cars. He carried two at a time, a dizzying assortment of shotguns, hunting rifles and assault-style pseudo-military guns. There were sawed-off shotguns, riot guns and the kind of double-barrelled beauties popular with Jed Clampett and company. Some of the guns came with scopes. Others had tripods and scopes. A few were fitted with flashlights.

It was a lot of God damned guns.

The one cop made maybe fifteen or sixteen trips up and down the steps before his tubby partner came out with a sagging cardboard box crammed full of handguns. Standing around, we estimated, there might be as many as fifty weapons.

Some of the guns, it was said, had had their serial numbers filed off.

The cops loaded up their cars, while a call was made to the bozo, who was not specifically claiming the guns as his own. It was suggested the bozo might not be legally eligible to have such a collection, owing to some trouble in his distant past.

One of the kids showed up, a friend of the bozo's vaguely criminal brood, smiling and introduced himself to the police.

"Hi, you were the guy who arrested me last fall."

"Really?" The cop said, sounding slightly amused. "What for?"

"Oh, battery," the kid said, sheepishly.

He chatted the cops up while one of the former inhabitants of the house arrived. It was a bad idea for him to come. He came to argue, to fight, to confront, but the old bozo had sent him unarmed.

"This is our house," he said.

The owner said otherwise.

"My dad bought this house," he said. "He paid for it."

"He didn't buy anything," she told him. "He didn't pay for anything."

With the cops looking on, she called the old bozo and gave the phone to the kid. The war was over. The guns were going with the cops and the cops would probably be coming to talk to the old bozo real soon.

It was a bad scene, a sad scene, particularly for the kid.

Everybody went their separate ways. The kid and his friends drove off. The cops took the haul back to headquarters while the neighbors gathered in a yard and took turns condemning the bozo.

I didn't. Guns or not, he never did more than hog some space next to the curb in front of my house --hardly a damning offense in my book. Of course, I didn't defend him either. Hell, with that many guns, he could defend himself.


larry vs. shitty neighbors said...

and i thought wackness only existed on my street....

irregardless, that's some nice on the scene reporting bill.

primalscreamx said...

I love my neighborhood. I've got born-again bikers, a squirrely little guy who lives with his parents who was a KGB informant in a previous life, and a guy whose solution to neighbors who abandon their property is to annex it to his own.
Still, my house kinda sucks.

Buzzardbilly said...

Wow! Now, that's big doings and a well-told tale to boot! The gun thing would creep me out. My house constantly could use more work outside and in. But, it's still kind of hard to feel real bad about it. Isn't it in The Constitution that you have the right to do your house your way? At least I think it's implied.

Wv Sky said...

THAT is the kind of stuff you should write a book about. I'll buy the first copy.