My sister's house was hit by some stray bullets a few nights ago. A gun fight broke out at about 1:00 am. A guy was hiding between my sister's place and the place next door, and somebody was shooting at him, and he was shooting back. There were just lots and lots of shots apparently. Two of the bullets pierced windows in my sister's place - which - would surely have killed or seriously wounded anybody, had they been standing there.

I wasn't there at the time. I was in town for the week, but I wasn't at her place when it happened. This was in Portsmouth, Virginia - where I'm from.

My sister's side yard and driveway has become a cut-through point for foot traffic from the alley. Due to the destruction of the fence behind my sister's place and the construction of another fence blocking the old cut-through point, the traffic now flows right under my sister's windows.

The landlord was out there the morning after the gun fight looking at the various bullet holes in his units and puzzling over fence configurations. My sister was angry. I asked her why she doesn't move out of there, because I wasn't really thinking - I was angry too. My dumb question made my sister even angrier, and she asked, Move where?!

She's on disability and her husband is too. His case always seemed kind of bogus...Sleep apnea. But: What do I know? Ask a doctor. Ask an auditor. Ask a prosecutor. My sister's disability is due to her back. Legit. She is in so much pain all the time it makes me want to cry. I've written about her and her back problems before. Maybe it's uncool to write about her...maybe it's good that these stories are told. What do I know? Ask a sociologist. Ask a lawyer. Ask a caseworker. I don't write much about the other folks in my family. I don't know if they'd mind...but some of them read my blog (and all of them can kick my ass, especially Karen.) I don't think they'd mind. But they have access to the internet and they're able to tell their own stories. My sister in Portsmouth - she's broke as hell...and she doesn't have much access to the internet - - which is a goddamm shame...she is the most curious person and the hungriest reader you'll ever meet.

There's so much I could babble about regarding my sister's neighborhood. I'll spare you. But one thing I noticed over and over -for some reason it grabbed my attention- as I made my visits over the seven days I was in town: there was a naked Barbie doll tossed up on the roof of one of the row houses, near my sister's place. Another thing I notice: There are always about thirty kids (no exaggeration) - like twelve-years-old and under - sprinting around, speeding down the sidewalk or down the street on bicycles, or popping up and down on skateboards, or wrestling, or near-fighting, or fighting, dog-piling, screaming, hugging, crying, laughing, smiling, eating ice cream, sharing, taking away, throwing rocks, asking you endless questions, or playing curb ball -- which is where you try to throw an inflated ball and hit the curb across the street - hitting the curb right on the edge - so that the ball bounces right back to you. Otherwise the ball bounces into the hands of the kid across the street.


daily intake said...

cool that the kids are still actually outside playing. you don't see a lot of that anymore.

TaraDharma said...

hmmm...i lived in a place like that - police chases always ended up under my window. I was a poor single mom with a 3 year old. I found another place to live -- where there's a will there's a way, and their lives are too important! If nothing else, that landlord should be building appropriate fences -- something legal about "attractive nuisance" or something, having that crime ridden 'through way' going by.


Billy said...

wow. intense place man.

whimsical brainpan said...

That is just scary! I am glad that no one was hurt.

I understand your Sister's situation. You get on disability and you get stuck in so many ways.

I am lucky though. I live in a nice neighborhood.

dmarks said...

Good neighbors are hard to find.