A Weekend in the Hood


Let me try to recap my weekend. Saturday was lovely. Mr. J took me for a drive to Galveston. With the rising prices of gas, this is becoming more and more of a luxury. We don’t often cruise just for the fun of getting away for a few hours. We are much too consumed in tucking away every penny for our move out of the hood.

The  East end of Galveston was congested and the streets were tough to maneuver. We had packed our cooler with drinks and goodies and travelled on thru to the West end of the island. We cruised up and down the streets of Jamaica Beach, Sea Isle, and Bay Harbor… getting out and looking around the homes for sale. No, we are not moving to Galveston as the commute would bankrupt us. But, we had a blast acting as if we were looking for a potential weekend vacation home.

I wonder how it would be to have a vacation home on the Island. A home that could very easily be wiped out each and every hurricane season… and having enough money that you simply rebuilt the home with a shrug… because, after all the beauty of the ocean is worth the price at any cost.

We cruised over the little toll bridge that connects the West end of the island to the land mass East of Freeport and cruised the long way back home again…

Back to the hood.

Back to reality.

Back to the nonstop drug deals, the petty thievery, the street fights, the angry glares, the nervous walkers, the loud stereos, the barking dogs…

Craving a few more minutes of waves crashing and gulls screeching over fish in the bay.

We sat on the back patio and grilled beef for fajitas and sloshed down a pitcher of margaritas and dreamed of a vacation home on the beach.

Sunday Mr J had to go into work for a few hours. I crawled out of bed and cooked him breakfast and crawled back under the covers falling back to sleep. It was sinfully magnificent. About 9am I sheepishly threw the covers off and faced the day.

I caught up the stack of laundry and straightened up the piles of ‘stuff’ that seem to accumulate thru the week. All day long listening to my dogs barking as each doper came to the neighbor’s house for a fix. We try to tell each other that it is ok, as long as the crap does not effect us personally. As long as the crack heads don’t vandalized our cars or try to rob us for drug money… As long as bullets don’t fly in our direction… As long as they don’t come to the our house looking for drugs… As long as no one kills our dogs to keep them quiet… As long as no one hurts US!

But it is tough to sleep thru the barking, not knowing if this time someone is stealing a car stereo, or jacking up a car to steal the tires, or syphoning the gas out of the tank…

One can only take so much before they crack… We are so close to that stage and there is not enough tequila to smooth out the rough edges in our hood.

And then there was Monday… Memorial Day. A day when we should have reflected on the sacrifices of those who gave all for our country. A day when we would normally go to Uncle Joseph’s grave and put a flag and a wreath on his head stone.

But, we spent the day trying to refuel emotionally from the crazies in our lives. It was a good day…

Until the sun went down…

7:30 it all started again, the dogs were going nuts, leaping against the tall wooden fence. They were whipped into a frenzy. And so it began…

Mr. J would go out and talk to the druggy as he was trying to get Mike to come out and sell him some shit. Mr. J would stand there, making small talk, knowing Mike would not come out with him watching. It is almost funny having a drug dealer around who is scared of his own shadow. He puffs his chest out and carries his big 44 Magnum around, trying his best to act tough… But, Mike will run and hide at the first sign of trouble. I can make Mike duck his tail and run… Mr. J makes him piss his pants in fear.

This went on for a couple hours until I had had enough of the show and crawled into bed. Shortly after turning out the bedroom lights and relaxing into an almost sleep state, I am jarred by the familiar glare of helicopter search lights coming thru my window.  Fuck! This is going to be one of those nights.

About once a month or so, they bring out the police helicopters searching for a fool in my hood. The helicopters are shining the spot lights in the trees, bushes, around vehicles and, it appears, in my bedroom in search of the perp.  

This all gets my adrenaline pumping and it will be impossible to drift off to sleep so I wonder back down stairs to play solitaire, hoping  to lull myself back to sleep.  All the while my dogs are going crazy…

As soon as the helicopters move on, Mr. J went back out to see what was going on.

One of our neighbors was being beaten… Severely… In our driveway. He was being beaten to the point where he was no longer holding his hands up to deflect the blows. This man probably deserves a good ass whoopin or two, as he has a bad habit of stealing from the hood. He will break in and take your stove and refrigerator if he thinks you are going to be gone long enough. He has no problem filling his gas tank with the gas from your car… Or taking your screens for his house.

Mr. J stepped in and pulled the man off of George. “Man, it just isn’t worth it,” he told him. He helped George find his glasses and his shoe. I am not sure how he got the shoes beaten off of him…

“George, go home,” Mr J insisted. All the while, Mike and two of his drug buddies were crouched down behind the fence. It was only after Mr. J broke it up that they came out and said they were prepared to help if things got out of hand.

Out of hand? You stupid mutha-fuckas (excuse me… but, I have not slept all night and am a tad bit bitchy this morning) George was being beaten to a pulp and you stayed hidden while Mr. J faced an anger crazed man by himself.

Mike drove off with a man crouched down in the seat beside him… (We wondered what was up with that?)

We went back in the house and shortly after the dogs went off the hook again. At this point we are tired and just want them to shut up. It is almost midnight and we both need to be up by 4:00am.

Mr. J stepped out front, wanting to walk around the house and surprise the fools out there. Looking down the block in the direction of George’s house, we see George laying in front of his house… the same man was again beating him, this time using a can.

I hollered out, “Honey, be careful. The cops are on the way.” The guy dropped the can and took off on foot. At this time George’s wife opened the front door and helped him in. She had been too afraid to open the door. Maybe I am psycho, but I know I would have killed someone who was beating my husband in the head with a can.

We still have no idea why George came back outside after Mr. J helped in the first time. Was he trying to seek revenge? Was he out looking for the shit that had been knocked out of him the first time?

About this time, dumb ass Mike pulled back up. He was alone. Mr J asked him what was going on… Where did he go? Who was the guy in the truck. Mike explained that the guy in the truck was hiding from the police because he had just held up the corner store. (The helicopter in the hood earlier had been searching for him) All thru the first fight, he had been hiding under Mr. J’s truck and the son of a bitch was armed.

Mr J said, “Mike you know you just aided and abetted a criminal fleeing from the police. You are an accessory… You are a dumb ass.”   

Mile was so scared… “Uh No, Mr. J… I had to or he said he was going to shoot me.”

“Mike, I’m not stupid. This is your buddy. You are selling him shit every week. He is not going to shoot you.”

Mr. J came in and we had hot cocoa and tried to lay down for an hour…

We both fear this issue is not settled. George has too much insane pride and will try to kill the guy. The guy will be back to see if he can finish George off this time. The fool hiding from the police will be back to buy more dope and Mike will be out peddling.

Mr J will be out intimidating the fools who drop by and I will be lurking in the shadows with my gun, just in case he needs backup.

As we layed in bed I giggled, “Honey we are living  The Wire. 

He paused for a moment and said, “No Shit!”





16 Responses to “A Weekend in the Hood”

  1. Just a Mom Says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed your day in Galveston. The weather was awesome all weekend.
    Sorry to hear the rest of the weekend got ruined. Here’s praying for a quiet night and for a down payment on a new neighborhood! But on the other side of the coin, maybe the Big Man leaves you where you are so that the George’s of the Hood will not be killed. Just a thought!

  2. Don Smith Says:

    Our kids lived in a neighborhood like that, I am not really sure where it was exactly, but I was always “uncomfortable” any time I was visiting. They moved over to Pasadena Texas now.

    We always stay out in the Bay View on the East Side of Houston and a RV Park when we are down there.

    Walk a mile in my shoes ……. remember that? I feel so much better now that I have read of your conditions, my neighborhood, albeit somewhat bad, is not half as bad as you describe.

    I am going to thank my lucky stars for what I have.


    Don Smith

  3. Taoist Biker Says:

    Wow. That sucks. I hope your Operation: Exodus is ahead of schedule!

  4. Red Says:

    OMGosh ! That MrJ is one badass . I pray that you guys get out fast, quick and in a hurry!
    And I pray that you guys stay safe. *sigh*

  5. msmollie Says:

    Mr. J sounds like an awesome man. I see why you want to leave, it’s not fun living in fear.

  6. joanharvest Says:

    Good Lord, I don’t know how you do it. I’d own a machine gun if I had to live there. We have had our share of troubles on my street on Cape Cod, the last place you would ever expect trouble but I have never been afraid. I can understand why you want out. I’m glad you got to get out for the day though and have a good time. I’m also glad you have Mr. J.. He sounds awesome.

  7. Peter Parkour Says:

    Three cheers for Mr. J. In infinite amount of boos for the foos. 😉 Get a move on, ya’ll.

  8. kaylee2 Says:

    MR J sounds like a good person 😉

  9. K. Trainor Says:

    Good Gravy! I don’t know how you do it. I hope you find a way to move soon.

  10. romi41 Says:

    Oh my goodness that was a hell of a night! I’m a amazed that you go through this and even though you’re going to “crack” soon, I’m amazed how well you two have handled it….I really hope you get out of there soon though, I want my future mother-in-law to be safe!!! 🙂

  11. Allison Says:

    Egads, that is definitely violating Maslow’s hierarchy on the security tier.

    As a completely unrelated note (kind of related about concern for $ when you mentioned gas prices), I thought of you on Sunday when we finally gave in and turned on the A/C.

  12. Sarah Says:

    I don’t think I will be able to not fear for you and Mr. J’s safety until you tell us that you are officially on your way out of there.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed your day in Galveston though. Hopefully things will get better for you around there soon.

  13. betme Says:

    JAMom ~ Galveston was fantastic! It always is. I like the way you look at the crazies… Perhaps there is a reason that we are where we are. I mean heck, I am learning some pretty good survival skills. 😉

    Don ~ The thing with Houston is there are great neighborhoods sitting in the middle of rotten hoods and visa-versa. Our particular hood was excellent just 5 years ago. Who knows if the hood we move to will be safe in another 10 years?

    Taoist B ~ I love the term “Operation: Exodus” and will be coining it. Our plans are moving fairly quickly. We had planned to move by the fall of ’09 but have decided to scale back on the price of our future home so that we will have enough pennies in the bank by THIS fall!

    Red ~ You are right, Mr J is a serious baddass and I am lucky that he is my baddass!

    MsMollie ~ I guess it is not so much fear anymore, but more a frustration and weariness that has crept in. We would like to be able to put our feet up and just exhale.

    Joan ~ Let me tell you just how much of a baddass Mr J is: We had in our possesion a scary ass mudder-fudder of a gun.

    Mr. J walked up and took it from a man who was pointing it at a cousin. The man asked for his gun back and Mr J told him to take it. (as in, take it if you think you can) The guy put his head down and slithered away. At my prompting the gun was turned over to the HPD.

    Spidey ~ Boos for the Foos… 😀 Ya crackin me up dis mornin’

    Kaylee ~ Mr. J is a one in a million.

    K T ~ I think it boils down to basic survival insticts. If we go down we are taking out a bunch of the fools with us. (we have no plans on going down though)

    Romi ~ The very thought of being your future M-I-L has me renewing my commitment to get the Hell out of Dodge. 😉

    Allison ~ That is funny, because I also thought of you when I turned on my A/C (a month ago) 😦 Good grief it was 80 degrees at 6:30 this morning.

    Sarah ~ Mr. J and I are very tough. We just happen to live life in the J Household Security mode at an orange-red Level of Alertness.

  14. Glassowater Says:

    Yikes yikes YIKES!!!!!!
    Holy freakin crap…this all sounds slightly familiar…
    when I was a young’n, we had bikers who lived down the road, always flying their colors so bikes were coming and going all the time with some pretty shady characters wandering through our neighborhood. From what I remember, they were selling crank out of their house and people were coming from all over at all hours: nothing like getting woken up at 3am by a parade of motorcycles, with the occassional biker firing a gun into the air as he passed your house…..
    Ok, I take that back: when Pease AFB was still in service, they would run drills and alerts between 3 and 5am…ah the sound of ‘impending nuclear attack’ sirens, better than a good cup of coffee to get you right out of bed.
    But I digress…anytime a neighbor complained about them or the cops were called, or whatever, stuff would go missing around the neighborhood: if it wasn’t nailed down, they would take it. Lots of vandalism including slashed tires, broken windshields and plants ripped out of the ground. They finally crossed the line and assaulted one of my neighbors, and somehow, that finally allowed the police to raid their house. They found a ton of drugs, weapons, stolen property and were hauled off to jail. And the neighborhood has been quiet ever since, but I gotta admit, a little part of me misses the danger of having them there because it made life unpredictable, not knowing what was going to happen next.
    Now as a responsible adult, I can see clearly the danger they posed and thank my luck every day that nobody was ever killed by the drug dealing psychopaths…

  15. trishatruly Says:

    Sweety, I now realize, once again, that I live in a sort of paradise. I want you and Mr. J to please come here anytime you need to “get the hell out of Dodge”. Seriously…! I bet all your friends here would even chip in to help with the cost of a ticket both ways. I worry about you!
    I grew up in the most incredibly violent home and it takes such an incredible toll on you emotionally. Don’t wait till you crack or one of you gets to thinking you’re tougher than you are. Guns kill. People are vicious. Please … be careful!

  16. betme Says:

    Glass of water ~ Egads, we have flipped the script. I grew up in Mayberry. The worst crime in our little town was the occasional drunken bar squabble. The Sherrif didn’t even arrest anyone that I can remember. He would tell them to go home and sleep it off.

    I am glad that no one in your hood was killed (especially you) 😉

    Trisha ~ You are the bestestestestestest… We are on track to be in a better hood by the end of the year. We are looking at a few acres so that I can milk the chickens and gather the steer eggs. I will make a magnificant farm girl!

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