After we graduated from college, my friend Amy Jo and I moved into an apartment located in downtown Indianapolis. It was a charming little place. Built in the 1920′s, it featured arched doorway openings and sconces on the walls, 2 bedrooms with a Jack and Jill bathroom in between. It also had a living room, dining room, small kitchen, and a front and back entrance. The front entrance had a dramatic hallway leading you into the living and dining rooms. The unit was positioned on the corner so light streamed in through the many windows along three sides of the apartment. A bonus feature was the back of the apartment faced an open field and high school track. We would walk around the track several times a day. The best part about the apartment was the price. We split the $500 a month rent and could actually afford it on our minimum wage salaries.
After we moved in we realized that we were the only white people living in the apartment complex other than the property manager. The realization wasn’t a negative one, simply an observation. Early one evening we heard the woman who lived above us screaming a stream of obscenities out the window at her boyfriend who was standing in the parking lot adjacent to our dining room windows. The crescendo of her words accelerated to the point where they became jumbled together and unintelligible. Her words kept coming louder and faster, without pause. At regular intervals her boyfriend bellowed back, “Ghetto bitch! Ghetto bitch! Go get your hair done. You’re a ghetto bitch. You live in the G-H-E-T-T-O, bitch.”
That was our first realization that we lived in such a bad part of town. The whole fight culminated with our neighbor’s boyfriend storming off into the open field behind our apartment and firing a round of bullets straight up into the air. At that point Amy Jo and I dove to the floor of our apartment. We were shocked by the brutal, raw emotion of the exchange. That fight was completely outside our frame of reference for the world.
I looked at Amy Jo and said, “I guess this means we live in the ghetto.”
She quipped, “Yeah. We should get some tee shirts printed up. GHETTO BITCHES.”
That experience was good training for living in our current neighborhood.
The Pimp – Ho Fight
On a warm summer afternoon David and I were doing the typically mundane task of unloading groceries from our car. A little black hatchback car erratically pulled up to the stop sign at the intersection catty corner to our house. I didn’t really pay much attention at first but soon heard a commotion coming from inside the vehicle. Suddenly, a fairly average looking man jumped out of the car and roughly pulled a woman out behind him. This instantly caught my attention. I was halted dead in my tracks by the words the man was yelling.
“I’m the pimp! You’re the ho! Give me my money bitch or I’m going to hurt you.”
The fight continued along these lines for several more minutes. Then there was something that I didn’t quite understand about being from East Los Angeles verses West Los Angeles. This man, the pimp, was apparently from West Los Angeles and because of this fact the woman was lucky. If he had been from East LA she would be dead, but, because he is from West LA, he is more compassionate. The woman did not appear to be intimidated by this information. On the contrary, she seemed angry and defiant. She mentioned seeking employment opportunities with a pimp who “hadn’t lost his mother (insert the mother of all expletives here)-ing mind.”
A neighbor’s sprinkler was watering his lawn, I could hear the sound of children’s voices playing in a yard up the street and in the distance I faintly heard an ice cream truck rattling it’s bell and playing “Pop Goes The Weasel.” In the middle of our tranquil summer setting was this absurd exchange straight out of a really bad made-for-tv movie. I stood in the yard, transfixed, mouth agape.
The pimp saw me standing in the middle of my yard staring at them. He pushed the woman back into the car, drove around the corner, parked and pulled the woman back out of the car to yell at her again. By this time David walked up to me and asked what was going on. After I told him he ran inside and dialed 911.
David waited on hold for 10 minutes before he reached an operator. The 911 operator said they couldn’t do anything since we didn’t have the car’s license plate number. She instructed us to get a license plate number the next time this occurred. David requested that a squad car be sent to our location anyway. By the time David hung up the phone with the police the pimp and ho had resolved their dispute and driven away. They were long gone by the time the police drove through our area 45 minutes later.
The discussion in the Comments refers to the continuation of this article: More Tales From the Hood