September 3, 2007

The Old Place. Labor Day Edition

Today's the anniversary of the following story. Could have been 1997, or 1998. Doesn't matter.

As I may have explained, the Old Place was weird and magical and sometimes scary. What was a lovely funky place to live in at first became denser and more marginal over the 7 1/2-but-who's-counting years we lived there. Some of the neighbors were pretty creepy, including the one we refer to as "Hair No Grow."

The story of the moniker came from my brother, who took a position as a traveling nurse in St. Croix. He cut off his manly mane before going, hoping to fit in, and soon after he got there, a stranger on the street turned to him and said pityingly "What's the matter, man? Hair no grow?"

A few months after my bro told us this story, an intense burly guy with a shaved head moved in kitty corner to us, and Hair No Grow is born. He had a girlfriendwife and a child and a really awful band that had precisely one song that had two chords, one of which seemed to be in the same tuning as our house and would rattle the walls. I had a little song I'd sing to the tune, which went like this: "I GOT no hair, and I GOT no hair, and I GOT no hair, and I STILLGOTNO hair" (please mind the syncopation on that last part if you're playing along at home). I was mildly afraid of him but wasn't sure whether I was more afraid of the sheriff who was really far away, so we didn't call in noise complaints too often.

One Labor Day morning, mrguy and I were drinking coffee in the back yard. HNG's back window was open. It was hot already and it wasn't even noon. One of his childpeople started messing around with the drum set. Then the words "Kids! Stay AWAY from the HEROIN" rung out across the tiny yard. I looked at mrguy. Did I just hear that? Before I could ask, we heard "Stay AWAAAAY from the HEROIN!!" Holy cow. We went back inside.

Some time after that, we were having a garage sale at my sister's old studio across the street. We could see a stack of papers blowing about, tacked onto HNG's front door. He didn't seem to be home. I couldn't help myself. I ran across the street, opened up his screen door and had a look. Seems he wasn't the only ne'er do well in the household. His dolly had a warrant out for hitting a traffic pole and then splitting on foot. I don't remember what the other notices were (probably eviction).

We never saw them again.

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