Police knock at the front door.
The lock is picked.
I scurry to the bathroom and press into the far left corner. If he opens fire, I’ll be out of range.
This will be Eviction Number Four, in the two years I’ve lived here.
The first eviction seemed legitimate. A couple, young, brash, drug-riddled, constantly assaulting each other. I didn’t report them but I’m sure old Miss Doris did. The second was weird. She was a God-fearing woman, who adorned her door knock with a small, wooden plaque, the word “Faith” carved in beautiful cursive. I never saw her, nor heard her. Just the one moment in time, walking up the stairs after running errands, seeing a large woman with sad eyes and quiet voice tell the landlord, “I thought she paid this time.” She was gone before the week was over.
The third was a disappointment. A young family, a smiling, eager father in his 20s, holding and adoring a freshly born baby. If there was a mother figure, I never saw her. For a baby living next door, he never cried at inopportune times. I was able to type for hours at my writing desk, sleep through the night. The father and I passed each other on several occassions in the common space of the brownstone, and he always smiled towards me. And then, without warning, he and the baby boy were gone.
Which brings us to Eviction Number Four. College kids. The nearby liberal arts college is an expensive campus to live on, so I wasn’t surprised to see the collegiate set moving in with us retired folk. A breath of fresh air, really. Nothing is more hopeful to engage than a mind open to new ideas. But these four men turned out to be idiots. I encountered them in the parking lot passing a football between each other, lobbing the ball purposefully out of reach as to intentionally strike the cars in the parking lot. The football bounced off the top of the van parked by my vehicle. I fumed, and I reminded them there was over a hundred yards of open field right behind the brownstone, maybe take their touch game back there? Or were they able to afford repairs to my luxury car? Pointing out their ineptitude and its cost should they continue, they slunk back into the building. Very all or nothing, this generation. A few raucous parties, expected. One evening after a late writing session I couldn’t fall asleep due to the incessant chattiness of one houseguest, which thankfully, one of them took her down, shifting her pointless prattle into sexually-induced moans. But it was the dog that got them.
Out on the balcony one morning, I saw one of the men running around the building, being chased by an energetic brown dog. Oh good, a friend for Bobby. Not too soon after that sighting did I receive a call from the landlord, asking if I had my dog. Yes, he’s here. And you have two dogs, correct? No, just the one. She had to remind me Bear was dead. Soon after, the eviction notice was pasted to the door, and now, this morning’s visit by the sheriff.
It must be me.