I paid the cops once they were done with the hobo on the trampoline. I said, while I was paying them, can you believe this? In this neighborhood? A hobo? And the female cop — not that it was notable that she was female! — mumbled in agreement as she took my card. Afterwards, the kids wanted to go back on the trampoline — understandable, as the hobo (Ruth gently corrected me — person experiencing homelessness — love Ruth! Love her heart.) The person experiencing homelessness re hobo was on the trampoline since noon. But Ruth had me wash down the trampoline with soap and the hose and told the kids they had to wait til tomorrow. Hate that. Hate seeing kids upset/disappointed. Gave them extra TV time but didn’t feel same. Gift tomorrow? Money avail?

Neighbor’s cookout today. Drew and Betty, great couple. Should see more of them. Drew is number one meat supplier to Chicagoland area. Big stone house, pool, etc. Me, smaller stone house, no pool. Drew has trampoline too, with netting. Bet no homeless guys sleep in Drew’s trampoline, ruin perfect summer day for Drew’s children (so few of those! Grow up so fast! Must remember to make these days count.) Reminder — find money for gift.

In garage, looking at Drew’s new car (Lexus model something — shiny, sleek, phallic?) he regales us with story of ducks on his lawn. Wakes up one morning, looks at yard (big yard, all neat grass, already mentioned pool) which ends in large, shared pond. Sickly green color, like golf course pond. Stocked with bass + catfish? Apparently? Wonder how much that costs. Anyway, wakes up one morning and sees all these ducks on his lawn. Like, a lot of ducks, he says, holding out his hands and laughing as if you couldn’t understand the sheer magnitude of ducks. They’re shitting all over the place, and his wife is freaking out because of the kids and E. Coli – I’m pretty sure that’s goose poop, but I don’t say anything. Feels good to know something Drew doesn’t. Note: start studying birds? Become birder?

Drew continues. Had to call cops to come get birds off of lawn. Had them running around chasing ducks from nine til sundown, slipping in duck shit (at this point Drew has the whole group hollering – good storyteller, Drew, real guy’s-guy.)

One of the guys asks how much that costs, and Drew goes into speech re his police subscription, something called CrimeProTecht Platinum, which I have never heard of but pretend I have because the other guys in the circle have. Drew’s plan lets him order cops for whatever, whenever, full use of force re guns, with No(!!) deductible. It cost me three hundred bucks just to get the person experiencing homelessness off of kid’s trampoline, and that’s after monthly premium? Drew’s plan must be thousands a month for him, wife, three kids. How can he afford, between health, dental, crime, fire, Netflix? Note to self: ask Drew for job? No – Love job, enjoy job, remember time working corporate? Can’t afford that much therapy again, either. Ha ha.

Talk with Ruth on way home about party. She seems tired lately – how could she not? Watching kids + Etsy shop = busy life. Love her. Sometimes wish more from her, but must check self. Count blessings.

Girls asleep in back of Honda (A nice car. Nothing flashy like Drew’s garage. Practical, dependable, like me, us). I bring up wanting to get them a gift re: hobo. Homeless. Beth asks about money. I bring up that it’s not all about money, that we must remember to live and live well. Don’t want them to be traumatized re: hobo. Trauma leads to trashy tattoos and alcohol issues and low cut t-shirts (not the empowering kind!). Want to remind them that they are safe and loved and cared for. Ruth doesn’t want to have money talk so gets quiet. Drive home in silence.

Perfect gift! Drew called today because Anderson’s backed out of Cubs game, drew has season tickets (sells Cubs all their hot dogs? Powerful man) and thought to invite me and the girls. Great experience for Girls – make friends w/ Drew’s kids, get to experience Wrigley. Only need money for beer, snacks, etc. Girls will see me as man who can provide, even though Drew’s tickets. Feel like I impressed Drew at cookout. Was it comment about the ducks v goose idea? Did I actually say anything? Unimportant. I impressed Drew and my girls are coming to the Cubs game. Providing for girls through rubbing shoulders, etc. Feels good. So excited, had to write down before Drew picks us up. Big win!




       Day did not go as planned. Started ok. Drew picked us up in truck – Black F150, did not remember seeing in garage? Might have second garage? On way down to Wrigley, must pass through bad part of town. Not bad, though! Ruth would not say bad. Lower, lower middle class. Houses not much smaller than my house, but Drew insists it is the bad part of town, locks doors. See many kind-of-sad people on streets, do not want the girls to be adversely affected re: sad-looking-people. Katie is sensitive to that stuff. Once cried b/c of tent village under overpass. Love her. Big heart, like Ruth. Want heart to stay big – do not want her to become used to sadness of world.

After drive through bad/okay part of town, Wrigley! Game great – 9th inning Cubs victory by two runs. Had two hot dogs and four beers and was feeling woozy on drive home. Girls chatting excitedly in back seat about new baseball caps, eating leftover popcorn. Drew had more beers than I did but is driving – Drew big guy, would be fine, I thought.

Driving through bad part of town again when car shakes. Drew takes turn and T-Bones another car (not his fault! Could not have been his fault. Light was yellow when turning, had only just turned red. Was other car’s fault, who must have gone before green light. Must remember this.)

Other car is beat up sedan. Inside is (family?) of fat white woman, younger black man, very young child. Young child has hit its head in crash and is crying, some blood on forehead. Young black man is carrying child, comforting it while large white woman (mother? grandmother?) in baggy t-shirt is yelling at us in truck. From high up in lifted truck, family seems small. Yelling makes Drew mad, and he stumbles (not stumbled – sober as a judge) out of car and initiates screaming match w/ woman. I tell girls to stay in car although they are all silent and still as deer.

I stumble out of truck to see both Drew and fat woman talking on phone, calling cops – young man holding baby calls too, asking for ambulance, because baby has stopped crying and is falling asleep.

Drew marches back over to truck, mumbling about a scam, how they hit him intentionally b/c of his nice car, fake bleeding baby to extort money. Tale as old as time, he says, although I hadn’t heard the woman ask for money. Drew tells me to call the cops as well, maybe they can get a double unit since we have different providers. My first thought was that I did not have the money for that, but I said nothing re: his generosity with tickets. I call the cops on my phone and try to sound sober, but I am far from any station (re: bad part of town) and the dispatch says it will be thirty minutes at least, unless I pay for ExpressArrive and the siren fee. Not wanting to let girls down, I take out credit card and begin reading numbers. Baby begins screaming again and makes call difficult, hands shaking w/ card.

Drew’s cops arrive first: black clad w/ visors and guns on waist. My cops arrive second, not too far behind. A respectable distance behind. Fat woman’s cops and paramedic for baby do not arrive, and I wonder if they are on public plan. Drew explains situation re: scam to police, police do not ask questions. Think about number of beers I have had, wonder if cops can tell.

Cops begin to drag away screaming fat woman, fat woman resists, cops tase fat woman. Fat woman not conscious as cops load her into car, and I think about her heart.

Young man sets down baby, charges cop – or runs t o fat woman, I do not remember – cop shoots young man with gun. Girls scream in car.

Later, cops say man had knife. Drew says man had knife. I said didn’t see, but possible man had knife. This is good enough for cops. I confirm payment with my cops as public paramedics arrive for baby/ dead man.

Drew drives us home with bumper dented and rants about scam/justice served. I am worried about girls, esp Katie. Saw everything. Not crying by time we get home, only grey. Drew’s daughters and my eldest are making fun of the fat woman by the time we get home. Before we exit car, Drew invites us to next Cubs game. Ruth waiting for us by gate, confused and wary, but when she sees my face she melts. Love her for that. Must remember why I do it.