I mean I get straight up caught, and there is not a doggone thing I can do about it.
Now, most of the folks in my hood know not to knock on my door. This is because if I don't know you are showing up, well, I just don't answer the door.
But like I said, sometimes I just get caught.
Well, I got caught getting out of Hen-Dog's car. We carpool, i.e., he chauffeurs me to and from work. I usually get out of his car, check my mail, not paying much attention to my surroundings, and walk on into the house. That day, time I turn off the house alarm and put my bookbag and laptop down, the doorbell rings. I stand still and close my eyes tight. For some reason, I think that doing this is enough to ward off whoever's ringing my doorbell.
Someone had caught me going in the house... He or she knew that I was home.
The doorbell rings a second time.
"Dang," I hissed. "I swear, I can't even get in the house good!"
I don't have a peep hole in the door, so I go through the arduous task of sneaking and looking through the blinds. I see that it is the elderly neighborhood crackhead, Mr. Thomas.
Now, Mr. Thomas is the man who does most of the yardwork for people on my street, much to Snake's dismay. Mr. Thomas' prices are a lot cheaper and he always does a pretty good job. (Well not always. He must have been high as a kite when he trimmed my bushes a while back because he did a serious hatchet job on them.)
Well Mr. Thomas stained my porch a couple of months ago. He was suppose to return to lay another coat, but he didn't. And let's just say I'm not the type to ride around looking for you.
Well he was back. He must have been waiting for me to get home. Better yet, he must have jumped out of the bushes or something.
"Gal, you want me to finish staining this porch?"
"How much are you going to charge me?" I had twenty-five dollars on me, and was willing to give him twenty.
I've had to learn not to offer a price for work, and to just let him say how much he wants. His prices are usually A LOT lower than what I plan to offer.
"Can I get something to drink, LadyLee?"
"Yeah, I'll get you some water."
Now, Hen-Dog has been on me about giving the locals anything to eat or drink. "Negroes get spoiled real easy. Feeding stray negroes is like feeding stray cats. You need to cut that out!" he'd always say. But I told him, I don't want that old man falling out in my yard due to dehydration. So I make sure to give him a disposable cup of water and some pretzels, cheezits, or whatever snacky-snacks I have laying around the kitchen.
"LadyLee, you got any Kool-aid?"
Damn! He jumped from water to Kool-aid!
"Yeah, I got some."
I went into the house and poured him a huge cup of my sister Kentucky's (Kay's) kool-aid. I don't drink Kool-aid, because it breaks me out. But, um, Kay had a pitcher full of Kool-aid in the fridge. I know Kay is STILL wondering what happen to her big pitcher of orange Kool-Aid, LOL!
"My God, what's going on?! It's lightning out here!"
"No Mr. Thomas, that's the flash on my camera."
He grabs his heart, and laughs. "Girl, I thought it was lightning!! You sho are crazy, scarying me like that!"
I could have ran with that one and told him that it was indeed lightning outside, even though it was sunny and there wasn't a cloud in the sky... That would have been very MEAN, but oh so FUNNY! But like I said, I don't want the old man falling out in my yard. So I continued taking pictures.
Lo and behold, Snake comes marching up the street, yelling at me.
"Why the hell is Mr. Thomas out here working on your porch? I could've done that for you!!!"
"Snake, would you have charged me five dollars?"
He stepped back in shock and dismay. "Oh Lawd!!! Only five dollars?"
"Oh, I understand then."
"I thought you would."
Snake jumps up on my brick steps.
"Look here girl, let me borrow your power drill."
"Man, you crazy as hell. I don't think so."
"Girl, give me your drill!"
"I gotta put some curtains up for my Mama."
I looked over at Mr. Thomas, who was on his knees rolling stain onto the porch. "Mr. Thomas, should I give Snake my power drill?"
Mr. Thomas stood up and looked at the porch then at me. "Look here gal, I ain't in that. Don't pull me in it. I ain't got nothin' to do with that!" He gets back on his knees and starts rolling out more stain.
"Look LadyLee, I need your drill. I need to hang my mama's curtains, and the screwdriver is not working out."
"Hell no! You might go sell my drill for some rocks so you can get a good hit. NO!"
He again jumps back, utterly shocked that I would speak such words.
I like my nice Black and Decker drill, even though I have never used it. I bought it when I first moved into my new house. I happen to be walking through Home Depot and saw it on sale. I saw the black and orangish-red drill, which pivots for use at strange angles, and thought... "Gee, that's a pretty drill!" So I bought it, and I like it... I've never used it... But, it's MY drill...
"Girl, stop playing! Let me hold your drill."
I point at him with the Color Purple Celie 2 fanger point. "I said no, Snake!"
He looks down at the ground and then back up at me. "Ladylee, the loss of your friendship means more to me than selling your drill for some crack. I would never do that to you."
Now that caught me completely off guard. "Awww Snake, do you mean that?"
"Yes, I surely do," he said. "From the bottom of my heart."
"Okay! You can borrow my drill!"
Mr. Thomas, who was paying us no attention as we argued, immediately looked back at me in shock. Snake and I went around the back of the house to the garage. I found my power drill and gave it to him.
"I'll be right back, girl!" Snake yelled, as he left my driveway and walked down the street.
I watched as Snake disappeared around the corner. Now, I didn't know how to feel about this, but I did feel a bit of angst. I felt like I was being quite stupid indeed: I'd just given a crackhead my beautiful power drill. I had to think long and hard about how he knew that I actually had a drill, and I remembered that he helped me organize some boxes in my garage last year sometime, and saw it then.
Mr. Thomas told me not to do that anymore... "Tools have a way of disappearing, LadyLee."
"I guess you're right, Mr. Thomas."
Well anyway, Snake came back about an hour later with my drill. He opened the it and the drill bit box up to show me that everything was there. I said thank you, and took my drill back...
Hence, the end of a small amount of angst indeed.
Hen-Dog said I shouldn't worry about it. Snake always brings stuff back because he doesn't want to lose a valued customer. He knows if he steals from you, he will lose your business.
Anyway, I think my porch turned out okay. There are a few old house paint marks out there that we need to scrape up and sand down, but overall, it looks pretty good.
So next year, I think I will stain the porch myself. I watched the process long enough... I think I can do it.
And next time, I don't think I will lend out my beloved drill...