The Checkered Lives of the Inner City

Bambi comes up.  I am still reeling after getting my netbook ripped off. There are two suspects, either her, or this other girl.  Bambi was up here cleaning up after this one girl spent the night in my back bedroom.  When I awoke at 2:30 PM from a OxyCodone induced sleep.. well.. it was gone,  and so was she.   There is that punch-in-the-gut feeling.  It is this sickening feeling.  I’ve had this experience before when I had my cars ripped off.  So much for Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra.  They are like.. “Take a homeless person to dinner tonight!”.  Yeah right.  You can help people, but boy.. you can get your hand bit off too!  Eh it wasn’t Bambi.. it was that  ‘ho.  Damn me for a fool.  The mundane and simple, warm and comfortable, seem ALWAYS better than the thrilling.

Bambi is up here, and she does my dishes for me bless her heart, takes out the trash too.  I am getting stronger, but am whanged out of my mind from the OxyCodone pain killers.  The Oxycodone is like, you are in this twilight zone.  She comes up and checks the dishes and kitchen, and asks me for a few dollars for gas money.  When I had my FIRST hernia, people around here wouldn’t do shit for me.  I was staggering around, and wanted to be so careful not to lift over 15lbs, lest I bust loose the internal stitches.  I had this eeerie, cold feeling that people would just watch me collapse and die, and wouldn’t do anything for me.  It happens here in Kansas City.  People get beat up in the bus stations and stuff, and no one will call the cops.. no one does anything at all.

Bambi and Fred, When I first moved in here, I treated them badly.  Slamming the door shut when they knocked, trying to bum cigarettes, or get some change.  Northeast has SO many spare change artists and hustlers. It used to be, you couldn’t go to the store, especially the C store, without getting approached.  Then I got sick, and asked Bambi if she would help me while I recovered from the surgery. Bambi and Fred are very humble people  They get around in this old Ford Taurus that he sometimes gets on loan from one of his relatives.  Sometimes, they are on the outs..mad at one another, and Fred can’t get the car.

I decided to accept Bambi’s help, and I am glad I did.  I nearly refused, thinking she would charge me too much money, or rip me off.  She has been the most efficient housekeeper, very kind, and regales me with her simple stories.   They are like.. these throwback black couple from the 60’s or so.  Very humble, and just scraping by on whatever they can get.  They do EXCELLENT work.  Fred was trying to start a business, had some cards printed up, but sheesh.. ya gotta have a CAR at least.

Today Bambi is talking about her niece’s daughter, who got shot in the head when some thugs drove by the house, which is somewhere in this hood.  They shot up the house, and the daughter got a slug in the head, but not fatal.  I am asking her about it.  Then Bambi starts talking about Fred’s nephew down in Atlanta, GA.  He got shot at a gas station.  Bambi says that it was over nothing.  The guys didn’t like his looks, didn’t like his car.  The punks stole the car.  His nephew walked a few feet, fell down, and died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Bambi holds up her fingers together: “ and Fred are like this when it comes to suffering”.   I give her the $5.  Boy when they ask me for something now, I jump to give it to them, if I have it.   Bambi cleaned this house like NEVER before.  I would hire the street girls, but this is not their line of work.  Sheesh they want $20 to do the dishes alone!  The back room alone was piled high with clothing, blankets and boxes.  I still cannot figure out how she put it all away!

Boy you don’t EVER know what people have been through in this world.  Bambi had that dialysis..her skins all blotchy from the wrong meds she took years ago at Truman Medical Center.  They are like these humble southern blacks from decades ago.  They remind me of characters from one of James Lee Burke’s books.

Bambi sweep and mop the floor, does the dishes. It is remarkable how valuable simple services are.  Simple decency is the most priceless thing in the world.  We are always focused on the thrilling, but without simple things, we’d be like cave men.  To have clean dishes and food.  To have clean clothing.  Bambi cannot smell very well.  So she folded up even the clothes in the back room that were dirty and filthy.  Folded ’em up, so nice and neat.  Mopped the floors and swept.  When I awoke from my Oxycodone stupor,  I was astonished.


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