scary dude who might or might not live outside my building

Morbid to guess at this but if I were to bet on the person most likely to do me some violence in the near future I’d say it’s this guy who seems to live above the shoe repair across the street from my apartment, he’s maybe 25, friendly with the quartet of drug dealers who hang out on the sidewalk there (they don’t only sell drugs, though, they also have mangos and stolen cologne and one day, a couple months ago, they were laughing and tryna sell this warehouse palate of Nutter Butters). He’s weirdly familiar with the whole layout of parking lots in the area, though, speedwalks into one alleyway and a few seconds later peeks out of an alleyway across the street and two blocks down. It’s like the hallway gag in Benny Hill. I’m thinking maybe he lives in one of the parking lots? Could be he’s just running up to that room above the shoe place for transactional stuff. Maybe that’s where they keep the drugs?

Anyway. All these guys appear to be homeless at first glance, just cuz they hang out on the sidewalk all day, but they do change clothes. Maybe they go somewhere when I’m not around. The other three guys look like they’re in their 40s but maybe that’s cuz the sun.

The one I’m talking about keeps his hair shaved close to the skull, he’s about 5’5″, and his teeth are orderly but splayed outward, fanning toward his lips, and his mouth is perpetually agape (lips pushed open by the sprawl of those chompers) and his head tilted downward. When you make eye-contact with him (as I do every day) his head is lolling so bad that he’s facing the sidewalk but looking at you.

He’s always smirking. Always smearing an open palm across the back of his neck as like a nervous tick. Often on Sunday mornings he’s drinking Corona on the sidewalk with one or two others when I’m walking to Starbucks a little past dawn.

They play scratch-offs and drink Skyy vodka outta little blue shooters cuz they’re always being sold for like a buck at the liquor store a block over. I’ve seen him drinking beer and vodka and Coke among other dealers but he never seems to partake in colada. He’s almost always wearing an oversize shirt and I figure he maybe carries a gun sometimes.

One time I was at the window of the Mexican place a few doors down, getting colada, when a car pulled up beside me on the curb with its window rolled down and there were two women inside. They sat there for a while and eventually one of the middle-aged, Skyy-drinking, sun-ravaged dudes from outside the shoe repair walked by real fast and tossed a bag through the open window and then the car pulled away and it was done.

I’ve only seen this happen twice but I’m sure it’s not uncommon and when one of the many many people who sleep on sidewalks around here come up and ask for money they seem a little agitated. More needy than meek.

He smirks. Shifts his weight from one foot to the other, smears a hand across the back of his neck and when he’s there by himself he laughs at his thoughts and shakes his head and smears a hand across the back of his neck. Restless.

I’ve seen him hanging out in the discreet corner where my car got broken into twice in 24 hours, back in July, and I sometimes wonder if maybe it was him.

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