In most neighborhoods the fifth room is a beautiful patio in the backyard of a home. There is an outdoor dining room set, fire-place or fire pit, a pool and a shiny gas grill. In my neighborhood the fifth room is your front porch usually outfitted with a couple of plastic chairs or an old couch, an ashtray and a fifth of liquor. Thing is, mine comes with free dinner theater.
My usual routine is to come home from work, change clothes, make some coffee and sit on my porch and smoke a cigarette. Every night I have a show. The best shows are the ones that don’t star me in the leading or even supporting role. I will be honest, sometimes I am the star. But, not tonight.
Tonight it was Teddy and Ro. They live across the street from me. They are both hard-core alcoholics. I don’t think I have ever seen either of them sober. Ever. They will also do pretty much any drug available. Except crack.
One day Ro was standing on my steps talking to me. A woman, who Ro doesn’t get along with, walked by. When the woman was right in front of the porch she slowed down, looked at Ro and said, “Crack head.” Ro spun around and yelled, “That’s ex crack head to you, bitch. I been off crack for three or four years now.” She turned to me and asked, “How long ago our house get raided?” I shrugged my shoulders. She said, “I don’t know either, but it was a fuckin’ long time ago. That’s EX crack head.”
Tonight Ro was obviously upset. I heard her yelling at Teddy to give her three dollars so she could go buy another tall boy. Teddy kept telling her no and that she had had enough to drink. Ro has long, thin, stringy hair that she kept pulling at while she hollered at him. She is very thin and wears big t-shirts and baggy jeans. Ironically, the one she wears most is a D.A.R.E t-shirt. She’s usually in the same outfit for many days in a row as she doesn’t bathe much. After arguing with her for at least an hour, Teddy finally gave up and went in the house. Ro made her way to the door which was difficult in her condition. It must have been a big drinking day for her. She finally got to the front door and tried to go into the house after Teddy, but the door wouldn’t budge.
“Teddy you mother fucker, that’s my money too. Give me three dollars. You’re not the boss of me. I’m a grown ass woman. Teddddy!” she yelled banging on the door. She waited a few minutes and there wasn’t any movement in the house. She turned around and sat down on the front steps. She stared at the walk leading up to the porch for about ten minutes. Then, she got up and walked to the door again. This time instead of banging on the door she knocked.
“Teddy, I know you can hear me,” she said a little more calmly. She waited a few minutes and there was no response. “I just want one more beer. Just to help me sleep tonight. Teddy? Teddy?” She knocked on the door again, still no response. She was teetering back and forth. “I don’t tell you how much to drink, ya asshole!” she yelled. She punched the door and turned to walk back to the steps. She stared at the cement again. She sort of swayed and it did seem like she was going to fall asleep. She waited another ten minutes. She got up from the steps. This time it looked like it took more effort for her to stand. She walked to the door. She stood there for a few moments. Then she knocked very softly.
“Teddy? Aren’t ya gonna let me in, Teddy? You expect me to sleep out here, on the swing?” she asked motioning to their porch swing. Still no sound from the house. I suspected Teddy had passed out. She stared at the swing then she swung her head around to face the door again. It knocked her off-balance and she nearly fell. Then I heard her ask meekly, “Can a bitch get a blanket?” Still nothing. She walked over to the swing and laid down.
I went into my house and went to sleep, too. In the morning, when I walked to my car I glanced over to Teddy and Ro’s porch. For the record, a bitch can not get a blanket.