I live in the hood. Not the rap hood but the real hood. I once stepped over a dead body on the way on my out to dinner (Hi Melissa). The next day there was a Teddy bear at my door step surrounded by empty bottles of alcohol. I still remember what my daughter said when she saw it “That Teddy bear sure is thirsty” it was hilarious and tragic all at the same time. This is just to give you the idea of where I live. I love the hood though. I love the noise, the people and the sense of community.
A guy, his wife and 3 kids had moved into the building next door. Let’s call the guy Dave because his name was Dave and I don’t really care if he comes across this. They always spoke whenever we’d cross paths during our comings and goings. Some days Dave would catch me outside jumping rope and roll up on me with some random small talk then joke about working his beer belly off. Regular neighborly shit.
That was pretty much the extent of our relationship until one day I was coming home after dropping the kid off to school. Dave ran up to the car frantically begging me to drop him off at the bus stop around the corner. Fuck it; why not? It wasn’t shit to me, I was just going in the house to sit on the couch and watch DVR for the next few hours. I told him to hop in and when I pulled around the corner to the bus stop his wife and 3 kids were standing there. The bus had come and gone and they missed it. Without asking for permission he hopped out and invited his entire family into my Lexus coupe. My coupe isn’t a comfortable fit for 3 adults so let alone 3 adults plus 3 midsized children. I was on the verge of flipping out for a split second then he told me they really needed to get to Bread for the City. You see people Bread for the City is a food dispensary for the under privileged and just happens to be one charities I donate to annually. Until that very moment I didn’t know they were next door struggling and that “Nigga if you don’t get the fuck out of my car” sitting on the tip of my tongue when right back down my throat from which it came. I drove the family cramped into my car the 15 or so blocks down the street, Dave thanked me and the family hopped out to stand in the food bag line. That shit was sad.
I rode home in silence.
It threw my whole swag off. I couldn’t imagine standing in line with Madi for free food not as a choice but as an only option other than starvation. If the lines for the free samples in Costco are too long I can’t even be bothered. I’m just not with the shit but here was a grown man, his wife and 3 sons standing in line to stock up their fridge. I was stuck because everything I seen from Dave prior to seemed to be on the level. Not that I knew any of the dealings in his life but he was always clean and so was his family. Just goes to show you never know what somebody is going through. I thanked God for my blessings and proceeded to watch the 3 episodes of ‘Person of Interest” waiting for me on DVR. The next day I saw Dave and he thank me and apologized for putting my out of my way but they really needed that ride. I was like no problem and then he told me his wife does dreds for the low if I was interested. Nah. I was good on all that. Sitting in his living room experiencing that poverty first hand listening to his kids’ stomachs growling would be a bit much for me. Once again; nah.
For the next 3 weeks or so our neighborly rapport returned to regular and then he ran up on me again parking my car.
Dave – I need a favor and I hate to ask you but I don’t have anyone else
JD – What’s up?
Dave – Could I borrow like 20 or 30 dollars until the first? We don’t have any food in the house right now.
JD – I got you.
I didn’t have any small bills and I wasn’t sure how a family of 5 could eat off of 30 bucks for an entire weekend let alone for almost 2 weeks until the first so I gave him a 50. I told him just get me back when he could. The first came and went and I did not see Dave. I finally ended up see him on the 5th and he acted as if he seen a ghost. He immediately went into the “something came up; I’m not ducking you but I just need a few more days” speech. I said don’t worry about it; I’m good just keep it. I mean I ain’t shit but I’m not ain’t shit to the level that I can’t let 50 slide to a family in need. Funny thing is after I told him to keep it I went back to seeing him every day. A couple more days passed and he hit me up for another 30 and I again gave him 50 but instead of letting him set up another payment date I told him to keep it off top. Look at me doing good deeds and shit.
Fast forward another week and I’m standing outside of my building talking to the homie Dion while smoking a black & mild and I see Dave in the distance motioning me over. I’m not walking over to this man so he can ask me for money so I motioning him over to me and as I’m doing that Dion turns to see who I’m summoning over. As soon as Dave’s eyes locked on Dion this man hit a U-turn and speed walked up the block.
Dion – You know that nigga?
JD – Yeah he lives in the next building and he be hitting me up for money here and there
Dion – You know he on coke right?
JD – Fuck you mean?
Dion – He stay coming to my homie around the corner copping with nothing less than 50 straight money.
JD – 50?
Dion – Like every other day he spending around there. You supporting the fiend.
JD – Bruh this nigga got a whole ass family they be hitting Bread for the City.
Dion – He’s a whole ass crackhead
I was dumb mad. I was fighting mad. Every time I saw this man walking up the sad little violin music would start playing in my head and he’s out here getting high on my dime. I bull shit you not I didn’t see this man for another month. By the time I did see him I had cooled down considerably but I still snatched him up on sight.
JD – You smoking coke?
Dave – No, I don’t…
JD – My man said he sees you buying coke all the time
Dave – It’s for my wife’s father. He’s too scared to buy it from the guys around the corner so he sends me
JD – You telling me this man sees his grandkids and daughter struggling but sends you to buy crack?
Dave – Yes
JD – Nigga you have to think I’m a fucking fool. You need to stay the fuck from around me.
I let him go and he quickly stepped his ass down the street with no further debate. The next morning on the way to work Dave and the whole family were posted up on the corner of Suitland Parkway and Naylor Rd panhandling to cars stuck at the light. He looked into my car briefly made eye contact then immediately looked over to the car behind me. For the next month I’d see the family hop from busy intersection to busy intersection panhandling as a unit. Talk about unity. Their building ending up catching on fire the next month and I never saw the family again.
I was buying coke in 3rd person
Jean DeGrate has spoken