Friday, October 23, 2009


When I first met Ty, he lived in a little row of townhouses, the first in a block of four, not far from the university. He shared the place with an alcoholic old English teacher who went around quoting Shakespeare as if he didn’t expect anyone else to understand, and smelling of piss. Everyone else in the building was a kid, early twenties max.

Ty and I took to each other like an electric cord to a wall socket. I liked his fit, and he seemed to like the way I made him feel. He got to sample all kinds of new sensations and found them agreeable. He liked my world.

His world didn’t suit me too much. The English teacher stank, and the kids in the other units threw loud parties. Plus, one night, we heard gunshots over the noise of his computer speakers. Ty and the English teacher prowled around the parking lot, but they didn’t see anything. They even called the cops, who poked around too, but they didn’t see anything either.

But then later this girl came around looking for her boyfriend. She was in tears, Ty said. She was sure something bad happened to him. And sure enough, when Ty and the English teacher went around the fence, they found a dead guy in the alley. So they were up all night with the police after all. I had already gone home, before the cops turned up the first time.

That night Ty found out from the guy in the second unit, right next to his, that we could buy weed cheap from the guy in the fourth unit, all the way at the end. It was a sweet connection, for a while. But then unit-two guy, Chad, said that unit-four guy was tweaking, and he wasn’t going to deal with him anymore. He was a disaster waiting for his fifteen minutes, Chad said, and he was going to end up dead, or in jail, or both. He didn’t want to get anywhere near unit-four guy anymore. “I think that meth-head might have shot that dude in the alley,” he said. “The dude was trying to rob him, I bet.” From the outside, you'd never guess what a skeevy place those townhouses were.

After that, Ty was persuaded to move into my place. He’s a tough guy, but he’s not bullet-proof. And anyway, I hated those townhouses.

And sure enough, a couple weeks later, we saw it on the news. Eight police cruisers outside the place, two dead bodies. “Couldn't be Chad, could it?” Ty worried, and texted him.

Chad called right back. “It wasn’t us,” he said. “It was meth-head and his girlfriend.”

“You’re gonna move out now, right?” Ty asked him.

“Hey, maybe it’s gonna be safe around here, now that he’s gone.”

He invited us to a party on Friday, but we ended up not going. We were kind of too old for that sort of thing.

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