#11 – Buddy Calls the City

Employees' cars
Employees’ cars

“Claudia said you told her somebody should call the city about the cars,” Buddy said the next day at Lily’s Library.

“Well I didn’t issue an edict or anything but I sort of think at this point, we–or somebody, should.”

“Done,” he said. “You know what they told me? ‘We have it covered.’” End air quotes.

“What does that mean?” I asked, sensing from Buddy’s demeanor, that he planned on milking the story dry.

“The guy said they came out and spoke with one of the owners and then he says, ‘Thanks for your call,’ and was going to hang up on me. He thought he was done.”

“But you weren’t,” I chided.

“I said to the guy, some bureaucratic maroon named Phoenix or something, ‘Okay you talked to the owner and what did he say? When are all the cars going to be gone?’”

“Did he give you an answer?” Buddy was not getting to the point quickly enough.

“This Phoenix guy tells me that the owner told him he’s just having friends over to play video games.”

“To play video games . . .?”

He put his hands up to stop me. “So I say to the guy, ‘They’re playing video games In the middle of the day, every day and you believed him? What about all the cars? There are, like, 40 cars parked on our street every day. What about the fact we’ve asked people going into the house what they’re doing and they say they’re having job interviews?’ Then this Phoenix or Xanax—no that’s the drug—whoever, says, ‘We don’t know those people are there for a job interview. We don’t know they’re not there to play video games. Do you have proof?’ All they could see were kids with laptops sitting around the big room (the one I always thought would be good for a tracking shot in a porn film) and it looked like they were playing video games. So he claims there’s nothing the city can do.”

“There’s nothing they can do? Use their eyes, why don’t they?” Bureaucrats…

“That’s what I told the guy. There’s no way the owners of all these cars are here to play video games,” said Buddy. “He didn’t care.”

“So, even though it’s their job to shut down illegal activity and we pay their salaries, they’ll do nothing for us?” I asked.


This was crap. And the collective “we” wouldn’t stand for it.

#10 – Millie licks my Clogs and we start talking tough

images“Somebody should call the city,” I said to my neighbor, Claudia, one morning as I encountered her out walking her dog and husband. I wasn’t too keen on making that call myself but my perception of Claudia was she had a lot of free time and was the perfect person to dig through all the bureaucracy involved in “calling the city.”

“Somebody should,” she said, putting the suggestion back on me. “And the most important thing, is to make clear that the occupants of that house are in violation of the zoning laws. Millie, no!”

Claudia pulled Millie her French Bulldog off my clogs, which the little beasty was licking  like they were covered with meat juice.

“She can lick,” I said. “It’s actually kind of nice. The attention, I mean. Who, other than a dog, will lick your shoe?”

Claudia pulled harder on the leash and resumed her legal argument. “So, the rule is, you can only run a business out of your house if you have one employee. That means one extra car—not thirty—and you can’t have deliveries all day long like they do. It’s one delivery.”

Not only did she have time to call, she knew the law.

“The occupants of the house would seem to be in violation on both of those counts,” offered Claudia’s husband, Bob unnecessarily. At least I think his name is Bob.

“You got that right,” I said, agreeably.

But there was one thing I hadn’t mentioned and now seemed like good a time as any. “I’m annoyed with all the cars, sure. But I have to say they’re quiet inside that house. That’s the one good thing. Whatever is going on in there, in a way, it’s better than the all-night porn-shooting parties that we thought were going to happen. At least I can sleep.”

They both stared at me like I was the rudest, most inconsiderate person they’d ever met. Millie went back to licking my clogs.

“Of course, that’s not the point,” I said. “They’re breaking the law.”

“Right,” said Claudia. “So the next thing is to contact the city and tell them we have some law breakers. They’ll shut ‘em down.”

Bob nodded his agreement.

“I’d like to think it could be that simple,” I said, looking at them both with a mix of admiration and skepticism. Their enthusiastic optimism and belief in the effectiveness of government officials doing what was right was endearing but I couldn’t help feeling they were delusional if they believed our elected officials would do anything at all.