The title of this post is actually one of my recent tweets on that there Twitter, over there (look to the right and down). Most of my tweets are based on true stories, though I change details for the sake of humor. Twitter isn’t the place to pour out emotions, because that usually takes up way more room than 140 characters, so I get into the real drama behind the tweets in my more serious writing. This blog isn’t my very most serious writing, either, but let’s move on.
Across the street is a small convenience store with no affiliation to a larger chain. There are several stores like it in my neighborhood, and they are reminiscent of bodegas in gritty cities like New York and L.A. This one happens to be owned by a woman from North Africa, and though she is very fluent in English, there are still misunderstandings. It took her saying “ox” three times before my brain was able to shift away from trying to find my debit card and onto that word. Was there some sort of weapon I didn’t know about? “Oh! You mean axe? Oh, holy shit!”
The hair on my arms stood on end so abruptly and forcibly she noticed and gave herself a hug and said, “My hair does the same when I speak of it! Holy shit is right!”
On July 4th, 2011–two days before I wrote this post–two young men entered her store. One of them showed her the axe under his coat while the other paced nervously back and forth. They made it clear why they were there through several gestures, but didn’t speak a single word. Right as she was trying to get ahold of herself and either open the register or scream, a friend of hers walked by and saw the look on her face. He entered, confronted the men and they left quickly.
She called 911, and the first thing she told them when they answered was that there are more small stores in the area similar to hers, and she was afraid the young men would go to one of those stores next. Her first thought was for someone else. I already liked her, but now I adore her. She said they caught the guy with the axe based on her description, but in our neighborhood guys like him seem to spring up out of the sidewalks as if born from it. They are everywhere.
The businesses immediately next to hers are suspiciously drug tolerant. She’s in a very bad location and is very vulnerable to attack because of it. Thankfully she hasn’t been coerced into service, but I’m genuinely worried she’ll be hit again. I let her know I’d send other neighbors in so she wasn’t sitting alone all the time. In fact, I’m checking on her as soon as I figure out why I can’t get the photo of her establishment aligned correctly so I can publish this post.