A few months ago a woman started hanging out in my neighborhood…I didn’t realize at first that she was a she. I thought she was a gangly man. My first interaction with Monica (I recently found out her name) was in late January. I had just parked my sister in laws car on my street, turned off the lights and was sitting in the car finishing a phone conversation. This “person” comes limping down my street, stops 2 cars in front of me and proceeds to take down her pants in front of my neighbors car. Of course by now I am not paying any attention to the phone call, I am trying to figure out what this person is doing in the snow at 9:30 at night. The DC Police were parked at the corner of N.Capital’s frontage road and the end of my street with a giant Ingersoll-Rand spot light lighting up the street. So SURELY this person is not going to the bathroom 6 houses down from the cops in plain sight of anyone on the street.
“Sho’ nuff” she was…So I did what anyone would do. I Laid into the horn, opened the door to the car and started yelling at this person to “get the hell outta here! What are you thinking! That’s NOT a bathroom…I’m gonna go get the cops right there and have you locked up!!” I scared the crap (probably literally) out of her. She pulled up her pants and took off down the street walking right past the cops on her way to beg for (crack) money on the corner of N. Cap and NY Ave.
(above you can see Monica working her usual stompin’ ground). Early March, my friend Matt was visiting from out of town. He and I were walking up the ally to P street to go to my (favorite) Peruvian chicken take out. I noticed through a dilapidated wooden fence the same lady was huddled up in the corner of the yard by herself. I stopped and watched her. She looked up and saw me. So again, I did what anyone would do and said “what are you doing?” Monica replied “Smokin’ some crack; wants some”. Matt was appalled (he used to be a cop) and told her in a diplomatic and firm wording that we in fact did NOT want to smoke crack with her. I told her that was no way to live, blah, blah blah…I’m sure it had no effect on her. Matt and I began to discuss the feeling of evil that we get from this woman despite the patheticness (I know that’s not a word…whatever) of her situation. Her front teeth are all but rotted completely off, her eyes are distant and empty and her mind is scattered and delusional. Despite all of that, there is an arrogance about her that is not normal especially for someone on the streets.
About 15 minutes later I was outside with Montana (my fearless warrior of a dog) waiting for Matt to come out with the food. Monica called out to me from across the street, “You got 10 dollars I can have”…
“WHAT DO YOU THINK?! of course not! I am not supporting your crack addiction” I replied. She tried her most charming tactics to convince me that if I gave her 10$ she would not ask me for at least 2 weeks for more money 🙂 I did find that part rather funny.
So for the next few weeks I would see her pretty much everyday begging for crack money on the corner. Every time I saw her, she would ask for money, I would say “No, but I’ll make you a sandwich if you are hungry” (she never took me up on that offer). I heard some really sad stories from the beat cops of other ways she acquired crack without money. She also informed me one morning while walking Montana that she not only has 66 trillion husbands, but she is also the Queen of Balile (I am pretty sure that country doesn’t exist). I discovered that she is rather economically savvy. She explained to me about Balile’s trade policies and the exports that bring her family their money…sunglasses, shoes, canvas bags…that sort of thing. Her mother is also the queen of Balile, not sure why that doesn’t make Monica a princess…but she was pretty adamant that she is an equal queen to her mother.
One evening, late April, I was having dinner with my new neighbor and friend Jaquette along with Chirine and Jaquette’s co-worker Leila. around 10pm we finally broke up the dinner party. Chirine and I walked Leila to the metro (since she didn’t have any mace). On the way there we passed Monica standing on the street corner of N. Cap and NY Ave (typical). She was staring at us somewhat funny so of course I assumed she was lite. I waved since she was staring and she immediately started mumbling what seemed like very hostile sentences, but not loud enough for us to hear her. She had a hateful and deviant look in her eyes as she spoke obviously to us even though we could not understand what she was saying. I don’t think I have ever seen someone look so full of evilness as I did that night. I haven’t seen her since.
Besides the slight humor I was able to pull from her stories of royalty and marriage, I feel extremely sad for this woman. I wonder what life circumstances would have put her in the position to have no other choice (seemingly) to turn tricks and beg for crack change on the street corner day in and out. (However, she also really likes coca-cola…so the money didn’t all go to crack). I would like to be able to do more for her…but you can’t help someone who doesn’t truly want it; and I refuse to be an enabler to people who just want you to do it for them. It’s now been 3 weeks with no sign of Monica. Good bye, I wish you peace and safety Monica…where ever you are now.