You Won’t Believe What My Neighbor Did

A teenage neighbor boy I know called me at about 4am, and begged me to come over; he’d explain once I got there.

I get to his apartment, and I can see that he’s been tweaking on crystal meth for a LONG time, like maybe 2–3 days of no sleep or food. Face extremely drawn, greyish-yellow skin, covered in beads of sweat, eyes like saucers with fully-dilated pupils, he’s wearing no shirt (meth addicts often feel very hot under the influence, and often feel the need to strip).

He puts his finger to his lips and says, “Sshh-hh. They’ll HEAR you!”

He drags me to his bedroom, urges me to quietly sit down on the bed, then furtively motions to the clothes closet door, which is slightly ajar. With a grave facial expression, he says, “I think there are policemen in there, spying on me.”

“Where?” I ask.

“Right there, under the Christmas wrapping paper.”

I look, and there is an unspooled leaf of red and gold wrapping paper on the floor of the darkened closet. The room’s ceiling fan is causing it to ripple ve-e-e-r-r-r-ry slightly… just little waves of movement, nearly imperceptible.

“They’re hiding right there, under the wrapping paper. See them moving?” he whispers, with grave concern on his face. “I’m really freaking out. What if they find out I’m high?”

Very gently I explain to him that there are no policemen in his closet, hiding under a leaf of paper that is no more than 4–5 inches from the floor.

I think I telephoned his grandmother, who had been concerned about his erratic behavior of late. She was a very strait-laced Baptist lady of about 70, with no experience whatsoever of the seamier side of life. After I related the incident to her, she said with a certain suppressed dread in her voice, “Oh— you don’t suppose he might be, I dunno, tipsy or experimenting with drugs or anything like that, do you?”

I just murmured, “I don’t know, ma’am… there might be a possibility of that, I can’t say.” I didn’t have the heart to say, “Your grandson is only the biggest meth-head south o’ Dallas, and he’s having a doozy of a paranoid psychotic break.”

She said she and her husband would drive right over. I just scrammed and went home. I couldn’t bear to see her eventual piecing-together of what had been going on.

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