she comes up to me
with her prune face and shitty james patterson novel
i want you to check the surveillance tape, she says
pointing at the security camera that’s always aimed at me
why? i ask
because some kid spilled candy outside
and i stepped in it
i want to find out who this hooligan is, she says
lady, last week some kid got stabbed on this block
she rolls her eyes at this
what’s a little stabbing
when there’s jujubes scattered all over the pavement?
get the tape, she says, shaking the patterson in my face
this isn’t 1985, i tell her
there is no tape, i say
it’s a dvr
jesus christ, she says
can’t you do anything?
rewind the dvr?
i mean someone needs to get this kid
and teach him a lesson about decency and respect
mam, last month the bodega across the street
get held up at gunpoint
so? she says
nothing, i say
they sell outdated meats anyway
then we stand there looking at the video screen
as it flashes the interior and exterior of the building
as it shows us around the corner and down the block
the front entrance with the smallest trace of candy littered about
see? see? she shouts
like she’s just caught bin laden or dillinger in the act
there it is!
there it is!
evidence to get that little bastard
get the surveillance tape, she shouts
to whoever will listen
while i grab a broom and a dustpan
and head out into the horrible heat of the day
to clean up the crime scene
forgetting to tell her that back in january
two girls were mugged and almost raped in this neighborhood
but what would it matter to her
without there being even one
snickers bar wrapper at the crime scene?