nancy is breeding her dog. she puts said dog and its rented husband into the dog pen for hours, sitting there in her lawnchair with her wine, waiting for the mating to occur. she’s breeding this very nice dog whom she treats like a great nuisance so she can get money for the puppies. lots of money. the rented husband is obviously a purebred, but nancy’s dog is not. however, lies will be told to all future buyers of puppies, because lies are nancy’s stock in trade. or one of her stocks, at any rate.
a few days before, nancy’d been digging around the mailboxes, planting annuals in spots where angie had already put perennials the year before. the new little stems of the resurrected plants were being broken and otherwise bullied. like me, angie thought, but in a trying burst of self-defense she’d spoken up: perennials, breaking stems, and so on.
nancy’s reply?: you’ve got nothing to say about the yard this year. you’re outta here.
the DMH seems to be doing very little about finding angie another place, or a lawyer, or getting the landlady to back off on the eviction. in fact, they seem to be doing just about nothing.
angie has answered the eviction with paperwork of her own, and counter-claims against the landlady. lots of them. how many hours has she spent at the housing court, turning in papers, asking questions to paralegals, trying to find a free lawyer? how many hours on the phone, trying yet again to find a lawyer? she doesn’t know, can’t add the hours or minutes of her short life, her animals’ even shorter ones, that she has spent on all these things. and sifting through the many pounds of junk the landlady’s attorney has sent her as legal discovery.
the trial is on july 13. angie is preparing her own case and her own evidence, in the event that no lawyer is found. she is pro se, a creature she will later learn that judges despise, the defendant who represents herself. she has only a vague sense of how to do these things, a sense gained mostly from watching TV. lawyers on the telephone occasionally give her a half hour of free advice, but no one agrees to represent her.
meanwhile the tricks continue. nancy’s garden hose is left clogging up the cellar stairway more than once, presumably in the hope that angie will get caught in it and fall down the stairs. she does, the first time. but she falls down only two steps before getting herself free of the hose, and isn’t hurt. the light to the cellar stairs is unscrewed, also more than once. unscrewed only enough so that it doesn’t light when the switch is hit. again angie falls down two stairs when she flicks the switch and no light comes on. the police log entries grow ever more numerous. the dispatchers know her, and say always the same words: tell the landlady. angie has grown fed up: I did tell the landlady, thank you, and she evicted me. as I always told you she would.
the police had gone behind her back anyway. no confidentiality there. in february, when angie had shown the landlady that nancy’s boyfriend was chopping up angie’s lilac bush with his plow, deliberately, landlady had agreed that it was deliberate (what?), and said she would speak to him. she also let it drop: angie, I’ve heard that you’re having other problems with these tenants (she could only have heard this from the cops). why haven’t you come to me? angie had babbled some lie and left. yes, asperger’s notwithstanding, angie can lie. she’d learned it since infancy from the neurotypical world around her. it’s very hard to do, it causes her actual physical distress, but she can do it when the need is great. all of that had been before march, before angie’s letter.
and still there is the endless screaming and banging. nancy listens to angie’s phone calls, because angie’s landline is in one room of nancy’s apartment, left from a long-gone time when angie’s own apartment was bigger. nancy had brought this news herself, back in the beginning, back when they were still pals: angie, I’ve got your phone line in my den. the phone in there rings when you get a call, and when I pick up I hear you. I’ll get it taken care of.
when nancy doesn’t like what angie says on the phone, there is a tantrum of screaming and banging. this happy accident of the phone line is one of her avenues of power, and she will never go into the cellar and cut it. angie has gone down there, but can’t figure out which phone line is which. there will be even greater hell to pay if she cuts the wrong line.
nancy is sick in the head: this remains a given. landlady equally so. angie is sick in the body, and getting steadily sicker. there is more and more to do (phone calls, court visits, reading the box of discovery, writing her case notes, the animals, the house). the therapist has a slow but sneaky mind, and now that angie is enrolled with the DMH and is someone else’s problem, the therapist is doing even less thinking than she was before.
there’s more and more to do, and less and less energy with which to do it. more and more pain. more and more prednisone (too bloody bad, doc. it isn’t your pain).
and if nothing works… if no home is found, if no relief on the eviction is found… if the worst happens, and angie becomes homeless at the age of 55, and the animals are taken away, disappeared into death… if nothing works, these are the last months she has with her animals, the beings who are the center of angie’s midget and crippled universe. she wants only to spend most of her hours and minutes talking to them, doing little things with them, taking pictures. but every day there is less and less time, and less and less energy. the dogs look up at her while she spends hours on the phone: can you talk to us now please?
and angie is baffled. maybe it’s the asperger’s, or maybe she’s just thick. but angie is always baffled in life by things that other people seem not to notice at all. for instance, how is it that one layer of her mind can be making phone calls, reading papers, writing case notes, while another layer is making her body push through the pain and sleepiness in order to keep doing, while in yet another layer her emotions, her heart are being torn to shreds to think of her animals lethally injected because she, angie, decided not to be palsy with a psychopath? how can all of this go on simultaneously without the cells of the brain and the cells of the muscles and all the other over-burdened cells saying simply: we quit. all motors are burned out, our miniscule mitochondria, and we will do no more. you will now be a veggie in a chair, unable to speak or think or walk.
angie is baffled that this does not occur. when people are taxed beyond certain indefinable limits, why do their cells not stage a revolt?
all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2016 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.