Hoarders   1 comment

PatrolWe called Central, “83 Charlie to Central, 10-63 for meal at the Station House.”
Central advised, “Negative Charlie, delay your meal and respond to a 10-68 meet a City Marshall with an eviction.”
I hated these calls. Throwing some poor bastard out of their home but I guess if they don’t pay the rent the landlord could lose his building. Some renters pay the first month’s rent and never pay another dime.
In the city it could take over a year to get an eviction. Often when the eviction date got close they would trade apartments with someone else. They would move in the middle of the night. The cops called it the Midnight Moving Company. The landlord then had to start eviction proceedings all over again. Landlords can occasionally end up with an eight family apartment building with only one or two people paying rent for over a year. That is one of the reasons some owners would just walk away from apartment buildings. So as distasteful as evictions are it is it has to be done.
We arrived on the scene on Linden Street and met the Marshall outside.
He explained, “I was evicting the third floor apartment. The mother and one son came out no problem but the oldest son locked the door and refused to leave. He says he has a gun and will shoot anyone who tries to open the door.”
Harry asked. “Did you see a gun?”
“I didn’t ask to see it. I don’t argue with guns. That’s your job.”
“Okay where are the others?”
“That’s them across the street.”
“How did an eviction order get issued so fast?”
The Marshall said “The apartment is filthy. It smells so bad it’s a health hazard.”
“So a lot of apartments are filthy. What’s the rest of the story?”
“I don’t know what’s in there but the ceiling in the apartment below is bowed in. The people in that apartment are afraid it’ll cave in.”
“Okay now the order makes sense. Let me talk to the family and see what they have to say.”
“Maam, what’s your son’s name?”
“Which one?”
“The one who won’t leave.”
“Does he have a gun?”
“He has four or five different guns.”
“Does he know how to use them?”
“He was a Marine.”
“Was he in combat?”
“No, he got thrown out of the Marines four weeks into boot camp for psychological problems.”
A pyscho too, perfect, that’s all we need. I wonder if he has a damn flame thrower in there?
Shit, we thought it would be an easy stand around while the Marshall did his job. No such luck it instead became the Marshall standing around while we did ours. Well, first things first, call the Sergeant on Patrol and for backup.
The first back-up arrived, it was Gerry and Bob. We had them cover the back fire escape. Unlike TV where everyone always goes to the front door and the asshole heads out the window. Then has to be chased down the fire escape and through the streets, we cover that. Sergeant Capp arrived and we explained what we had. He put in a call for ESU. The next two back-ups soon arrived. We headed up to the third floor to see if we could talk this shithead into coming out. One team kept going up to the roof. We now had all the exits covered. Time to talk to the skell.
“George, what’s the problem? Why won’t you come out?”
“Have you seen this place? I can’t go out with everyone looking at me. They’ll all be laughing at me.”
“No George, I haven’t been in there and no one else has either. You can walk away, move. None of these people will ever see you again. Why care about what some asshole you will never see again thinks?”
“No, go away. I’m not coming out and I’ll kill anyone who tries to come in”
Gerry and Bob radioed they were on the fire escape at the second floor. If he tries to come out they have the window covered. The second back up team of Wild Eyes and Pussy Katz called said they were on the roof looking down and can see Gerry and Bob.
The doors to the apartment were the old very thin panel types. You can punch right through them. I had an idea.
“Sarge, I’m gonna take down the back door. You keep talking to him at the front . That way I can hear him and know where he is. Keep him occupied. It’s a railroad apartment, once I get in the back room I can see straight through. We’ll have him trapped in half of one room.”
I set myself up, Harry was ready to move in right behind and cover me. I backed up three steps and charged. I hit that door as hard as I could. It felt like I had rammed my shoulder into a stone wall. That thin door didn’t even shake. My shoulder screamed for me not to do that again.
I got a chair from the second floor apartment and pried the transom above the rear door open. I looked in and could see why the door didn’t move. Garbage was piled up as high as the transom and packed tight. I would later find out that nothing had been thrown out for over twenty years.
ESU arrived on the scene and placed snipers on the surrounding roof tops. If George should decide to start shooting out the window it would be the last thing he ever did. The ESU snipers are very good and they had poor George in their sights.
As it would turn out his next shot would be his last. He realized we would not go and leave him there so his final shot was into his own mouth with a 30-06. ESU called that he had shot himself and we took down the front door to see if he was alive. He wasn’t, most of his brain was on the ceiling.
The apartment was incredible. The front door only opened about a quarter of the way, it was blocked by garbage. We then had to step up about a foot to get to a small path that led to the window where George lay. The garbage sloped up from the path to the ceiling. There was a small opening near the top of the doorway into the next room.
ESU came in with hazard suits and crawled up through the opening to check the other rooms. When they came out Ptl. Gilman advised that the apartment was clear.
He said “The garbage is packed tight up to the ceiling. There’s only a little tunnel going to hollowed out areas in the corners where they slept. I felt like I was underground in a gopher hole not in a third floor apartment in New York City”.
An ambulance had been on standby downstairs and the attendant came up and pronounced George. The M.E. was called, paperwork done, rookie brought in to guard the body, all done.
All George had to do was leave. He could have moved to New Jersey and no one would ever know, but George couldn’t handle it. Poor George he died from shame.
Time to go home. No meal today but we all decided to stop at the B&G and have one for George. It wasn’t his fault. It was the only life he had ever known. He knew he didn’t have to live that way, but it is often easier to stay in an intolerable situation then it is to completely change your life. I believe that he was afraid that maybe life he deserved to live like that and he could never change.
We all met at the B&G and talked about that apartment. We were trying to guess the weight of the garbage that had to be removed.
Iodine said “I talked to one of the neighbors; she said the husband left six or seven years ago. One day the guy just left. He never came back. He was always fighting with the mother because she refused to throw anything away even empty boxes. She said the apartment and the tenants have always smelled. The other kids in school used to call them the “Buggy Boppers”.”
We all said we could understand why the guy left. Bobby Walters said he had a call there about five years ago. The place was a mess even then. Each time someone mentioned George we had to have another in his memory. We thought that apartment couldn’t get any worse than it was.
We were to be proven wrong. They really never did throw anything out. When the trash was being removed from the apartment the body of the father was found. He was still laying on the couch where he died. The trash had just covered him over and there he lay all those years.


Posted March 7, 2014 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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One response to “Hoarders

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  1. Stop sending these “love stories” to me. I may cry!


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