11:30. Sunday night. Tami and the cat sound asleep in bed. I had gotten distracted ordering picture framing materials online. I began to secure the house. As I closed the back door, I heard Tulip whining and yipping and running along our wall. This is usually an indication that there is a picker going through the large dumpster in the alley on the other side of the wall, or there is a stray dog or coyote out there, or a homeless person is bedding down next to the dumpster. I also heard loud music wafting over the neighborhood. It is not unusual on a weekend to hear heavy metal guitar riffs, loud party laughter, or Mexican bands horning it up. Sound travels in odd ways in my neighborhood and I can’t always tell where it’s coming from. But late night Sunday Mexican music is out of the ordinary. Most of my neighbors are hard working families and like Tami, they have to get up early Monday morning for work. Something was amiss.
Tulip kept coming over to me. I tried to determine the source of the music. Because Tulip was so insistent, I went to my wall, stepped up on a stool, and surveyed the alley.
It was dark but I quickly realized that I had discovered the source of the music—an old dark-painted Toyota pickup truck. I first heard laughing from the bed of the truck and then, in the darkness, realized that there was a man, silhouetted, crouching down in the bed of the truck and, judging by the extra pair of legs sticking up in the air from beneath him, that he wasn’t alone. There are a lot of descriptors for the activity I was witnessing. As a complement to the music blaring from the truck radio, horizontal tango came quickly to mind.
I didn’t really have enough of a view to enjoy being a voyeur and I wanted the music to stop so Tami wouldn’t wake up. The couple, so intent now on their dancing, as it were, had no idea anyone was around until I yelled. “I DON’T CARE IF YOU GUYS ARE GETTING IT ON, BUT COULD YOU PLEASE TURN THE MUSIC DOWN. I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!”
In a flash, literally, a heavyset man and a heavier set woman jumped out of the truck. Laughing. Shouting. Rustling of clothes. Truck doors opening and slamming shut as the two hopped into the truck and fired up the engine. Stuff thrown out of the windows as they spun out in the loose dirt and gravel and, hitting the pavement a stretch down the alley, fishtailed around the corner and into the night. Tulip started barking like crazy, but I calmed her down. Tami undisturbed. The rest of the night, uneventful.
The next morning on my walk with Tulip, I noticed several piles of trash in my normally clean alley. Upon closer inspection, the full extent of last night’s activity became clearer. A couple of pizzas from Little Caesar’s. Napkins and soft drink cups. Gum wrappers. I imagined a young man taking his girl out to dinner. Parking in my alley to eat. Then not having to say: “Do you want to go back to my place?” since they already were. Then I came along to ruin everything. A black bra. A condom wrapper and further down by the road, where the young man apparently removed it before fishtailing into darkness, a condom. Tulip looked perplexed as I hung the bra on an overhanging tree branch. It was gone by the time I got back from my walk.