I knew something was going to pop off as soon as I saw the two dudes sitting on the stoop one down from my house.
It was about 12:30 a.m. I had just gotten home from studying in the library and was walking from down the block where I’d parked my car. First, my internal alarms went off because I thought these men were sitting on my stoop. As I got closer, I saw they were on my neighbor’s steps.
“Hey! Neighbor lady!” One of the said. “Where you coming from?”
I’d met him a few weeks ago while the owner of the house was chatting me up. According to the owner, the man is a friend of his and does some electrical work around the house. Why he was there chilling on the steps with another random man well past midnight with the owner nowhere in sight? I don’t know.
I reply that I’m coming back from school. What school? This one. What are you studying? Law.
I’m trying to give him one word answers so that he’ll realize that 1) it’s late, 2) I’ve got class in the morning, and 3)I’m tired and 4) now is not the time to strike up a conversation.
He didn’t get the hint.
“Law, eh? You want the big money,” he says as he laughs at his joke. I smile, but stay silent. “My sister is a lawyer in New York. I went to school too — I went to Columbia in New York.”
I can’t help but be curious. This is the same man who I had priorly observed twice sitting aimlessly on sidewalks. Midday. With a large hole in the inner thigh, almost crotch, of his pants.
“Oh yeah?” I reply. “What’d you study?”
By this point, there are more questions than I have patience to wait for the answers to. So I say I’m going home. This is when his homeboy on the stoop decides that this is his opportunity to holla.
“Hey, Ms. Neighbor, can I take you out to the dinner or the movies or something?”
This man is fairly lanky, with a weathered face that tells me he is many years my senior, thus disqualifying him from any potential hollering opportunities. And that’s setting aside the fact that he was sitting on a stoop past midnight on a Monday with no immediate plans to leave.
“No,” I say. “But thanks for asking.” Holey pant man comments on how politely I turned his friend down. I tell them goodnight and begin walking to my door.
Stoop man says to me: “You think about dinner. We can have pizza, caviar, whatever you like.”
I laugh. “Pizza and caviar, huh?”
He smiles. “I had to cover my bases.”