Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Scary One Eyed Man

As I complained yesterday, my car was broken into last weekend, which pissed me off and caused me a world of hassle. At the same time, and I'm not, for the record, implying any connection whatsoever here, I met, sort of, one of my new neighbors who exhibited some particularly bizarre behavior relating to the car break-in. I'll explain how it all relates in a minute.

My apartment is in a pretty old building which has been recently restored and it's in one of those odd, transitional neighborhoods. My mother said that when she first moved here almost 30 years ago, that the neighborhood I live in now used to be the worst imaginable slum. Then, in the 90s, adventurous gay men moved in and started fixing up the run-down old houses and the neighborhood acquired a pleasantly quirky hipness which is what made me want to live here in the first place. That and the fact that it's located exactly halfway between the really good Italian bakery and the equally as good French bakery, and I can walk to all sorts of places from here. And there are peacocks. So I really love this neighborhood, but it's strange and not totally gentrified. You'll find million dollar houses next to vacant, condemned shacks with squatters. My building is a good example of this. It's really nice and lots of lovely people live here, but then next to my building we have the junky rental place with all the rickshaws in the unkempt yard, where they have just this week now added some dune buggies to the whole mix of shit out there, and across the street we have a full on apparent crack house where some kids who look like they're in a gang hang out in the dirt alley next to it and everyone leaves their doors wide open and uses old sheets as curtains. An honest to God crazy man lives in that building.

The crazy man has lived there the entire time that I've lived here and he has been honest to God crazy the whole time. He drives a beat up, at least 25 year old car that is completely covered in strange stickers. The parts that aren't covered in stickers he has written on in Sharpie marker. When he leaves his front door open and you can see inside (oh also there are stickers on the door too) you can see that his small studio is jam packed with weird odds and ends that the crazy man has found and artfully arranged inside. There are things like soda can sculptures, old furniture all stacked up, birdless cages, a dress form (very creepy), car parts and mannequin legs and the walls and are plastered with an elaborate collage of pictures and articles torn out of magazines and newspapers. It's more than a little unsettling to see. It has a definite "Silence of the Lambs" quality going on in there. Ultimately though, I think the Crazy Man is fairly harmless. I hope anyway. He wears shiny shorts from the 80s with half tee shirts and he rollerblades a lot and talks to himself, or people who aren't there and if engaged he'll explain all about intergalactic conquest and the ruling party's corruption on Zeta Reticuli. Weird - totally. Dangerous - likely not. I think he's your average schizophrenic minus the paranoia, but again, I really don't know.

The new neighbor on the other hand is scary as Hell. The new guy doesn't live in the crack house across the street with the gang kids and the Crazy Man. He lives next to my building in another crackish sort of rental building with a caved in roof that is next to the white trash house with the rickshaws and dune buggies. This building isn't quite as bad as the one across the street but it's pretty bad. At one point a bunch of New Agey lesbians lived in there and they all gave massages and had dogs and were getting over their troubled childhoods and they were all really nice, as were their dogs. Sadly the lesbians moved on and a bunch of trash and vagrant types took their place, but again, they were pretty harmless and didn't interact with me at all. Periodically there'd be some sort of domestic incident, but with my life I am very used to domestic incidents and thought nothing of it.

All last Saturday, the day of my break in, the new guy was outside in the alley spray painting his car. He's huge and looks like a whooped ass, drug addict version of Sylvester Stallone if Sylvester Stallone had one eye. The one eye thing is terrifying because the eye is literally not there. It's not like he just has one jacked up eye or a scarred eye or is blind in one eye. I'm talking the dude does not have an eye. He just has a smooth, dark indentation where an eye should be. You know what this guy looks like? He looks like if Sylvester Stallone got a cool part playing a villain in a Coen Brothers movie.

So he's got this 1978 Jaguar and he decided that he needed to spray paint it white last weekend, with regular white spray paint from Home Depot, which I didn't know was meant for cars, but whatever. It took him all day long. During that time Husband went out and moved our cars, the only other cars in the parking lot, because he was afraid the wind would blow overspray onto them. This apparently ticked off One Eyed Sylvester Stallone guy a lot. He was giving us dirty looks with his other eye. His only eye, rather.

The next day we get up and find the Saturn has been burglarized so of course we had to call the police. The coolest, funniest cop in the world showed up to make the report, which was the one good thing about this all because he was very entertaining. He was about our age and had our same dry sense of humor. He probably loved Arrested Development and I guarantee you he watches the Daily Show every single night. The cop explained that he lives here in the area too and that the same thing happened to his car and then he proceeded to dust for prints and act like he was on CSI - Minor Car Break Ins South Florida. It was great. While we were standing out in the parking lot One Eye got into his newly spray painted Jag and drove through the dirt alley in front of us very slowly with the windows open. He got to the end of the alley, then he backed up suddenly until he faced us.


We were all bewildered and startled.

"Like what?" I asked.


"We're not talking about you. This has nothing to do with you," I said.


"EXCUSE ME!!" said the Cop, "Am I invisible over here or what?"

That made One Eye peal out of the alley, squealing his tires and throwing gravel all over the place.

"Good lord," said the Cop, "What is wrong with that guy?"

Then, I confess, we spent another five minutes this time actually talking about how crazy the guy was and the cop said we ought to keep an eye on him.

I've been trying to avoid One Eye as much as possible because if someone is nutty, stupid, fearless and angry enough to try to start shit with total strangers in front of a police officer then that individual is dangerous in my book.

It's my Spring Break, as you know, and I'm enjoying my vacation at home, so I'm really getting to see what goes on here in the daytime. One Eye doesn't appear to have a job and all day long grimy, messed up, transient looking people come and go, very quickly from his apartment and they park in my building's lot, sometimes making such quick stops that they don't turn off the cars or close the doors. This is not a good sign. One Eye himself comes and goes alot. I see this because my apartment faces the alley where he parks.

Two nights ago Husband and I were home watching a movie around 11 at night and we heard a terrible banging, clanging ruckus out in the alley. We looked out the window in time to see One Eye jumping back into his spray painted car and squealing his tires angrily out onto the street just like he did in front of the cop. A few minutes later Husband went outside to see what made the ruckus. He pretended like he was taking out the trash.

A couple weeks ago when my closet rod broke Husband took it outside and placed it neatly, and not in anyone's way behind the dumpster in the alley because it wouldn't fit properly inside the dumpster. It was actually pretty hard to see back there and one would have to go to some trouble to extricate it, which is exactly what One Eye did. Then he proceeded to hurl it at the side of our building, nearly missing our car and our window. The rod hit the side of the building with such force that it bounced off, hit a fence and then fell onto the pavement. It made a lot of scary noise. I ask, why would One Eye do this randomly at 11pm as he was on his way somewhere? It's just weird and creepy.

This guy scares me. If I turn up missing, let this serve as a record that this person needs to be looked at. I need to get some mace or a stun gun or something. What advice do you guys have for me about this? I'm just curious how other people might handle it. Right now I'm ignoring it all as best I can and trying to keep a detailed record of whatever incidents happen.


Anonymous said...

Wow. That's creepy.

What did the cop say when he saw the One Eyed Dude freak-out on you? Did he offer you guys any advice? Do you think the One Eyed Dude broke into your car?


FirstNations said...

you may end up having to make a complaint to the police department simply to get it documented. KEEP A COPY OF THE COMPLAINT and all the related forms and bullshit. keep a diary of weird incidents, with dates. take dated pictures too.
now barring all that, guerrilla techniques can be employed to good advantage here. bottlerockets fired from the roof of a nearby building in through his open windows works well. paint balloons balanced on the outer doorknob of his house. prop the tires. scrawl some made-up veves on the door of his car; three black crosses on the door, that kind of thing. works GREAT. not that i would, ahem, know, of course.

MoJo said...

Learn how to kick ass. Self-defense classes, Karate, whatever you are most comfortable with. And get Mace. Or you can start carrying Bomboklatt around with you to throw at him if he tries anything. Just keep your eyes peeled and be careful. And just think, you can totally use the time that you spend holed up in your apartment to post more stories! That right there is a bonus. Good Luck

Anonymous said...

It's a shame to have to look over your shoulder in your own home! We had similar neighbors in our quiet, sleepy little neighborhood here in Cocoa, FL. Someone had the bright idea of renting out their house to former neighborhood ruffians- did they think these guys had changed since their teen-aged B&E days??? Well, now they had moved on to drugs as well AND had spawned about 6 children who wound up in our yard daily and who cussed worse than most adults that I know. (age 6,mind you) When they weren't in our yard, they were in the middle of the freakin street with no one watching them. We were afraid to approach former teen-aged terrorist as he seemed to be on heroin and quite scary. We had to wait it out until they couldn't make rent and were thankfully asked to vacate. I feel for you! Keep something in your apt for protection , esp if you are there alone frequently.

Nanci said...

Well, I think I may have the perfect soulution. I just moved into my new building and have found out that my next door neighbor is a 60 year old woman named Alice...who just so happens to own and operate a local biker bar! What?! Totally serious and I haven't had the pleasure of meeting her quite yet (this week it will happen) but I'm sure she wouldn't have a problem sending her biker gang to straighten it out! I'm nervous to meet her although I hear she is nice. In all seriousness though, I would invest in at least a can of mase/pepper spray and when I walk to my condo alone (or in parking lots, etc...) I carry my keys poked out of my fingers so that if anyone were to approach me I could pull a 'wolverine' and slash them and then proceed to haul ass. It is my own sick and demented OCD thoughts that make me think of escape situations. (I've been overwhelmed with them now moving into a new place...I totally had it all mapped out at my old house)One Eye is definitely someone I would keep close tabs on and sounds like he gets by on drug deals...scary because people like that tend to be desperate too. I hope that everything works out and that he doesn't bother you. If so, let me know and "Harley Alice" as I call her in my head will more than likely have fun kicking his ass.

A Margarita said...

He sounds creepy. I'd start carrying around pepper spray.

Karindira said...

Just kill him. You're smart. You can make it look like an accident.

Keeve said...

My guess is either he broke into your car and was pissed that you called the cops on him, or he didn't break into your car, but is pissed because he thinks you called the cops on him for, perhaps, spray painting his car.

Curlatini, Esq. said...

You have to keep calling the police anytime anything happens. Throwing the closet rod at the building could constitute vandalism. The cops should be kept in the loop. Did you get a business card from the cop who came out for your car? You should call him. He's seen the guy in person.

Gina said...

Damn - that is scary! I don't have much advice except avoid him at all cost, and (like you said) get some pepper spray or something - though I guess with one eye, he might only half as incapacitated as the average lunatic. So maybe a taser is in order. And when you come and go, have your cell phone ready, in case you need to call 911.

nicrogers said...

I say bake him a cake and take it to him. Maybe he will decide your not the enemy after all. OK, so maybe not the greatest idea because then you will end up havin to be his friend. But it seems that if you could diffuse things somehow...He seems to be threatened by you. If you were "friends" he wouldn't have to feel threatened any more. Sorry, I wish I could offer you better advice.

Anonymous said...

* install cameras - there are many cheap ones on the interwebs available.

* keeping a diary is a good idea

* if you do make a complaint to the po-po, make sure that you keep it anonymous.

* did you get your friendly coppers badge number? when you have a contact, it's much easier to call the force in, or ask them to drive by.

* document, document, document.

* ask your friendlier neighbors if they feel the same way and maybe get organized with them to keep extra eyes open.

* karate is fine, so is mace. But tasers work REALLY well. They are harder for the "attacker" to use on you and they are less-lethal, so you can't get sued.

* practice looking crazy/bad ass yourself. I live in a sketchy neighborhood, and I've learned that my gait has a lot to do with whether or not I get bothered by the crazies.

Good Luck.

Wide Lawns said...

Good advice everyone. I'm taking it all, except the killing him part and the cake baking. He's too scary to make a cake for. I'm documenting and I have the nice cop's info, plus he lives around here too.

Reb said...

Mace, self-defense and befriend the cop that lives in the neighbourhood. Document and report all.

By the way, Tasers can still be lethal, that they are touted as being "less" lethal is wrong in so many ways.

Last Minute Lyn said...

That sucks because the police hardly ever believe the one armed man theory..oops I mean the one eyed man

Sinclair said...

He'll be forced to move "his business" somewhere else if the cops start making rounds at different times of the day. Call Funny Cop and tell him you will make homemade donuts for him every time he makes a round.

Anonymous said...

Here's my advice:

Move at your leisure.

Not because HE is going to attack you, but because he's an example of how out of control the rentals next store can get. It might be one of his "friends" that causes the most distress for you and the neighbors, drifters that come around for drugs or whatever. And they most likely will be crazier, or more willing to commit a crime cause it's not their

You can't change somethings, but you can take yourself out of that environment - I'm sorry it happened to you - the same kind of stuff happened to me, I got no peace until I moved myself and kids into a better area.


Heather said...

Here here to what anonymous suggested. Videotape his place if you can, and then turn the tape over to the local drug task force, because clearly he's dealing from his apartment. Don't interact with him if you can avoid it, he's paranoid & delusional and no amount of niceness is going to get past the years of chemical abuse to his brain cells.

Anonymous said...

Gun. If you have to use it, you'll be glad you had it.

Epiphenita said...

i'm sorry. i'm so delighted with your description of one-eye that i can't get onboard with the fear part. i mean, i live next door to an admittedly, less throw-things-at-my-house crazy man than you do, so perhaps i've become numb to the danger. but damn, that "It's not like he just has one jacked up eye or a scarred eye or is blind in one eye. I'm talking the dude does not have an eye" just amused the hell out of me.

Maya said...

I second the document/etc tips, and would like to add a non (or less) violent, easy and multi-use suggestion:

Get a Very (VERY!) bright, small, sturdy flashlight. Why a flashlight? Well for one, unlike tasers/mace/knives/guns, neither of you run the risk of death or severe injury (unless you throw it at his head or something, but...) if you must use it. Also, its a handy thing for walks and such and taking the trash out at night.

I take walks around our neighborhood all the time, and am never without one of these. You can "pack" your fist with it any number of ways, or easily blind someone and have a chance to run away, get someone, whatever. For daytime, it can still be a very effective blunt weapon, but hopefully things won't come to that - and they are very bright, even in daytime.

My story is this: I actually BROKE UP two drunk guys fighting (classy!) about a half a block down with the cunning use of turning off all my lights and holding this little guy up. They actually stopped fighting and yelled, "Hey, get that light outta our eyes" - I yelled at them to shut the hell up and kept it on them for so long they were blinded and stopped fighting.

So where to find this nifty thing?

Go to Surefire Lights - I asked my husband, the knife/flashlight/watch guru, and he reccomends you get this one: (The G2 Led)


A little overview of the G-2 LED light: "Compact (pocket sized), high-intensity LED flashlight for tactical, outdoor, and general use. Puts out a smooth, brilliant beam with four times the light of a larger two-D-cell flashlight—bright enough to temporarily blind and disorient a person by impairing his night-adapted vision.... Body features molded-in grid for a secure grip in the wettest conditions. Small size, high output, and extended runtime make it perfect for SELF-DEFENSE, ...... or everyday carry."

PS. No, I don't work for Surefire.

Fae said...

move. seriously, I'm not kidding. he won't change, it won't get better, only worse.

Wylee said...

Rat poison.

And on another note... http://www.artcars.com/making/index.html

Anonymous said...

From what you've written, the man is mental and dangerous. The best advice I've ever heard is that to avoid an accident don't be there. Which equates to, keep an eye out and avoid him like a rabid animal and get two stun guns, a back up in case he's drugged up and his adrenaline keeps him coming at you. Worse case, a 45 always stops them. Maybe you could email violent acres for some advice.

Daniel said...

Amongst your parents cadre of odd and bizarre acquaintances, there must be someone with connections to an assasin. Like maybe someone who acted in the Bourne Identity?

Or else, just get their circus friends to camp out in your parking lot for a few days - in my experience circus people don't take crap from anyone and they will know how to scam the drugs (he's evidently selling) from him and with nothing left to sell, he will find a more lucrative location.

But seriously - keep the police involved as much as possible. Guys like him don't like visibility

Wide Lawns said...

Daniel you obviously know me. Yes, my parents have a neighbor in LA who was in the Bourne movies. (you?) I can't remember his name. I never met him, but he didn't play an assassin. He played on of the CIA guys I'm pretty sure. Who are you? Broadway?

Renee in Seattle said...

I was thinking something along the lines of Daniel.... employ your family to help out, perhaps by coming over often and haning out in your yard (your beautiful big black brother, and your parent's crazy friends) and make a point of showing crazy man that he doesn't even know the beginning of crazy.

Chiada said...

I'm wondering if he has some sort of false pride issues going on. Like when he was painting his car and Husband moved your cars, maybe he got all huffy thinking that you guys thought your cars were too precious or something, like you guys are better than him. So now he has this complex in his mind that you guys think he's some kind of low-life scum which might explain what he said to you in front of the cop. Plus, who knows, maybe he's been spying on you guys as well and has formulated some wrong opinions of you. I don't know... It could have something to do with the eye, too. Maybe deep down he's self conscious about it and has formed a chip on his shoulder and thinks people are talking about him all the time.

Not that I'm trying to make excuses for his behavior or anything. People coming and going like that is not a good sign at all. And he obviously has some anger management issues as well. Be careful!

lintys said...

OMG I'm glad I didn't read this yesterday before a little security incident at my house! I was already terrified enough!

I just had to de-lurk and express my empathy for how scary this must be for you. That guy sounds very creepy.

There seem to be some good suggestions here. My best suggestion is really just reinforcement and encouragement to trust your gut on this and take this creep very seriously. Be as proactive as you can, and please be safe. I'm concerned about you!

Sinclair said...

Instead of turning off the Freak Magnet at La Casa di Sogni you brought it to your apartment. One Eyed Man sounds worse than any pirate at your parent's house.

Wide Lawns said...

Whoever told me to email Violent Acres about this - hell no people. She would think I was the biggest pussy ever. She could probably kick One Eye's ass with her bare hands.

kaylee said...

You have a dealer next door
call every agency in the book
and rat him out.
There is nothing worst
than the trade this
guy is bringing in to the

the Bag Lady said...

The Bag Lady actually likes the bright flashlight idea...taking advantage of One Eye's one eyed weakness. Temporarily blinding him if you feel he has you in his sights (oh, wait, with only one eye, would it then be referred to as in his sight?) would definitely give you an advantage.
Keeping track of incidents is also a good idea.
Gad, the Bag Lady is glad she lives where she does! She has yet to meet any one-eyed bears out for blood! Reading this post made her feel very anxious for you.

Amy said...

Get a gun. No, seriously. Don't point it at him or anything overt, but figure out a way to be sure he gets a glimpse. I bet he leaves you alone after that.

Anonymous said...

WLNM - you need to MOVE! Don't get a gun, don't ask the police to come around more, just get the hell out of that neighborhood.

Think about it - getting a gun just increases the chances of actually getting into some kind of gunfight with the lunatic.

Asking the cops to come around more often will just rachet up his infuriated craziness. And the cops can't be there all the time to protect you.

This guy is dangerous and clearly nuts. And he knows where you live.

You have to move, because your loyal readers have way too much invested in your blog for anything to happen to you!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Go to your City's webpage, search zoning requirements, nuisance violations, and any other sort of City ordinance type issue, and call the City constantly for every violation he makes, be it loud noise, excess garbage, really anything he may be doing that is in violation of City ordinances or zoning codes. Anything you can find to make a complaint about, use. The more you complain the more the City will have to do something about it, and the more likely they are to stop by the house for an inspection and catch him in the midst of a drug deal.

That and buy a gun.

JDogg said...

Bad for me to miss a couple days reading.

Glad you and husband are ok. Damage to the car is still a personal attack.

Steph said...

I would move. I've dealt with guys like that, and they are not the kind of people to take lightly. Be very careful. If you can't move or just don't want to, I would definitely get a taser or a gun.


NeekoalinAZ said...

Have your mom and the Aunts handle it. They'll kick his ass and send him crying home to his momma. Maybe they can make him "see" the error of his ways.

Oh man that was bad...sorry I couldn't resist.

Take care of you...

FirstNations said...

oo, Mojo nailed it! I never thought of the awesome one eyed repelling powers that a Bomboclaat in the face could generate!!!

*lawns dashes down alley brandishing garbagy dog* SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Whiskeymarie said...

God I hate this sort of stuff. Luckily he's a renter, and they're a little easier to deal with/get rid of than owners.

Just be very, very careful and don't be afraid to call the coppers if something seems amiss. Most states have laws pertaining to renters & cop calls.

Shari Ann said...

I live alone in a pretty house situated in a crappy neighborhood. I have a nice ladylike 9mm in my bedside table. I would not hesitate to put a bullet in someone's head if they threatened me in my home or on my property.

Psychos cannot be reasoned with. Ignore him.

These kinds of people get fixated, and they resolve conflicts with escalating violence.

I like you, please be careful, stay at your moms or something...
Don't leave us hanging, please let us know you're ok.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how many people suggested a gun!

Good luck with this guy and please post again soon. It's been almost a week since this post and folks are going to start wondering if one-eye got to you.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it illegal to change the color of your car. Officer! Because where I'm from that requires a whole lot of paper work with the Transportation Ministry???

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