just say no, bro, just say no

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yeah, its a big one. this story is mostly real. the names, of course, have been changed and the images posted within the text have nothing to do with the eviction that is discussed on this page. speaking of images, they are much larger, so if you want to see them at full resolution, right click and view the image in a new tab.

recently, an older woman, who was a resident in the park was evicted for non-payment of rent. she had been a faithful renter for nearly two decades; always paying her rent on time and keeping her property clean and fixed up. not only was she a good resident, but memebers of her family who lived in the park were also good residents. her daughter and son-in-law lived nearby and they all helped each other if things got tough. then suddenly, there was a falling out between the son-in-law and the lady.

talking to the son-in-law, i found out that the older lady had been a pretty heavy pot smoker for most of her adult life. he also told me that over the last year or so, she had been hanging out at her pot dealer's apartment doing god knows what. eventually, the older woman started to smoke meth there and then take less and less pot home to smoke. after months of this, she wasnt coming home at all anymore and just staying at the dealer's apartment.

now this news is all hearsay and i could not completely trust the son-in-law. he was angry at his mother-in-law and was stuck trying to care for her because his wife, the daughter, demanded this from him. trust or not, things began to unfold that would confirm his stories in a way.

his mother-in-law owned the trailer that was in the park and she rented the property it was situated on. we began to notice that things were not being taken care of around the trailer and were concerned. first, we knocked on the door to no answer. next, we left notices on the door but nobody took care of the issues around the property. since she had always been a good resident and had always paid her rent on time, we didnt give it very much thought. she would take care of things soon, right?

no, this story doesnt have a happy ending. i am going to ruin the whole right thing now by explaining how bad she became and then later on tell you the road she went down on her way to the gutter with a head full of no teeth. the old lady ended up dumping all of her savings and every single penny of her social security into meth. she gave up on her home and several issues occured over the winter that were tell-tale signs that she had given up and that she was not coming home. water pipes broke, the gas service was turned off, a storm ripped a portion of her roof off, and finally she stopped paying rent altogether. after two months, we had to take her to eviction court.

when she appeared in court, she was a drastically different person than when i had seen her the last time. in three months, she had lost 45 pounds and her overall appearence was that of a dirty homeless person. before, her clothing and demeanor was that of a devout church going matron, but now her jeans were dirty and ripped and the shirt she wore to court had burn holes and grease on it.

she cried while she testified. telling the judge that she had been the victim of several thefts and that the social security office was having trouble getting her checks to her. it was a sad sight, but the truth of the matter was that the people who were selling her drugs were stealing appliances and other things out of her home to pay for her habit. once most of her valuables were gone, they began to take her social security checks from her. she was so far gone, she had no understanding as to what had been happening.

as sad as everything was, the judge had to find in favor of the park and she was evicted. you could tell that he felt badly because he told her a heartfelt "good luck" as she exited the courtroom.

once an eviction is granted, a writ of restitution is purchased by the park. this is done so that any outstanding rent can be recouped to the owner by the sale or rent of the trailer. most of the time, the trailers we get back are not worth a dime, so this restitution that the park may get does not go far; most trailers are stripped and trashed.

after the writ is executed, the court bailiff places a notice on the home's door. this posting is what is called a "14 day notice," and what it means is that the evicted resident has 14 days to take any and all items within the trailer and to vacate the premises. on the 15th day, the bailiff comes to the home and supervises as the park changes any locks on exterior doors, garages, or sheds on the lot. after this process is complete, the evicted resident no longer owns the home and is not allowed, by law, to enter the trailer. any items (mostly garbage) left within the home is no longer their property no matter what it is worth.

after court, the trailer park went throught he 14 day process and on the 15th day, the bailiff appeared and we began changing the locks on the home. unfortunately, the old lady was living there with a few of her meth smoking friends. over the course of time between the eviction hearing and the bailiff service, the home had been trashed. antique furniture, that once had been pretty nice, now had cigarette burns. every item of food had been taken out and spilled on the floors. walls had punch holes in them. and amid that all, she was still residing in the home. the bailiff was forced to tell them to leave because they were tresspassing.

upon hearing this, the sullen group began packing up some clothing and a few other things. they climbed into an old beater of a ford escape, and left the park. later in the day, the office got a call from the old lady and she told the manager that she had forgotten some "important things," and could she possibly pretty please get back into the home to retrieve them? of course you can come and get your things, said the manager. she wasnt a monster after all, and was worried about the old woman.

a date and time for the retrieval of the forgotten items was set up and to make things even better, the son-in-law agreed to come to the trailer and help the old lady get the last of her things. sadly, the old lady and the son-in-law had another fight and while he did drive her to the houes, he sped off as soon as she was out of his car. the old lady went in the home and gathered some some small things that she could handle by herself, packed them into cardboard boxes, and was stuck out on the frozen front porch with no ride home. she did the only thing she could do, she called her meth head friends and asked for a ride to her new home.

these meth heads appeared and began helping her, but one of them also had the idea of stealing the hot water tank, the air conditioning unit, and the furnace. the only problem was that he could not find the breaker panel to shut off the power so that he could safely remove those items as the power had not yet been shut off. the old lady was no help either, being drunk or high, she told them that she had forgotten where the breaker panel was. eventually, the thief found a shut off switch in the hot water tank's closet. he then used a pocket knife to clumbsily saw the power cables and the water line. he had not turned off the water, so he was given a freezing shower for his troubles, but still managed to load the hot water tank into the trunk of his car.

it was at this moment where i showed up at the house, having gotten a call from a neighbor who was concerned about loud music, spraying water, and banging noises coming from the supposedly empty home.

at this point in the story, i am going to stop calling the main character "the old lady," "older woman," "the mother-in-law," or "the resident." the reason being is that it is growing tiresome for me to try to think up ways to make her seem like she isnt a dingbat with redeeming qualities. i probably should have done this a few paragraphs back, but from now on i am going to refer to her as Sherry. now, this isnt her real name, but the name does reflect her character and overall being, a least in my imagination.

imagine a skinny, chain-smoking, jeans-wearing, toothless barfly type. usually she has some sort of walmart "funny cartoon" t-shirt and a pair of shitty sandals on, no matter what the weather is outside. her mouth and most of her face is shrunken and pulled into a pout by tiny wrinkles, making her head appear smaller than it is. her dishwater blond hair is pulled up into a pony tail that is held there by something she found in the kitchen.

Sherry perpetually wants to argue and fight with whoever she is talking too. this goes double for her friends unless she is bragging about something too them, which at that point she wants their undivided attention. if you happen to be her landlord, she will first attempt to bully and threaten you, but when that doesnt work, she will cry and apologize with half assed excuses for why she is so angry.

so back to the story. as i drove up to the house, i caught the meth head hauling the hot water tank out to the shitty ford escape. i pulled over, phone out and calling the police, and watched as he struggled to put the tank into his trunk. standing on the home's front porch, watching on with seeming approval, was Sherry. she was working her mouth in a clenching motion and wringing her hands, like addicts do, as she stood there with her boxes. suddenly, she realized that it was my truck parked down the street.

she darted back into the open doorway behind her. i got out of the truck and walked up the snowy path that leads to her front porch, stepping around one of the meth heads who was carrying a tote full of christmas decorations. once i was inside the house, i found Sherry. she was roving from the kitchen to the back bedroom, from the back bedroom to the bathroom, and from the bathroom to the front bedrooms. she appeard to be looking for something.

Sherry? i said, trying to get her attention as she wandered. can i help you? are you looking for something?

no, no. she stopped at a table and began rooting through the drawers, fiddling with papers and garbage. i think i left my phone charger around here someplace.

this isnt some murder mystery novel, it is an internet post. i am not going to run you around and let you solve a crime by dropping off some clues as to what she was doing. no, she wasnt looking for a phone charger, she was looking for a bag of drugs that she had left; or, more acurately, she thought she had left. those drugs were long ago smoked and here she was, sniffing and snuffing around like a dog looking for an old, friendly pile of shit she was homesick for. i realized that enough was enough and began the process of throwing her out as gently but curtly as i could.

time to go, Sherry, i said with a hint of authority. i could dial up the authority voice when i needed to, but this situation only required one notch.

okay, okay, she said as she continued to excavate her way through drawers full of old mail, sheets of paper, and other things not important. i had to up the authority tone up another notch to get Sherry to pay attention as she had busied herself examining a stain on the linoleum flooring. once i got through to her, her body snapped to attention as if waking from a particularly horrid dream. i began ushering her towards the door, telling her that if we found her phone charger or anything else important when we were cleaning the house, we would be in contact with her.

as this was going on, the police SUV crept up to the home slowly like they do, crunching over the old icy snow in the road. once stopped, a young officer who i did not know got out of the vehicle and lumbered towards the ford escape. evidently, the officer knew the meth head who was working on the hot water tank. he approached and began questioning him, using a name that i assumed was his. as i was busy escorting Sherry out to the cars, i caught only a fragment of the conversation that the police officer was having with the meth head.

"jeremy, i like you, right? you know that. but i dont like when you lie to me. dont do that." was the portion i had caught. it seemed as if "jeremy" was attempting to explain why a hot water tank was jutting out of the back of his shitty ford like a jagged splinter sticking out of a big toe. i stepped up to the police officer and introduced myself. he pulled me aside and asked me to bring him up to speed on the whole situation.

once he was on the same page as i was, he then went into the trailer, telling me that he was going to take a look at the closet that the hot water tank had been in. at the same time, another police SUV parked directly behind the original police vehicle and an officer who i did know got out. we exchanged pleasentries for a few minutes and then the officer noticed that "jeremy's" license plate was a year out of date. he began talking into the radio handset that was hooked to a loop on his shoulder. they were going to impound "jeremy's" shitbox escape.

the first officer, the young guy popped his head out of the front door and asked me to come inside. we wandered to the back of the house near to the back bathroom and found that "jeremy" had pried a whole sheet of drywall off of the wall in order to get to the copper pipes hidden behind.

did this look like this when the bailiff did the lock out? he asked me. i shook my head no. when the bailiff had left, the house was a place where you could actually live, but now with all the damage that had been done, the home was destroyed; only mice and roaches would find the place occupiable. also, when "jeremy" had destroyed the water line, he had made it so the rest of the house was without water. no more flushing the toilets.

once all the explaining was done, as druggies like to do, the cops ignored their excuses, arrested them, and then cuffed them. Sherry was the only person who was not arrested, as she had not even been aware of what the meth heads were doing. she literally was only there to pick up a bag of drugs, but nobody said anything to the police, so they just left her there. the tow truck arrived, hooked up the shitty ford, and left.

once the meth-mobile was gone, the two officers left as well, taking the druggies to some township jail. i watched this all happen, sitting in my own truck with the heater blasting as fat snow flakes began to fall. when i put the transmission in drive, i looked at the house. Sherry was alone, with her heap of cardboard boxes, without her bag of drugs, standing on the porch that used to be hers. she held her cell phone to her ear, a look of hopefulness on her face. perhaps she was trying to get ahold of a family memeber for a ride? i quickly dropped that thought. im sure she was trying to find drugs.