Some years ago, my old Yugoslavian landlords foolishly rented an apartment to an unsavory character without checking his references. He turned out to be a drug dealer. There was a regular stream of customers going to and coming from his place, or waiting for him in the hallway — mostly local Sherbourne St. white trash.
I was in the basement with Mike, the older son. He was very unhappy with his parents for renting to the guy without checking him out. “We’re stuck with that drug dealer in Number Seven, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Did you call the police?” I asked.
“Sure. They don’t have the manpower to put every building under surveillance where someone is dealing. And there’s no point in arresting a customer for possession on his way out because the courts don’t put anyone in jail for simple possession. And nobody rats out the dealer, because they want to go back to him.”
“But you gave the police his name and apartment number, right?”
“Of course. They said thanks, but they need evidence they can take to a judge to get a warrant. Just because I say there’s a drug dealer, that’s not good enough.”
“Is he paying his rent?”
“At the moment, he’s paid up.”
“Is he causing any problems for the neighbors? You could evict him for that.”
“Nobody’s complained. They’re all foreigners. They don’t want to get involved in anything.”
“There’s got to be a way,” I said.
“Well, you think of something. You’re the smart one.”
We sat there in silence for a minute. I was thinking. Finally I said to Mike, “If I get rid of this guy for you, what do I get for a reward?”
“I don’t know. What do you want?”
“A new stove. The one I have is older than you are.”
“My dad never buys new, only second-hand.”
“Okay, well, newer than what I have. Like, say, five years old.”
Mike smiled sympathetically. “I would, but that’s still too expensive for Dad. How about, like, fifteen years old?”
“Ten,” I demanded. “That’s my limit.” Mike was considering. “Think about getting rid of that drug dealer,” I added.
Mike looked up at the ceiling, squinting. He was calculating. “Okay, deal.”
“Deal!” We shook on it.
“What are you going to do?”
“Don’t ask. From this point on, you know nothing.”
I went upstairs and began executing my plan.
I took a dozen index cards and wrote on each one as follows: “Drugs. 166 Isabella, #7. 6PM – 10PM.”
I waited until Sunday night. Around 2 a.m. I went out to the elementary school four blocks away. I stuck my “advertisements” on the playground equipment with adhesive tape and returned home. Of course, no one saw me.
Monday morning I went down to the basement, where Mike was doing paperwork. “You can expect action this week,” I told him.
“Really? Okay! Are you going to tell me what you did, or not?”
“I’ll tell you on Saturday when we go down to Queen Street to pick out a stove for me.”
Thursday afternoon, Mike calls me from the basement. “They got him! Come on down for a beer!”
Mike had a big smile for me when I walked in. He patted me on the shoulder. “You did it! Whatever you did!”
“So, what happened?”
“The cops came around three o’clock. They had a warrant for the guy, but they came down here first. I said, ‘Don’t break the door down. I’ll give you the key.’ So they went up and caught the guy as he was trying to flush everything down the toilet. He didn’t flush it all in time, and they got him.”
“They asked me if I knew anything about some cards on a playground, and I said I didn’t know anything about it.”
“That’s right, you don’t know anything.”
“And you’re still not going to tell me?”
“Saturday. We’ll go in your truck, and I’ll help you move the stove.”
So it’s Saturday, and we’re coming back from Queen Street with my “new” stove. Now Mike wanted to know everything, and I told him.
“But who would believe a drug dealer would advertise by leaving cards on a playground? It’s absurd!” he said.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said. “The kids find the cards, they take them to the teachers, and the school calls the police. Now the police have something they can use to get a warrant from a judge. Even a liberal suck-ass judge will give them a warrant. Think of those innocent kiddies, right?”
“Yeah, right. But if he gets a good lawyer, do you think he can beat it in court?”
“I doubt it, but what does it matter? He’s out of your building. That’s what I said I’d do.”
Mike shook his head in amazement. “You’re some guy!…But Dad’s going to want to know why I spent so much on a stove for you.”
“Tell him the truth. I helped you get rid of the drug dealer, and that was my reward.”
“Should I tell him the details?”
“No. That’ll be our secret. Let him think I’m a magician.”
Copyright@ 2008 by Crad Kilodney, Toronto, Canada. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org