Tuesday, February 17, 2004

When I arrived at work this morning I was heartened to see the city gardener pruning the trees and bushes in the homeless-friendly garden nooks in front of the branch. The gardener trimmed the foliage practically bare so it looks like Loretta and her gang of paramours will no longer have the habitat and privacy that the overgrown branches and leaves offered. They were leaving a squalid mess for us to clean up each day and one of them had just acquired a boom box so all Friday I had to listen to tinny music in addition to all of the other annoying sounds of their raucous partying. They are as loud, messy, and unwelcome as a flock of grackles.

With the protective covering now gone I'm hoping that the front of the library will not the be the attraction it has been for the homeless, who have been even more of a problem than usual due to a recent politically expedient crackdown on homeless and aggressive panhandlers in a popular tourist area near this branch. During the diaspora there's been a real influx into this neighborhood and we're all suffering for it.

One character named Dennis, whom my boss calls Dennis the Menace, threatens my boss' life regularly because he threw him out of the library once. When he's not revolving in and out of prison, he lies in wait in the park and tries to ambush my boss. Recently when my boss and his six year old son were walking by the park Dennis staggered drunkenly toward him and threw a punch. Fortunately he was way too drunk to make his target and he lost his balance and faceplanted down on the sidewalk. A few days later he wandered loaded into the library during children's story time and plopped down amidst the mothers and children, but the police were hot on his trail due to a prior complaint so they just followed him in and arrested him on the spot.

Back to Loretta, neighborhood street vixen... Our local beatcop paid us a visit today and told me that Loretta has a violent jealous streak and will attack any female who draws her beaux' attention away from her. She's all talk and not much action, though she can really scream some filth at perceived rivals and did so this last week right across the church steps as people were streaming out of mass. She also fell on her face recently and for a while one of her eyes was sealed shut. Now the swelling has gone down but the eye remains damaged and wanders lazily around. This hasn't seemed to detract from her allure significantly because I saw her surrounded by her usual group of admirers earlier today.

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