We lived in six different places in San Pedro. Two apartments, three houses and a travel trailer in a dirt lot. My parents never paid the bills or rent. The first house was infested with cockroaches. I would take a bath and watch the roaches crawl around the walls.
One day I asked if I could go out and play, my mom said yes but that we were leaving soon so don’t go far away. On the next block over was a construction site. I would play in a sand pile there. I took some army men and a plastic tank and went to the sand pile. An hour or so my parents drove up. They started yelling at me for being so far away and that they went to the grocery store without me because they couldn’t find me.
When we got home I was sent to my room for the rest of the day.
I lay in my bed bored out of my mind when I noticed a little hole in my wall. I put my finger in and started pulling out little pieces of plaster. I kept pulling out pieces of wall till my mom walked in and saw the now three inch hole in the wall. She grabbed me by the shoulders and slapped me across the face twice. I had to sit on the couch the rest of the day.
I stated Kindergarten while living there. My mom decided I better study before school stated. She bought me a notepad and a pencil. She told me to practice my ABC’s I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. I drew the number eight. I filled the pages of little eights. She took the notebook from me to see how I was doing. When she saw all the eights she went crazy. “My soon is stupid! How did this happen? How can you be so stupid?” I just sat there and said “I don’t know.”
“Go to your room.”
“Don’t come out till dinner”
Mom and dad got drunk. They forgot about dinner.
The second house was across the street from the first one. It was lime green and had thick turquoise blue carpet. That’s all I remember about that place.
We were evicted after about three months. We borrowed a little travel trailer and put it on a dirt lot near the harbor. Every night a bunch of men would drink beer in the lot. They would knock on the windows and stare into the trailer. We had to go to the bathroom outside.
At apartment number two I would go dumpster diving. I found a few gallons of white paint. I decided that the dumpsters need painting. I found a paint brush and painted white stripes down the front of the dumpsters.
I liked it here; there were finally other kids to play with. I played with all the other kids except for one. Amelia.
Amelia was a bitch. No other way to put it, just a bitch. She was the neighborhood bully. At six years old we were all terrified of her. She would walk up to us and just punch the crap out of you for no reason. The playground at the apartment complex was hers. We had to ask permission to go on the swings or use the slide. She ruled that place.
One day this albino boy moved in. He came out to play and tried to use the slide. Amelia hit him in the head with a rock. He fell over and started shaking. One of the kids ran to tell Amelia’s parents. Her mom said Amelia wouldn’t do that. She’s a good girl.
The albino kid’s parents ran to the playground. Someones dad wrapped albino boy up in a blanket and raised his feet up. He was taken to the hospital. He came back with six stitches and a broken nose. He never came out to play again.
Amelia threatened all of us. She’ll beat us up if we said anything.
Two days later Amelia socked my in the stomach because I used the swing without asking her first. I had enough. I waited till she was on the slide. I found a piece of 2x4. When she came off the slide I smacked her in the forehead with it. She cried and ran away.
I was scared. My parents were going to beat me for sure. I ran and hid in my frog toy box in the closet. I was in there for about an hour when I heard the doorbell ring. I could hear muffled voices. Something about suing and bills and that I should be arrested.
My father came into my room looking for me. He called out my name but I stayed in the box. He opened up the closet and pulled me out.
He told me that Amelia is a brat and I shouldn’t hit girls. He told me he is proud of me for standing up for myself, but next time tell him instead of clobbering someone with a piece of wood.
We shared a common wall with Amelia’s apartment. The bathroom plumbing went out once time and the plumber removed part of the wall between the bathrooms. We could hear everything that happened in their bathroom.
I woke up one morning to Amelia asking for her mom to wipe her butt. She was saying she got it all over and needed help.
I went to school and announced that Amelia can’t wipe her own butt.
She never bothered us again.