Eran Thomson Book - A Laugh Threatening Situation - Chapter 9 - Sea World Ghetto

A Laugh Threatening Situation – Sea World

A Laugh Threatening Situation

Chapter 8 – Sea World

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You can’t have tequila lockout parties all the time and expect to keep your lease.

Of course, we got kicked out. What made it worse was we had to move in the middle of the academic year when all the good places close to campus were already rented.

So my roommates and I ended up in a house on the far edge of town.

The good news: It was big and cheap. The bad news: It was deep in the heart of the ghetto.

The place was on a corner and had wrap-around windows on all sides so we could see everything and everyone could see us. We were so exposed it was like living in a fishbowl.

So we named our new home “Sea World.”

We eventually chipped in and bought bamboo blinds, but they were the kind that if you squinted you could still see through them.

And there was always something to see.

Across the corner from us was a drug dealer. He never tried to hide it. Blatant sales in broad daylight. We never scored from him and he never offered. But plenty of people would roll up at all hours to get their goods.

The family across the street had more kids than we could accurately count. And they were constantly outside crying, screaming and being annoying.

The parents weren’t much better. It seemed like they must have had a “no fighting in the house” rule because they were always yelling at each other out where we could see them.

We never met the person who lived right next door, but his name was almost definitely Leroy.

I know this because one day I was sitting on the porch when a maroon 1983 Monte Carlo screeched around the corner and parked across the street. The driver got out, opened the trunk, pulled out a double-barrelled shotgun, leaned over our fence, and stared shouting…

Leroy! Lee-roy?! LEE! ROY!

Then, chick-chick, followed by… Bang! Bang!

Buckshot flew past my face and obliterated our neighbor’s front door.

I didn’t move. Not because I was scared, although clearly, I should have been. I think we had just gotten so used to seeing weird shit out on the street that it never occurred to me to leave my seat. It was like watching a movie.

But then the shooter broke the fourth wall, looked right at me, muttered “motherfucker,” walked back to his car, put his gun back in the trunk, and peeled out.

When I told my roommates about it, they joked that maybe we should get guns too.

And then a few weeks later a friend who needed a crash pad for a few weeks moved in – and he had one.

It was a Red Ryder BB gun. So we didn’t exactly feel like we were winning the neighborhood arms race. Nor did we feel any safer.

Our new roommate, we’ll call him “Q,” set up beer cans for target practice in our living room. We all had a shot, and for a while, it was kind of fun and funny to have our own private indoor shooting range.

The school term dragged on. And we eventually grew bored of the domestic disturbances, drug deals, and dangerous drivers screeching around our corner. The novelty of Sea World had worn off. And just like performing porpoises, we were anxious to be free from that place.

We managed to survive a second semester but agreed we should find somewhere new to live. But, Sea World was a big house and anywhere we could afford in a nicer part of town was sure to be smaller. Some downsizing was in order.

All of us put stuff up for sale. Beer lights, redundant furniture, bikes. One of the things I listed in the classifieds was a king-size waterbed I had long fallen out of love with.

I drained the thick vinyl mattress, folded it up carefully and put it in a cardboard box along with all the other parts for the frame, filler tubes etc. I took apart the wood frame and then stacked everything up in the corner of our living room where it sat for a few weeks until someone finally bought it.

The guy who came to pick it up was a young redneck with a yeehaw accent. We loaded everything into his pickup, the kind with a shotgun mounted in the rear window. He handed me two hundred in cash. And I never saw him again.

But around 2 am he called me.


“God-damn you mutha fucka. You done sold me that water bed, and I done put the dang thing together and filled it up and now there’s water spraying all over my god-damned trailer! And it’s my god-damned honeymoon. Watch you gonna do bout it?”

I am sleepy and confused but I knew the bed was fine when I dismantled it and the mattress was folded and packed carefully. So I told him I had no idea there was a hole in it and I’m certain there wasn’t a hole in it when I sold it to him.

“It ain’t one hole mutha fucka. It’s a shit ton. It’s like a gold-damned lawn sprinkler in here!”

I asked him if anything in his truck might have poked through the mattress while he was driving home – a rake? Some nails? Anything?

“Hell no, but there were a bunch of BBs in the box when I took it out.”

Fucking Q and his Red Ryder.

Q was long gone by this point. We had come home from class one day and caught him shooting through the bamboo blinds at the little kids playing across the street. He was far enough away that they never got hurt, but they definitely would have got confused.

If anyone had worked out what he was doing we surely would have been shot ourselves – and with something a little more hurtful than a BB.

So we kicked Q out immediately. But now it was obvious he’d been using my waterbed mattress box for target practice too.

I’d survived all the dangerous driving and drug dealing that went on around Sea World, and now I was at risk of seeing a second shotgun up close, this time wielded by a wet, angry newlywed.

I apologized profusely and offered him his money back. He told me we were long past that.

I asked him if he found the included patch kit in the box. I heard him rustling around and when he came back on the line all he said was “Yep.” and hung up.

And that was the last I heard from the soaking wet groom honeymooning in his trailer. If he ever came around looking for revenge, I wouldn’t know.

Because we moved out of Sea World the very next day.

Life Pro Tips

  • If you’re thinking about getting a water bed, don’t.
  • If you’re thinking about getting a roommate with a gun, don’t.
  • If you’re thinking about getting bamboo blinds and you live in a bad neighbourhood, don’t.


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