The pukes and the beautiful boy

By Rosalie Tirella

Yesterday I extolled the prowess, smarts and high-spiritedness of the WPD Vice Squad re: the Worcester Police Department’s two-state, seven house, multi drug dealer bust. Today I write about the “post-pubescent pukes” – the guys the vice squad arrested, here on Ward Street, a few days ago. The mid-20 somethings who dealt the drugs, drove the luxury vehicles and had “associates” who packed a MACHINE GUN. The guys who lived right next door to me!

Funny thing is, when the guys were my next door neighbors, they didn’t act like pukes. They were always sober, polite, quiet. Unobtrusive. They vacumed their cars in our parking lot, kept the parking lot clean, talked with me when I nagged them about my missing recycling bin (“Did you find my bin? See my bin? I need my bin!!!”) They never played loud music at 3 a.m. and kept me or their other neighbors up at night (like some folks here do), they never yelled or fought with each other outdoors like some of our neighborhood lovelies; they never cussed; they never even nursed a beer on their back porch. They dressed well, too. They could have passed as Worcester State University students – if they hadn’t been part of a drug ring that spanned two states, several drug selling houses, netted a bunch of guns, one machine gun and $777,000 in cash…They could have passed as young entrepreneurs running a garage, a restaurant in the neighborhood, if they weren’t the other kind of entrepreneur up to their earlobes in heroin and cocaine. With their brains and biz know how why didn’t they sell cupcakes instead of coke? Hondas instead of heroin? Yeah, the money wouldn’t have come as easily, but they would have been legit members of the Worcester community, with real friends, a real future. What might have they become if they weren’t selling smack to men, women …

… and teens. “My” teen. I remember last summer, the summer of the beautiful junky, this ethereal young white boy, around 17 years old with a face like a cherub and hair that framed his lovely face like a bonnet, like a sonnet! He was a neighborhood kid, living a few houses down it seemed. And he was deathly pale and sooo skinny. One day he was sitting on the curb waiting for his man. I was walking Lilac and Jett who, as always, were completely nuts and out of control. Naturally, when my dogs saw the boy, sitting on the curb, on their level, they made a mad dash for him, yanking my arm out of my rotar cuff as I held tightly to their leashes.

“LILAC! JETT!!!” I yelled. To no effect. They were next to the boy in 2 seconds, and sweet, silly Lilac was in his lap giving him kisses, head butting him for pats, wagging her tail wildly.

“I’m sorry!” I said to the boy, as I tried to pull Lilac off him.

“No!” said the beautiful boy. “She’s precious!” And he brought Lilac close to him and hugged her deeply. He looked at Lilac the way a young kid would – eye to eye, face to face, with dewy wonder. He was so well spoken! He was such a sweet person! I wanted to say: No! You’re precious! You’re so bright and beautuful and so young and full of love! Why aren’t you in school? Why aren’t you with friends your own age? Don’t your parents see how beautiful and special you are?!

But I kept mum. Lilac kept licking his face, giving him the love his family, society denied him.

Then his man came – tough and street hardened. But he was pleasant to me, didn’t seem too annoyed when Lilac jumped all over him wanting to give HIM kisses! He just looked past her, looked at the boy, who got up, and together they walked up the hill.

These are the people – people like the beautiful young boy sitting on the curb – my next door neighbors destroyed.

Yes, they were, in many ways, the ideal neighbors. If they hadn’t been such killers.