We made the mistake of helping these folks about 4 years ago or more, back when we all lived in the same community.
Now, we live in the country. When you live in the country you help out your neighbors, and in turn they help you out, and it's all cool. Fine. So it was with these folks. If they had an emergency we babysat their kids. They needed to borrow a truck, no problem. At one point they were down on their luck and needed a car. We had one that was a runner so we 'sold' it to them for 5.00. Far from being unusual; folks have done the same for us in times of need. And these things were reciprocated; the husband gave us a hand with our deck and cars and whatnot.
We would not have done any of it had we known that his wife was a raving psycho.
This is not to say that I was expecting anything different from the woman, just that I was kind of hoping against hope that I'd be wrong. This is the kind of woman to whom gossip is meat, who says the first ignorant thing that pops out of her mouth; no inner censor, no boundaries to speak of, bone stupid, loud, inappropriate AND a hee-hawer. The kind of person who brags about having been in prison (for meth, natch!) and in the next breath goes off on a rant about drug dealers and how the cops won't do anything about it. You know lady, whatever.
They moved to another town, and we breathed a sigh of relief.
Then they moved back into town here about four months ago now. Could they borrow our truck? Sure. No problem. Fill the tank, flip us a nug, it's cool.
As far as this broad was concerned, the Gravy Train had just pulled in to the station.
That's when it BEGAN. Every day there was phone call, and with every single one she was begging for favors.* Can I come over and whine about my apartment not being cleaned (no.) Can I come over and whine about how much the neighbors here hate me? (no.) Would you come over and help clean my apartment (no.) Would you help me paint (no.) Do you have any paint and brushes and painting supplies I can use (no.) Can I borrow your truck (no.) Can you give me a ride (no.) Can you babysit my kids while I go down to the check cashing place (no.)
Here I began screening calls.
She left messages: Can I have some cigarette money (no.) Will you run down to the store and buy me a pack of cigarettes (no.) Can I borrow 20$ (no.)
Then she started showing up at my door. Unannounced. Uninvited. More favors being begged. Will you drive me to my son's preschool evaluation (NO.) Can I have a Christmas party at your house (NO.) How about if I sit here and plan it anyway (NO.) Can we park our car in your driveway with a for sale sign in it (NO.)
Soon she was showing up with some skeezer friend of hers. AT 9:pm. In her fuzzy house slippers. In the rain. Could we help skeezer move? (NO) Could skeezer borrow our truck?(NO) Could skeezer come on over and beg for cigarette money? (NO) How about if ol' skeezer tries to sell me some prescription drugs she's ripped off from Christ knows where?(NO) Hey, how about me and skeezer come on by and just hang out for no apparent reason while I go on and on at length about people you've never heard of and how much I hate them?
And simultaneously the phone calls are mounting up, every day, until there's ELEVEN MESSAGES ON MY MACHINE some days.
We have a good reputation in this town. We are not criminals. We are not ghetto rats. So why suddenly do I have Chickenhead One and Chickenhead Two parked out in my driveway doing bong hits while I sit inside and look out the kitchen window and just about drop ass thinking "Oh my God what the fuck?! WHAT THE FUCK?!? Oh Lordy please; kill me now!"
The last time this woman called I took her for a drive. I told her "Listen. We are not an inexhaustible source of money and favors. We have family, and they come first, and we take care of them. Not the rest of the world."
Pretty clear, right?
And the next day this skag called five times. Wanting a ride into town. And cigarette money. And Christ knows what all.
It finally got to that point.
Obviously she wasn't listening; well and good. The Biker and I fronted up her husband out into the driveway one day, in the rain, stood him up against a car and gave him the rundown. I told him what his wife had been doing, and he blanched. Then my husband threw down. Now, chickenheads' husband is a smallish man. My husband, the large tattooed biker - and a none-too-happy one at this point- is up in his face hissing "We don't want that psychotic bitch of a wife of yours calling anymore, or at our door any more, her OR her loser friends."
See, I'd say that was pretty clearly put, wouldn't you? The guy got the message. Oh, I'd say he definitely got the message. And I know the message was delivered, because the calls and the visits stopped dead, for about a week and a half.
I kept my answering machine on, though.
I started getting a few exasperated comments from folks. "Are you still screening your calls? Oh geeze. Would you please pick up your phone? For heavens sake. How long has it been? Don't be paranoid."
Oh? Just wait. I grew up with people like this. I know how their minds work. Just wait.
And sure as shit, the calls started up again.
No messages. Just breathing.
She lives just down the street, right across from the city limits sign where the speed limit changes from 45 to 30. My machine picks up, and as I listen to her breathing, in the background I can hear a truck putting on its jakebrakes. Now my phone is in the front room next to the streetside window. And as I listen, here comes the same truck rolling past my door, still gearing down.
These calls went on for a month. One. Then two in one week. Then three.
Now we're up to three a day, with brief verbal messages. "Hi! How do you like the weather!"
So the next step is going to the husband at his place of work and having another talk with him. From there, the police. It may even get ridiculous enough to require a 'no contact' order. The last time I had one of those was over 20 years ago; there was a court appearance involved, then a visit to the county clerks office. It cost 75 bucks then, and that was with all the fees waived. I don't imagine that they've got much cheaper or more convenient in the interim.
Life was a lot simpler back when I handled this shit with a baseball bat.
*Unneeded favors, let me hasten to point out. That's the kicker. They have friends. They have family. They have a car and money. That's what makes this so incredibly creepy. She doesn't need this stuff...she's just doing it. Gosh I love being a freak magnet.