The block is in the grip of mild panic, indignant outrage and fear.
There is a new presence of drug users and possible dealers. Significantly increasing nocturnal activities over the last few weeks. Unknowns are making random appearances in the courtyard late at night, either slumped comatose in the stairwells or sitting phone tapping waiting… strangers to the block, waiting for a collection ready call or meet up with another anonymous visitor.
The arrival of Unknowns have coincided with calls up to windows from people standing in the small inter joining access road between ours and the neighbouring block to one individual, usually in the early hours of the morning when all good citizens are tucked up in bed, but now being woken by shouts to ‘Dan’.
‘Dan’ has never been seen. A process of deduction – all other lights in the opposite block being off, bar one flat – and a man briefly appearing at the window and throwing down a plastic shopping bag to a woman, in answer to the call of Dan. The magnetic source for our other stairwell visitors? Oh horror and indignation at our ‘delightful’ drug dealing neighbours. Armour up twin sets and pearls.
Our BBQ area tables have been host to a couple of users, drug paraphernalia out, to the untrained eye, meth or heroine. The woman, the same one calling to Dan. Needles ready to inject at the gate.
Everyone is up in arms. Paranoia rising. What is being done? Feelings of threat, ever closer. People coming home late at night stepping over bodies in the stairwell. Ambulances called. Police called. Sometimes reached, mostly not. Individuals confronted and told to leave. We are a private block, a Private Block… emphasised as if somehow the blocks without a ‘private’ status are fine for late night drug use, but not this one… we are PRIVATE. You are not welcome.
Complaints and fears come thick and fast… what are the directors doing? We need to lock them out! Put a bike lock on the gate to stop them temporarily at least! And everyone else, delivery men, dustbin men, friends…
Another sunshiny day, another visitor, another call to Dan. An older skinny grey haired man, waiting with his black and white leashed dog, in his white socked sandals, for a response from Dan. A photo grabbed… police evidence. A muffled response from the window, a shout of OK and skinny grey hair walks around to the block entrance. Wait, wait, wait… get another photograph of him leaving, his empty carrier bag now drug filled?
Time passes… getting bored. It’s hot. Leave the window and anyhow the police already have everything we know, let them figure it out…
Wait! A new Unknown, unusual not ‘one of us’ arrives, turning left into our courtyard. Baseball cap and wheelchair. Well we definitely don’t have any wheelchair users in the block. Oh no… wheelchair drug dealers. He has parked up sitting and waiting in the courtyard not going anywhere, sitting on his phone… coordinating a drug drop? He is a midget. Dwarf dealing wheelchair drug sales! A little later going down to put rubbish in the bins. He is still there.
A casual hello… he replies and follows up with the information he is not loitering. Am I so obvious? I wander over, he is waiting for an estate agent, looking at buying ground floor flat number two. I laugh internally at myself. Two plus two equals forty-nine. James from Norwich, with a new job at the London School of Tropical Medicine, Cambridge graduate, loves the block, the green secluded peace. His girlfriend lives in Vauxhall. I give him the lowdown on the block including the recent drug issues, but not his temporary star role as a kingpin drug dealer. Will he become one of the indignant fearful, demanding action?
Second local sighting of skinny grey hair, dog in tow, carrier bag now full along with a big beautiful bouquet of the brightest yellow sunflowers.