Mike leaned against the fence in front of the Margaret Court on East Fourth Street. With bloodshot eyes and a cigarette burning away between his fingers, Mike just stared up towards Beverly Road without any expression.
Wearing white shorts, and an old polo shirt, Mike looked a litte out of place in 1975. Black socks and brown sandals also made Mike as different as can be in a time when most guys had long hair and wore platform shoes.
I guess Mike was about thirty-five then, he stood about five foot nine and had a hard looking potbelly. With a touch of gray in his red hair Mike also sported a rough looking mustache. And all “Crazy Mike” did everyday was just hang out in front of the Margaret Court on East Fourth. Oh, and Mike also lived with his Mom too, and she was about seventy years old.
Whenever Mike spoke to you, he kind of shouted as he put his face right up against yours. I mean it wasn’t that he was trying to be aggressive or anything like that. No, it was just the way Mike spoke to you, and nothing more. And because Mike had that unusual habit, it always gave one a clear view of his eyes. Which were usually red and bloodshot.
“Hey come here Ronnie, I want to ask you something” “Does your Mother drive you fucking crazy too?”
Mike’s face was right in mine, all his nose hairs were "countable" and his breath smelled like alcohol.
“Yeah, you know sometimes, but what you gonna do” I said
If there was one thing I learned about Mike, it was always to agree with him no matter what he said. No, don’t ever disagree with Mike or get him angry, because you’ll never know what he’ll do. Just always agree, all right?
And then there was the horrific screaming that used to come out of their apartment at the Margaret Court. And it was always Mike and his mother fighting about something, and yes they never whispered. they both just screamed at the top of their lungs.
“I’m going to kill you ma, I’m going to kill you” “Don’t you dare touch me or I’ll call the police, get away, get away!” “I said I’m going to kill you” “Put down the knife Mike, put down the knife” “Ahhhhhhhh, Ahhhhhhh"
But don’t worry this was normal, and someone else already called the police. And there was usually a patrol car in front of the Margaret Court almost every day.
Yeah, Mike and his mom surely had an open relationship and never kept anything inside that festered into hate.
I remember the night the City coroner’s truck and a bunch of police cars were parked in front on the Margaret Court. And for some reason that night there was no screaming coming out of the second floor window. No, tonight it was silent, no screaming at all.
Mike’s mom was holding on to the arm of a cop as they carried a long black body bag on a stretcher.
No, no more screaming at the Margaret Court, because Mike was dead.
We never really knew how Mike died. Some said it was drugs, others said he just had a heart attack.
But the strange thing is ever since the day Mike died we never saw his mom.
And maybe never really knew "who" was holding the knife.