Valentine's Day for Psychics

Our next-door neighbors are psychics. At least, that's what the neon sign says - $5 for a reading. (The outside staircase to the second-floor business even has one of those powered seats that slides up the railing.) We're not sure how capable they are at telling the future, but we're pretty sure they're not the best at regular living. A few generations and a couple of nuclear families live next door. Their patriarch is a man named Archie whose voice sounds like gravel having sex with a litter box. When Tyson goes outside to smoke, sometimes Archie will talk to him. Tell him about his bouts with various drug addictions, with his struggle to deal with and care for his family.

Somebody from next door is always hanging out on the sidewalk in front of our apartment, and they're always yelling. Yelling at one another out on the sidewalk, yelling from the sidewalk to upstairs. Cars pull up outside and honk - one guy routinely screams at his pregnant wife to "get the fuck out here!"

Last night, everybody was outside, yelling on the sidewalk opposite our kitchen and living room windows. Children were screaming and running around in the streets. Archie lead the rhythmic refrain of "Cut it out!" to the kids about twice a minute.

This morning, as I was standing at the kitchen sink, I saw Archie laboriously making his way up the sidewalk. His arms were stacked high with boxes of chocolates. Tyson thinks Archie's a good guy somewhere in the midst of all the fucked up events of his life. And anyway, it's nice to see him up early doing something nice for his family. I was surprised. But I suppose they, as psychics, won't be.

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