Another Friday night wasted. My date with Anjelica was s***, at least it was friendly. But we both knew it wasn’t happening again. It was late, and in the streets of Baltimore, I needed to get home. I needed a beer, and quick. With my luck, it started to rain. I went to a convenience store and got a beer and an umbrella and made my way to my small apartment. I got to my building and went to my room. 5 stories up, 3 doors down the left. It wasn’t always a dump, but my habits did it no service. To be honest with you, it was a dump. My crappy iPhone 4 started to ring and it read,
I answered it expecting the worst, she was always cranky, especially when she called this late into the night.
“Is it clean?”
“I said, is your place clean?”
“Answer the question Scott, you and your place smell horrible, alcohol is not helping your love life.”
“No… No it’s not, if you’re so concerned.”
“You better clean it, and if I don’t get a call back in a week, I’m coming over there myself, and I’ll make sure everyone in the building know that you can’t do it!”
“You know what Mom, I’ll do it, so don’t come over.”
“Expect me on Wednesday then, if you’re so sure.”
I slurred my words.
“Scott, are you drunk?”
I hung up. She was too much, but she wasn’t wrong, I was pretty buzzed. I tumbled over to my raggedy bed, sat down, and passed out.
I woke up suddenly, I didn’t know what time it was, and the only thing I remembered was my mom being pissed off about my apartment and that she was coming soon. I needed to do something, I could not have her let her rage out on me. I was her only son left with any hope to succeed in life. My older brother is locked up for manslaughter, he killed someone drunk driving. And my youngest brother is a high school dropout, living with my dad, which isn’t any help. I was my mother’s only hope left to being a good mother. All of her friends had sons who went to Harvard, or went on to play in the PGA, and her children were drunks and in prison. For her, me being under constant watch was a priority, and she though the root of all problems was the fact that my apartment was a junk pile. I went to the cybercafé down the street and went onto, of all places, Craigslist. I searched for any cleaning services to clean up my place that were fairly local to Baltimore, and that weren’t overpriced.
One person stood out in particular. Ms. Wong, she wasn’t too pricey and had some decent reviews. I texted her number if she could come on Tuesday, and she just shot back an OK. I sent her my address and went back to my apartment to get wasted again, until Tuesday came. The weekend didn’t stand out in particular, until one morning, there was a violent beating on my door. I knew it wasn’t Tuesday, and I don’t have any visitors, believe me, so I was confused on who it could be. I look through the peephole and didn’t see anyone. I was pissed off, why kids are pulling pranks this early in the morning, I was about to find out. I opened my door quickly to find the smallest little woman I had ever seen in my life.
“Hello, I will clean now”
She started to walk into my apartment, as I stopped her.
“Hold up, is it even Tuesday?”
“Eh, I come early, clean is good”
Fair point, but clean isn’t good at 6 AM.
“Well, I mean you’re here, and I guess I’m up now so have at it, just don’t go in the fridge.” I laughed
Ms. Wong was not amused, and just looked at me as she walked in and got her vacuum out. Let me tell you, Ms. Wong, she was good at her job. She vacuumed and dusted and sprayed the whole day, and I mean the WHOLE day. She didn’t leave till dinner. When it came time to pay her, I started going through my wallet and told me she didn’t need it. She said some mumbo jumbo about how being clean is not to be paid for and other bull crap, so I just let her go on her merry way.
I managed to keep the place clean up until Wednesday, and when my mom came, she was pleasantly surprised.
“Wow, Scott, you really got better, guess I don’t need to announce to the neighbors you’re a mess.”
“Thanks, Mom, appreciate it.”
“You might actually be the son I need, and the one after all of these years, will escape your father’s ways and be a success, unlike the rest of us.”
With a kiss on the cheek, she left the building to go back home, outside of the city. The next week was average, I didn’t do much at the gas station I worked at, and things went surprisingly OK. The apartment wasn’t too messy, as I wasn’t drinking much. But on the Monday after Ms. Wong came, she was back, same time, and same attitude. I couldn’t turn her down, she looked desperate and needed cash, so I let her. One of the biggest mistakes I had ever made.
I will admit, having some Asian lady come to my apartment everyday wasn’t normal, but it was what we both needed. We formed a friendship over time, mainly over cleaning. We didn’t talk outside of that subject. Ms. Wong wanted to come on Mondays and Thursdays now, and since I was in a very elated mood, I let her come over more often. My work had improved over the next 3 months and my manager wanted me to relocate to his cousin’s shop over in Chicago. I slept on it, and I told him I would go there to check it and see what apartments they had. When I came home after hearing the news, I told Ms. Wong.
“Ms. Wong, I need to go out of town for a day or 2.”
“Do I clean still?”
“I mean, you don’t have too, you should take a break.”
“No, I clean still.”
“Alrighty, I’ll leave some keys under the matt.”
The next morning I caught the flight to Chicago and planned to stay for a day and then have my mom drive me back to my place from the airport once I got back from Chicago. The trip was nice, for the most part. I’m not so sure about moving so far away from my mother, she clearly needed me. When she picked me up, she was more than excited to see her son go on a business trip, even though it was for relocation from a gas station to a Whole Foods. Nether less, she was excited and wanted to go my place and hear about it all.
We pulled up the apartment and saw a cop car parked near. There was never any cops near my part, so it was thought provoking on why the law was near. When we went up the stairs to floor 5, down the left side of the hallway, 2 cops were there, standing in thought. They were near my apartment and they saw me and approached me.
“Hello sir, do you know who may live in apartment E3?”
“Umm, that’s me”
“Could you explain us this?”
He led me down the down the hall to my room, with the door opened. Inside the room, all along the couch, the counters, the floor, was crack. Straight up cocaine. Everywhere. I heard my mom gasp, the officers read me my rights as I blurred out in my head. One million thoughts were in my mind and I couldn’t contain any of my emotions. My mom was crying and the cops led me to their car. Everything around me was a blur except for one detail.
In the building across from mine, I saw in one window, a pair of cleaning gloves with white powder on them. Those were Ms. Wong’s gloves. I could swear on my life, I saw her peek through just for a second.
And that is how I ended up in prison with the rest of my family for life, all because I was framed by my cleaning lady.
Scott was a good man. He really was, but his fatal flaw was his ignorance. I never accepted pay, I didn’t not need me being on any official record that could be used as circumstantial evidence, which was already too much. I chose Scott because he was already a drunk, the story would fit so well, a trial wouldn’t be necessary. Too much evidence went against his favor. No one would believe a small cleaning lady did this horrible crime. But, I did do it. I framed Scott. I had been chased out of China for drug exploits, and I needed a fresh start, after getting busted in New Jersey, I needed to throw The FBI off my tracks. This was the perfect distractor to make them think they got a drug lord. But, I still roam the streets. Too bad, he may have been a success in his life.