La Actress and I were home doing homework while everything occurred in our parking lot. We had no idea what was happening until much later, but I was really, really happy that I wasn’t involved or even outside.

I wasn’t the only one with a problem with Big Orange‘s family. My next door neighbor, FamilyMan had a hate-hate relationship with Younger Brother. I’d grown to like this family – FamilyMan was a devoted husband who treated his pregnant wife like a queen and who could often be found playing outside with his son. He would greet almost everyone cheerfully and even after she gave birth to their second child, I never heard the infant cry. Those are the types of neighbors you hope for when you live in an apartment with thin walls.

One day, Younger Brother and FamilyMan got into a fight; this wasn’t unusual, they frequently stood in the hallway and shouted at each other. La Actress and I heard yelling but didn’t even look up from our computers, it was just like any other day. According to the police report, Younger Brother and FamilyMan threw threats at each other including promising to fatally harm each other. FamilyMan then claimed to be part of a well known local gang and he told Younger Brother that he and some of his gang brothers would come and kill him. Younger Brother stalked off and went to hang out with The Wiz. A short while later, Younger Brother and The Wiz went to the parking lot to get some things from The Wiz’s car. While they were bent over, leaning into the trunk dragging out a drum set, FamilyMan and a friend came up behind them and tried to stab Younger Brother.

According to The Wiz, he jumped back and everyone ignored him. FamilyMan really was part of the gang (later verified by police and the building manger) and he’d gotten one other gang member to show up to kill Younger Brother. Younger Brother also had a knife on him (apparently he always carried it around, so I’m really glad that I didn’t try to discuss Big Orange with him), and there was a knife fight in the parking lot. Yep, I lived in a classy neighborhood. Younger Brother was stabbed in the arm while The Wiz called the cops; when they heard sirens FamilyMan and his friend ran off. Younger Brother insisted on going back to his apartment to wait for the ambulance.

This is when La Actress and I became aware that something was going on. When Younger Brother got home, Older Brother started to interrogate him. All that blood must have tipped him off that something was wrong. When Older Brother got the details, he stormed over to FamilyMan’s house and kicked the door in. La Actress and I ran to see what was going on and got a first hand view of Older Brother ransacking FamilyMan’s apartment and smashing his TV. Since we had no idea about the stabbing and certainly didn’t want to get involved, we slammed our door shut and started panicking. Where was FamilyMan’s wife and kids? Were they inside and in danger? Should we call the police? What if he kicked down our door?

We were saved from any more hypothetical musings when Older Brother ran back to his apartment, slamming FamilyMan’s door. We huddled by our peephole, watching as medics arrived with a gurney to take Younger Brother to the hospital. He had lost a lot of blood and the stab wounds were near his artery. Unfortunately, the hallway was so narrow that once they had him on the gurney in his apartment, they were unable to get the stretcher into the hallway; the opposing wall was too close to the doorway. They kept trying different angles but appeared to be stuck. It was like watching a teen driver try to parallel park between two expensive SUV’s. In retrospect, the small hallway was almost a hazard. But I digress.

The police stayed around for a while and eventually knocked on our door. We told them about Older Brother breaking into FamilyMan’s house and damaging their property. They asked if we would be willing to testify in court and our first response was “hell no”. I’d already received a text message from The Wiz telling me about FamilyMan’s gang and I didn’t want either side – FamilyMan or Older Brother – to have a grudge against me.

In the end, Younger Brother was fine and aside from our shock at FamilyMan (who would have guessed he was in a gang??), we were a bit sad to see him go. FamilyMan moved out the next day and a few days later, Younger Brother’s family was evicted as well. The only positive in this situation was the fact that Big Orange was gone!

This event lead to some big changes. Two days later, we found a letter taped to our door…