THE drug-dealing grandfather emerged from the crack house just after 4am with glazed eyes and an unsteadiness in his step that hadn't been there when he had gone in a few minutes previously.
His wife, who had been looking for Norm, ignited when she saw him walking out the door of the shooting gallery across the road from their home, screaming at him that he would never set foot in the house again.
Lafino turned to me while Norm's wife unleashed her fury and gave me an "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore Toto" look.
Last Friday started out like any other, I went to celebrate the end of another week's work in my new landscaping career with Lafino and a few other pals. The Fraser Arms on West 70th Avenue in Vancouver had the pleasure of hosting us and all in all it was an enjoyable but uneventful night.
Uneventful that is, until myself and Laf accepted an invitation to a party from a group that we had been chatting with on occasion throughout the evening.
"Sure where's the harm in it?" asked I.
"There's none at all Hoge, order a taxi there," replied Lafino.
So, like the pair of 'off the boat' gombeens we truly are, we hopped into a taxi for the home of Norm and Michelle, a couple who from what we could tell were nice and normal. However, after a couple of minutes of chatting with Norm, I realised that nice they may well have been but they were about as regular as a constipated elephant.
For one thing, Norm and Michelle were granparents despite he being only 43 and her a year younger. Not that unusual you might say in this day and age but it was after I asked Norm his profession that the couple started to seem that bit more off the wall.
Myself and Laf politely chuckled when Norm told us he was a drug dealer but the laughter quickly dried up when we notice that he hadn't cracked a smile at all.
As if that wasn't disconcerting enough, Norm insisted that, while we could play games on his brand new pool table, we could only hold the cue in one hand. We didn't find out the reason for this stipulation because in fairness if a hulking potential drug dealer tells you to play with one hand, it's probably best off just to do so.
In between one-handed games, I got ballsy and decided to engage in some conversation with Norm outside on his front porch. I asked him about the dilapidated house across the road that, unusually for that time of the night, had had several scruffy visitors in the short time that we were there.
"That's a crack house man. They go in and out of there all night long. It sucks for us," he replied.
I decided against suggesting to Norm that, given his profession, the location of the house was actually incredibly convenient and just nodded nervously. Seeming to take my silence as his cue to leave, Norm told me he'd be back in a few minutes and to tell his wife that I hadn't seen him.
He walked straight across the road and followed yet another misfortune, this one in a wheel chair, into the house of junkies.
Seeing Norm leave my side, Lafino came over to enquire if I felt as put out by the whole drug-dealing grandparent, crack house, one-handed pool scenario as he did. I told him that the first two I could deal with, but anyone who insists on one-handed pool was a straight-up psycho and we should probably try and get a number for a taxi.
On our way back inside though, we were greeted by a somewhat panicky Michelle who was looking for her husband. For fear that Norm would use his pool cues (one or two handed) on me in a way that wasn't intended by the game's creators, I told her I hadn't a clue where he had gone to.
Then, just as she had started making her way down the road in search of her hubby, a very discombobulated Norm flung open the door of the crack house only to see his less-than-pleased spouse staring right back at him. So loud were Michelle's screeches at her husband that even a few bleary eyed crack heads poked their heads out the paint-peeled windows of the dwelling to see the ensuing argument.
"Norm, I told you, if it happens again you're out."
"O come on baby, it's alright."
"No Norm, it's not. You can sleep on the lawn tonight 'cos you're not coming back into that house."
"Woman if you think I'm sleeping on that grass you got another thing comin' to you."
I didn't really hear the rest of the argument over the sound of myself and Lafino's pounding footsteps away from Chateau de Crack.
In other news, the rest of the crew are settling in fine but they have insisted on a complete blog blackout on all matters rodent. That's all for now folks!