I’ve been living in my Belton, Missouri apartment for about three years now. Do not ask why. I had at least two tweakers living next to me in my previous apartment in Raymore, MO, which was in a much more run-down neighborhood than the one I call home in Belton today. I think when I first moved to Belton in 2010, I optimistically saw a brighter neighborhood. Though Belton is typically thought of by most Raymore people as a “trashy” town, my old neighborhood in Raymore, just that one strip, was most-likely regarded as the trashiest neighborhood in the otherwise pristine, ideal suburban setting that Raymore generally is. Once again, do not ask why I live in Belton. It’s a long story. But I would like to vent about my surroundings right now.
I just woke up about 30 minutes ago to some people arguing loudly outside my apartment. I had left my bedroom window cracked before falling asleep, even though it was only about 50 degrees out. I walked into my living room, turned the overhead light out, grabbed a cigarette and a lighter and quietly walked out onto my balcony to listen.
“You fuckin’ tweakers!!!”
“You know how fuckin’ hard it is to stay clean!”
These were the only two things that I remember from the rather intense argument, which was taking place between my neighbor, Jane, one of her friends and a male’s voice I couldn’t recognize. The arguing probably lasted at least five minutes. As mentioned before, I had just rolled out of bed, so my memory of the event is still a bit hazy.
I’d always suspected that Jane was doing meth, and probably selling it as well. She’s about 40 years old. She stays up odd hours of the night and lives “like a vampire” as one of her friends nervously noted to me once. She has a son, Tristan, who just turned three years old two days ago. He has absolutely zero consistent male influence in his life, and at only 3, you already can’t tell him shit. Since living here, I’ve had to repeatedly send Jane text messages and call her to let her know that her own toddler is running around in the parking lot outside. Last summer, I almost hit him with my car once after he’d gotten loose and ran across the driveway, or whatever you want to call it. He was only 2 then. Jane and Tristan live right next to me in the same building. But a lot of people come in and out of their front door, some stay much longer than others.
These guests will pop up and disappear within a matter of minutes or months, clogging up the parking spaces outside my building. One guy who I saw walk up to her front door once was actually wearing a black t-shirt that read “8-Up” in white lettering. The man who lives below Jane has scantily-clad women coming over to his apartment regularly. It started as what seemed to be an occasional thing, but it wouldn’t shock me if that red Camaro didn’t pull up tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that (and so on). The woman who drives it has obvious breast implants and is always wearing heels, tight jeans and a suggestive top. There’s another woman who’s only recently been coming over to his apartment on a regular basis as well, and she’s always wearing short shorts and heels. Jane tried convincing me once that these women go to his apartment to give him “massages”, and that he has “back problems”. But I’m not sure what part of a massage requires a wardrobe change, as I’ve seen these women walk back to their cars and come back inside his apartment with different shoes and other garments clutched in their hands. Prostitutes? “Call girls”?
The first real meth-head drama I witnessed outside my building actually took place during normal human hours. Earlier this spring, maybe even in February, a black SUV was sitting outside. All I remember was a woman with blonde hair sitting in the driver’s seat, while a man got out of the passenger side, walked up to Jane’s door, knocked a few times and circled back to the driver’s side where the blonde woman was waiting. The two got into a heated argument that ended with the male grabbing the woman’s hair from outside the car and thrashing her head around, amidst a lot of cussing between both of them. He then walked into the wooded area behind the apartment complex in apparent frustration and vanished. The woman slowly reversed out of the parking space and drove off, yelling at Jane, who I suppose was on her own balcony as well, “You’re gettin’ cut off bitch!!! Yeah, call the fuckin’ cops!”, and let out one of the most evil laughs I’ve ever heard in my life. Didn’t Hitler do meth, too? Just based off information I’ve gathered from Jane, and hearing arguments like this over the past couple of years, it seems as though meth-heads actually use “calling the cops” as some kind of leverage with one another, a way to one-up the person they may be beefing with at the time.
Though it is a suburb of the greater Kansas City, Belton is not the ideal place to raise a child, work (there are not many well-paying jobs here it seems), or live in general. With only about 20,000 people in population, it truly is a depressing, disheveled little town and I feel as though those characteristics are influencing my own aura on a day-to-day basis. I am not trying to undermine worse conditions in parts of Jackson County in any way, but Belton is a pretty fucked up little town.
“I have got to get the fuck out of here.” I think it to myself, sometimes even say it aloud, every single day. There is an epidemic on the streets of Belton, and “it’s called Meth”, if I could refer to the voice Dave Chappelle’s old character, Tyrone Biggums. If you think your own town has a long way to go, please consider Belton, Missouri aka “Planet Beltonia”.
[This article was written on the morning of October 3rd. Some of the names in this story have been changed.]