It’s Official Now: We’re Part of the Big, Bad City

25 Jun

by Roger White

 

Is anyone reading this? I can’t be at all certain, my free-ranging earth mates, that my dispatches of late are not being intercepted by the local gendarmes. So send up a flare, if you would, if I’m getting through.

 

As I pen these nuggets, you see, my house—in fact, the whole neighborhood—is under police lockdown. Nobody in, nobody out without proper identification. Road blocks, complete with all sorts of uniforms and squad cars and news trucks, clog all exits from our little subdivision.

 

I’ll begin at the beginning, which is always a good place to begin. It started out like any other normal suburban Sunday—I’m up at the crack of 10:30 a.m.; the wife’s sipping coffee and reading the paper; I’m searching for my pants and trying to remember if I wore pants the previous night. Then the wife takes our dog out to do his business. When she returns, Sue has that look on her face like the time my mom and stepdad showed up at the door unannounced, with luggage and pets.

 

“Ralph got the runs again?” I inquire.

 

“No. Cops. Everywhere. With German shepherds. And guns. Lots of guns.”

 

Our first notion was yet another kegger gone wild at the rent house down the block, but no, this was much more serious. Our youngest daughter then relayed a text message she got from her pal one street over: “Sta in yr hous. Kllers loos” or something to that effect. Sure enough, we found it on our local news web site: The police found a guy croaked in his car in our little neighborhood park right behind our house. Right behind our house! And it wasn’t natural causes, if you know what I mean. This was a homicide! A 10-12, or 687, or BLT, or whatever the cops call it. This is stuff that happens on the east side, in places that exist only on TV—not in our quiet, covenant-protected enclave! Holy Peyton Place!

 

For the rest of the day, we perched at our windows, eyeing helicopters circling low overhead, watching all types and sizes of uniformed men combing the greenbelt behind our house, walking the streets, carrying all types and sizes of Rambo-looking weaponry. I briefly entertained the notion of taking my Swiss pen knife in hand, but then I figured if the constabulary needed my help, they’d ask.

 

Rumors began flying, via Facebook, texts, and the neighborhood cell phone grapevine. It was the Mexican Mafia; it was crazed hippies from Arizona; it was the guy’s wife; it was the guy’s girlfriend; it was the guy’s girlfriend’s husband; it was the guy’s wife’s boyfriend; etc. Eventually, the best information we could get was that it appeared to be a carjacking that began outside the neighborhood but somehow ended up here.

 

As tragic and frightening as this event was, the aftereffects were almost as disturbing. As the manhunt went on, suspicions mounted. Everyone became a suspect.

 

“Who is that?”

 

“Where?”

 

“Right there! Walking down the street. I haven’t seen him before. He looks kinda dodgey. Where’s that police chopper when you need it?”

 

“He lives down the street, hon. He plays with our kids. He’s 12, for crying out loud.”

 

“Oh. Well, he could use a haircut.”

 

By afternoon, it got to the point where we were jumping at shadows. I was in the den, watching England try to hang on in quiet desperation against the Italians in the Euro 2012 soccer tournament, when something flicked rapidly across our back deck.

 

“Hon!” I screamed. “Get the Swiss pen knife!”

 

Then I heard the plaintive meow, signaling that Max our cat wanted to come in.

 

“Never mind!”

 

“You thought Max was the murderer?” Sue teased.

 

“Killers can be very small, you know.”

 

Oddly enough, as we became more accustomed to the siege mentality, we soon realized that this “house arrest” was actually not any different than any other summer day. I mean, who’s leaving the house when it’s 104 degrees outside? By the way, as of this writing, the suspect or suspects remain at large, so if you don’t hear from me again, find out the number for 911.

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

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2 Responses to “It’s Official Now: We’re Part of the Big, Bad City”

  1. Judy Kriehn June 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    You opened the door to the alleged cat? Don’t you know the murderer coulda been feigning catness (they don’t call them cat burglars for nuttin, ya know) and burst through with cat in hand. Obviously, you don’t watch Criminal Minds. Wednesday nights at 8 on CBS.

    • oldspouse June 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      Well, there was an alleged meow that sounded pretty authentic and Max-like. But yer right, what was I thinking?

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