I mimicked the man outside – ducking down and prancing away at a fast pace. I ended up in my hallway, dog looking up from my feet as she followed me from the front window.
“Stay away from the windows.” I warned her. “Maybe we should lay down on the floor? I don’t really know.” I frowned for a moment, feeling the adrenaline rush, and tapped my index finger to my lips, thinking. I ducked down and scampered again, retrieved my cell phone and hurried back to the hallway.
I pushed and held the number 2, then waited for one of my parents to pick up.
“Hi.” Mom said, sounding distracted.
“There’s a cop with a gun drawn outside my house!” I told her excitedly.
“What?” She said, more confused than worried. “Are you watching a show? What’s going on?”
“I don’t know.” I told her, a little breathless. “I was reading my book on the couch and I kept hearing sirens and yelling. Lots of yelling. So I got up and tried to see what was happening. They were blocking traffic at the corner, so I was looking out my side window, trying to see what was happening. I had given up and turned around when I noticed 2 police cars were blocking the street right in front of my driveway. When I was looking out the front window, I saw a policeman get out of his car, pull out his gun, then sort of crouch/prance out of my line of sight!”
“Really?” She said, as if I call and make up stories about men and guns all the time. “Are you OK? What’s happening now?”
“I’m fine. The animals and I are considering the duck and cover method as we stand here in the hallway. I got scared – I’m not used to men with guns! But I think I’m going to go look.”
“Outside?” She said, sounding alarmed. “Don’t go outside if there are guns!”
“No – I’m just going to peek out my window again.”
“Call me back!” She insisted and I shook my head, dropping my voice to a whisper for no apparent reason as I crept slowly from the hallway.
“I’m taking the phone with me.” I said softly. She obediently fell into silence too so nobody could hear us. From inside the closed house. We’re smart like that.
“Oh, I think it’s OK.” I told her quietly. “There’s a woman out there trying to get past the police cars on foot. They’re not letting her go so she’s taking out her cell phone. But she can see better than I can. My stupid garage is in the way. There are 2 police cars in front of my house and the ambulance pulled forward now. I wonder if they’re going to load someone in it! Oh, I hope so! Not that I want someone to be injured, of course, but that’d be cool to see.”
“Are there still guns?” She asked, still quiet. “Should you be by the window?”
“The people across the street are out with their dog and children, all watching. I’m OK.” I reported, squinting through the blinds as I perched on the arm of the chair in front of my window. “People are just walking around – I can’t see what’s going on. I wish I could go outside.”
“If your neighbors are out, you could probably go too.” She offered. “But be careful.”
“No, I’d be embarrassed.” I decided. “But I could go out back! Peek around the side of the house from my fenced yard!”
“Good idea.” She said. “Are we being quiet again?”
I confirmed that we were and slipped on flip flops and tiptoed through my crunchy grass to peer around the side of my light brick home. I pulled back to report what I’d found.
“There are more police cars that way. There’s been a bag of trash – or what I thought was trash – in the middle of the street all day. They moved that aside. And there’s a gold car with all the doors open sitting behind the ambulance. People are sort of clustered around it. Hold on – I’m going to look again… Oops – someone saw me that time.” I smiled sheepishly at the young cop and watched him grin and nod politely. “I think I should go back inside.” I told Mom.
“Probably.” She laughed.
“I think it’s OK now – nobody’s going in the ambulance. Nobody’s prancing around with a gun anymore. It seems to be relatively calm.”
“I should let you talk to your father then. I’m sure he’ll have advice or questions.” She sighed, then took the phone to my dad.
“Hi.” I said then asked what he was doing.
“Watching TV.” He sighed. “It’s raining so they canceled the cruise-in.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. We need the rain here – my yard is all dry and icky. But at least I didn’t have to mow this week!” Then I thought I should have watered the plants while I was doing reconnaissance outside. Nah, I decided. Too obvious. I’ll do it later when I see if anybody moved the trash bag in the street.
I updated Dad on the situation and he told me that it depended on the type of gun as to what bullets could travel through. I am apparently to stay behind a wall and not behind a door or window. Which makes sense, but I can’t see through walls! I need to know what’s happening in my busy but safe little suburb.
“Maybe there’s a dead body in it.” Dad guessed of the black plastic bag.
“It’s been there all day.” I told him.
“There could still be a dead body in it.” He defended his choice, but I disagreed. “Maybe someone stole that car.” He brainstormed after asking me if I’d go out and ask the police what was going on. I refused. “Or they were selling drugs. Or maybe someone’s undercover and saw someone … do something illegal. Then the guy tried to run away, which is why they had guns out.”
“Sure, Dad.” I said, still watching people sweating outside in this miserable heat that has descended upon us. I had an otherwise boring day, begging off a shopping trip with Friend to be cranky on my own. I finished one abstract for a small but highly relevant conference. The data are beautiful – the abstract's exquisitely pretty and I worked for hours on analysis and figures and fixing mistakes. I’m delighted that it’s off to co-authors already. I also took trash to the dump, acquired donuts from a new shop in the next town, got Chienne a cheeseburger, and settled down to read another story in a very hot book. (I haven’t been fond of romances in past months – have been reading for pleasure very little, actually. I ordered books about a week ago and devoured 3 in 2 days. I’m reading again!)
Dad launched into a boring story about his new garage – the mistakes they’ve made already, things he’ll put in the garage, things he won’t put in the garage, people he’d like to show the garage, people who won’t be allowed in the garage…I stopped paying attention, interrupting only to report that the police were taking of their pretty purple latex gloves and placing biohazard bags in the ambulance. As the conversation grew boring, I began to lose interest in the people outside. Most of them had left, leaving only a single car with flashing lights and the stolen/drug dealing/undercover car in the street.
I returned to the couch, waiting for an opening to end the conversation. I finally pounced on one and hung up. The tow truck came for the car as I was writing this. Now I’ll go water my plants and see if the black bag is still there.
It has been a very lazy day – apart from the sharp excitement of the moment when I saw a gun. But I’ve enjoyed the quiet productivity and have spared the world from my general bad mood. I shall let you know if I ever hear what happened outside my door. But you now know as much as I do.