Sunday, January 09, 2005

The thin blue line

Tonight, the doorbell rang. I turned on the porchlight. No one there.

Doorbell ringers!

A few minutes later, some prepubescents were spotted sneaking around in the bushes out front.

Scooter went out to look around.

Jake, the kid who lives across the street, was outside, and said, "It wasn't me."

There were a couple of kids nearby. Strangers in the neighborhood. The doorbell ringers?

There was a party of some sort at the house next to Jake's. It wasn't a rave. Only three or four cars were parked there. No loud music, no strobe lights. Besides, a preacher lives there.

However, it was discovered that someone "wrapped" one of our vehicles in the driveway with some toilet paper.

Those kids! Strangers!

Scooter told Scout to put the other car in the garage. Then Scout went back out and saw the two kids, around 10 or 11 years old, sitting on the curb. "Are you gonna clean this up?" she said.

One of the kids said, "Now?"

Then Scooter went out, and told them, "Listen, I know it's fun to do this to someone you know, but not to people you don't know. They could call the police and you could get in trouble."

One of the kids started biting his bottom lip and wringing his hands. They took the toilet paper off the car.

Scooter came back in the house, chuckling.

About an hour later, I went out in the backyard to check on the dogs.

There was toilet paper hanging down from a tree in the front yard of the preacher's house. And there was a Lake Jackson Police Department squad car parked in the street with its engine running. The officer was talking to some of the people at the preacher's house, and someone was pulling down the toilet paper from the tree.

"I was just making sure everybody was OK," I heard him say to someone in the doorway. I don't think it was the preacher, and I couldn't tell who was pulling the toilet paper out of the tree cause it was too dark. But I'll bet it was those kids. Maybe they came to the preacher's party with their parents and got bored and went outside with some TP from the preacher's powder room. Or maybe ... they were strangers from another neighborhood and came over here looking for trouble. Nah, I doubt it was that. Anway, it didn't matter cause it looked like everything was under control. I turned on the police scanner, just to be sure, and heard the officer tell the dispatcher he was "10-8." Code for "Toilet paper disturbance quelled" ?

That's crime in a small town. Not too many people get murdered or raped, on the whole. Not a lot of gunplay. And police respond promptly, efficiently and courteously to calls about toilet paper wrappings. There were no arrests.

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