My neighborhood is never lacking action. Living on the lower west side gives you a nice mix of eccentric elderly folks, alcohol-fueled college kids, and strung out crackheads looking to bash your face in for pocket change. Charming, no?
Over the last 12 months I have witnessed a violent drug shakedown in front of the apartment complex, had my car broken into, heard tales of the neighbor’s pit bulls chasing people down the alleyway like a live action Tom & Jerry cartoon, and do my best to not pay attention to the cop cars on nighttime stakeouts in the Shur-Fine parking lot. But on Wednesday my backyard was a full-fledged COPS episode.
The city police had picked up an unsavory gentleman a few blocks away and had him handcuffed in the back of their squad car (squad car? Am I from the 1920’s?). I don’t know why he was there…take your pick…drugs, ducking parking tickets, beating his girlfriend, not returning his copy of Into the Wild to a designated Redbox location in a reasonable amount of time. The officers must have left him unattended (or were trying to pick up 95.9FM on the radio…that shit always distracts me for a few minutes) and this upstanding citizen saw and opportunity to bolt from the scene. Handcuffed. He ran through the neighborhood and (lucky me!) decided to take refuge in my backyard.
Working in a newsroom has its perks…the weekly prostitute mugshot viewings, endless Anchorman jokes, enough “when I first started in the business” stories to fill Al Roker’s pants, the occasional news personality meltdown caught on tape… but you’re also the first to hear horrible news that sometimes include you, your family, or a little patch of dirt you call your backyard. And when the news first comes in it’s usually a little nugget of truth that turns into a boulder of a story, so when I heard “ZOMG THERE IS A SWAT TEAM WITH GUNS DRAWN SEARCHING FOR A FUGITIVE IN YOUR HOUSE” I was skeptical.
Turns out it wasn’t that far-fetched. This tax-paying, productive member of society ducked into the ‘hoods shared alleyway and curled up in to a ball along our fence like a potato bug hoping no one would see him. Amazingly it worked out pretty well at first. The police looked all through the neighborhood and didn’t see him. When the cops left our backyard area he thought the coast was clear so he scampered into my garage (yes, this sounds like a Charlie Chaplin short, but I assure you this happened).
My garage isn’t that big. It’s just large enough to house my car, a gas can, and (for reasons that even I am unaware of) a kitchen chair. It doesn’t make for a good hiding place unless you want to take a load off and chug poison.
Thanks to some eagle-eyed (busybody) neighbor he was spotted running in to the garage where the cops surrounded him. He surrendered after realizing my garage doesn’t contain any teleportation devices (Sucks, doesn’t it? Trust me I’ve already looked in there). The guy is back in custody and we’re free to go about our lower west side business until the next strung out manic fugitive decides to make a break for it.
Dude should consider himself lucky I wasn’t home at the time. He would have seen me crying like a little girl begging for mercy and gave himself up without a fight. Everyone knows blubbering sissies make terrible hostages.