I Scare Myself
So tonight I had a long talk with an old friend in California and it was midnight when I got off the phone. Took the dogs out for a trip round the block so they could have a comfortable night and when we reached my building I saw a guy get out of my father's truck and start walking down the street. My father was asleep in his room. The guy had a hood over his head. I watched in disbelief for a couple of seconds and felt that same creepy feeling I had when the apartment was burgled. So I chased him. I just followed him down the street with the dogs a good way in front of me, calling out, "What were you doing in that truck? WHAT WERE YOU DOING IN THAT TRUCK?" Until he stopped and turned around and assured me that the truck door had been unlocked and he hadn't found anything to take. "But if you had found something you would have?" "Yes," he said. But he hadn't found anything. Did I mention that usually I take my cell phone with me in case something happens but did not take it tonight? "I could call the cops, you know," I said, which was more of a half-truth than a fib, strictly speaking. I mean, I just couldn't call them just exactly right then in that minute. He expressed the hope that I wouldn't let loose the dogs on him. Misha was of course barking and putting on a decent show of menace, but by the time I finished cussing the guy out I believe that she had undergone her usual conversion and was regarding him as someone who might need her protection and care.
I had no plan when I chased him. I mean, I could have started yelling for someone to call the police, but it all just seemed so pathetic, this kid just seemed pathetic and confused, and I hated the thought of all the commotion and I hated even more the thought of this kid going into the criminal justice system for something so lame as trying and failing to find anything valuable in my Dad's old truck. So instead of raising the alarm I told him that he had no right to go into people's vehicles even if they were unlocked, and that it was shitty to steal from people, and I pointed out that the people in the neighborhood weren't rich, that he was just creating hardship for people when he took their stuff. And then I told him that if I ever spotted him around there day or night he'd be in deep shit.
I felr little guilty about letting him go. The neighbors might not agree with this judgment call. Well, next time, though...