Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bump Bump Bump (Point)

I have a paper due tomorrow. The computer’s acting up. I have to go to Bizmo’s to finish up. It’s dark outside, about ten-thirty. My husband is asleep.

I pack everything I need into a tote bag. I don’t juggle things on the street anymore—I want a quick in and out, especially at night.

Downstairs, I open the door to the entrance hallway. I don’t turn on the light to walk the long hall. I open the wooden door first, but leave the metal one locked. I scan for trouble automatically now. It’s not a wide-angle view, but you can also hear people.

I slip into my husband’s huge car with power everything. I lock up after myself and take the club off the car. The dome light stays on, longer than usual, I don’t know why.

There’s two of them. One’s knocking on the window, pointing at the lock.

bump bump bump (point)
That’s why the dome light is on: they’ve pressed the handle, trying to get in. Both of them have guns. Both guns are pointed at me. (I start screaming no, no, no)

both of them are young-they look fourteen-that doesn’t matter-young people have less impulse control -they will shoot-both of them are short-just a little taller than the car-the one behind is shorter and stockier than the one in front-both have Afros-the one in front has a longer one, unkempt-he is light brown-his gun is really tiny-almost like a toy-that doesn’t matter-Mom has one that fits onto a belt buckle-it’s still real-this one’s real too

bump, bump, bump (point) 
they have point-blank range for a head shot-my keys aren’t in the ignition-I can’t drive off

I move to the passenger side.

they still can’t miss but maybe they will-this screaming is worthless nobody can hear me outside the car-if I get out then people will hear me-no, I’m not getting out-they’ll shoot me on the street or take me with them and I don't want to go

They run off. They don’t shoot. (I stop screaming no, no, no)

Nowadays, I think I was their first try, and they weren’t ready to kill anybody for a car yet. Of course I have no way of knowing for sure.

I open the passenger door. My purse spills into the muddy gutter in front of my house, spilling everything.

roaches down there and broken glass that you can’t see in the dark-if you lock the car your keys will be inside but there’s another set upstairs

I fall out and grab the billfold, throwing it into the car at the same moment, slam the car door shut. I scream at the top of my lungs, where at last someone can hear me, as I jump up.

this is my neighborhood I don’t know them they’re not from here they don’t belong here

I take off in screaming pursuit across the park. And I almost catch up, but I don’t want to: they still have the guns. They pile into the back of a car on the next street over. It peels off. Now I am chasing the car until they turn right onto News Street. I don’t get the fucking license plate number. I’m furious.

I march back across the park. The window slowly goes up on the second floor.

“Hello,” my husband calls out. “Is something wrong out there?”

I’m standing in the street, legs apart, fists on my hip. Gary Cooper is nothing compared to me. I don’t even need a six-shooter to take it on. Adrenaline is great stuff. If you know what you're doing.

I give useless descriptions of the perpetrators, escape vehicle, and guns to the RiverTown police officer who takes my complaint. She keeps a poker face through the whole thing. Maybe every once in awhile her mouth twitches closed a little harder.

“So then I chased the car,” I tell her.
“Do you know what kind of car it was?”
“No, a sedan. American. Four-door. Not new. Ah, maybe light brown, but there’s not much light over there. And I didn’t get the plate, I’m sorry. I did try, but I couldn’t keep up.”

She nods and makes another notation on her clipboard—probably a big fat zero.

“So, I guess that more or less completes my story of one stupid move after the next. They headed downtown.”
“Hmm-hmm-mmm.” That’s a sound that covers a wealth of possible statements. “Not everything you did was stupid. You did one thing right.”

Even though I knew better, I had hoped it was more than one.
“What was that?”
“You didn’t unlock the car when they wanted you to,” she says. “Go inside now. I’ll make sure you’re all in before I go. Thanks for giving us a call.”

So: I was thinking fast--bump bump bumped up to hyperdrive--but not getting to the (point). I resolved to do better next time.
See disclaimer


Slamdunk said...

That is some eventful night. It kinda kills the mood necessary to complete your paper.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
I told her it was this big darned dog that ate my homework . . .

Thanks for stopping by,
Ann T.

Sandra said...

I meant to comment long before now, but life got in the way.

I'm so glad you made it through this awful night unscathed. What a story - you've written in well.

Stay safe, my friend.

Ann T. said...

Dear Sandra,
So far so good, mon ami!

Thank you, and I will be careful,
Ann T.