I’m in the basement doing manly things (not that manly, ya perv! Get your mind out of the gutter!) when I hear someone coming down the stairs. That’s never a good thing. Being alone in the basement is my time to get away from people. Many times being down there is the only time all day I haven’t had someone in proximity to me. I get to be away from telephones and the petty needs of others for an hour or so.
Until I hear someone coming down the stairs. This happens so seldom I know it can’t be good.
My girlfriend opens the door. I take the earbuds out of my ears and turn to face her.
“Do you want to come for a ride with me to look for [name redacted]? They can’t find him.”
“No.” I say honestly.
I don’t. I have little desire to leave my basement at this time and even less to look for some lost kid. I don’t even recognize the name. There’s a kid in the neighborhood with that name? Who knew? Well, I guess his parents but that doesn’t matter to me. But what good am I going to be at finding it? I don’t even know if it’s a white or black kid.
Yes, yes, I live in a neighborhood with whites. Sorry. It’s all I could afford.
But seriously, how useful would I be if I A) didn’t know there was a kid in the neighborhood with that name and B) don’t even know it’s race? What am I going to do? Point at every kid I see and say,
“Is that [name redacted]?” I’m pretty sure that would get annoying for everyone after a minute or two.
But I know if I don’t do what every ‘caring’ neighbor is doing I’ll be looked at as a horrible person. But isn’t this a perfect opportunity to show everyone just what kind of person I really am?
I know my perfect argument for not joining the hunt is going to fall on deaf ears so I say,
“But I will. Let me pack up my shit.”
My girlfriend exits to get the truck ready for the search. I’m assuming she’s putting flood lights on the roof and printing out ‘Have You Seen’ posters from her mobile search headquarters (she watches too much crime TV). I clean up my things knowing full well that when I leave the basement my alone time is over. I know the neighborhood will be all abuzz as we discuss how we returned him (or her, I’m not even sure of it’s gender. Truly, I’m going to be terrible at this) to its parents or we found its lifeless body or we didn’t find it at all (and odds are it’ll be one of those three things).
I hit the front door and, holy sheep shit, Batman! The fuzz are all over the place. I didn’t see this many police during the Baltimore riots. I’ve been at cops funerals with less police presence. Isn’t there any crime going on in this city? If there isn’t there should be because you’d definitely get away with it.
This had better be one special fucking kid. He’d better be some type of prodigy to be getting this kind of output. If not he’d better become one to justify this swarm on the street. I stand there for a minute looking. Not for the kid. What chance is there I’ll find it not knowing its race or gender? I’m doing the math to add up the amount of money this response is costing.
In this very city I once called the cops because someone kicked the front door off the hinges of a neighbor and the alarm was going off. Half hour later one cop showed up. He didn’t even go into the house. He did prop the door up so it sort of looked as if it was secure. If you were driving down the street at a high rate of speed.
Knowing my job here is done, I go back into the house. What? You’d have stayed? So that makes you better than me? All right, yes, it does. But I’ve been seeing too many videos with cops in them recently so I’m thinking I’m safer in my basement. And if I get there before one of the three outcomes turns the neighborhood into a coffee klatch I can resume my personal time.
Besides, before I’m back in the basement I hear the call that he’s been found. Turns out he was angry at his mother so hid in a neighbors yard. Well, that shoots my prodigy theory.
A prodigy would have stayed good and hidden.