A Tale of Four Bikes and a Near-Stroke Due to Major EmbarrassmentYesterday, between the hours of ten a.m. and one p.m., someone stole my middle daughter's bike as well as her friend's from my front yard. My husband and I, our next door neighbors (parents of my daughter's friend) decided not to call the cops...It's only a couple of bikes we're talking about here...Much more important things the police should be focusing on other than finding a couple of purple sparkly Barbie bikes that were most likely taken by a couple of purple sparkly teenagers looking for some quick cash.
That same day, around eight p.m., my youngest daughter's bike, along with her friend's, were taken. Again, from my front yard.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I'd been working on the computer when I heard yelling from downstairs; it was my middle daughter, the one whose bike was stolen that morning: "Mom! Come quick! Someone stole Ariel and Stephanie's bikes! We saw them riding away!"
So I ran outside amid the commotion, desperately searching the darkened street for any sign of the thieves, ran down toward the corner of our street and Greendale as the kids screeched "They went this way! They were teenagers, Mom! Big guys with long hair! Yeah! And we yelled at them to give our bikes back -- we said 'screw you!' and they said 'screw you' back, and yeah, they went this way!"
"They went this way?" I huffed, running at almost full speed, my glasses bouncing furiously upon my nose, my bare feet hurting from the gravel and stones, my rage building with each foot-slap. I would find those little bastards, oh yes, and when I did, I would hurl myself against their pimply backs, grab them by their shirt collars, fling them to the ground with the strength of ten angry mothers, and they would cry for their own mommies, yes indeed. I would make them sorry for taking my babies' bikes. Very sorry.
As I rounded the corner onto Greendale, all was quiet save for my huff-puffing wheeze, a lone dog barking in the night. No sign of giggling teenagers, hurried voices. No whizz of bicycle tires. So I turned around and walked back home, all the while searching, listening, peering into garages, the lighted windows of my neighbors. A crowd had gathered on our street, summoned from their homes by the high-pitched pleas of my daughter and her friend, concerned old folks, curious moms and dads, babies squalling, excited toddlers, all of them floating about in the dim like confused ghosts, their faces obscured by shadow, the tension palpable.
"I didn't see them," I said. "Are you sure they went that way?" I said while pointing to the corner.
"Well," my daughter's friend said, "I think I saw them go that way."
"That way" meaning the opposite direction in which I ran.
Okay, a bit suspicious, that. I mean, I realize that young children easily get their facts jumbled when faced with a scary situation, that their awesome imaginations can overtake reality, no matter the sincerity. But the fact remained that the bikes were gone, just as the other two were gone.
Then the both of them, my middle daughter and her friend (who was weeping), began talking about a black van slowing down, passing them a couple of times before the actual bike-napping, and then they couldn't agree on whether the culprits were black, white, Latino, short-haired, long haired...
The crowd began to buzz with accusations, pointed fingers at "those bad kids" down the block, the new family that moved in over on the other street (they have ten kids, don'tcha know! Why, the father's an orthodox Jew, heaven's sake!), and, horribly, my oldest daughter's friends..Yes, perhaps your daughter's friends did this, Lori.
Y'know, because those kids happen to wear Mohawks and black eyeliner. Of course they did this, those Mohawked, black eyeliner-wearing Barbie bike snatchers!
"You have to call the police! Call them immediately!" they droned, they buzzed. Surely, I must call the police now. Why, what kind of mother would I be if I didn't call the police? What kind of neighbor? What kind of human being?
"Lar," I said to my husband (who'd been lurking in our home, peeping out at the spectacle) "Lar, we have to call the police."
"No we don't" was all he said.
"But the neighbors said we should..."
He shrugged, gave me one of his looks, jerked his head toward the phone. "Knock yourself out."
So the officer arrived, within five minutes, I might add, and he took his initial report, got back in his cruiser and, well, cruised, searched the streets for a while, came back to the now near-hysterical drone of busy bodies who'd flown in from hives as far as the eye could see, and said to me, "Ma'am, I didn't catch anything suspicious, but why don't we go into your house so I can finish taking statements?" He said this while nervously eyeing the throng of hepped-up yappers surrounding his cruiser. I happily agreed.
An hour later, the crowd had dispersed, the officer was gone, and I was chugging my third Coors Light, working on a story, when the phone rang. It was my youngest daughter's friend's mother. "Good news!" she said. "The girls' bikes are here."
Oh, happy day!
"Where did you find them? Did your husband hunt the bike-nappers down? Did someone turn them in...?"
"No, they were here all along! They must've forgotten that they parked the bikes in our backyard. Isn't that hilarious?"
Yeah, a real riot, lady. Especially for you, considering you don't have to call the officer and chuckle sheepishly as you explain this "hilarious" situation to him; you don't have to face The Lar and his Stonehenge expression while describing how "hilarious" this all is. You don't live on my street, don't have to deal with the amused, whispery drone-a-thon to come...
I still haven't called the officer. Is that bad? I mean, the other bikes, my middle daughter's and her friend's were stolen...
Ah, hell. I hate suburbia.