Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'll Be Damned

Blue Girl's post about funny stories has me thinking about things I've seen. Not funny things so much. More like, "I'll be damned." Stories I like to remember, or better yet to tell to people, or best of all to talk about with the people were there.

For example. Years ago, I lived with a couple other guys in a duplex near downtown. The cops showed up at our front door once with their guns drawn, and another time a tornado touched down on the next block over. Usually, though, it was pretty quiet. There were renters and homeowners and couples and singles and old and young and students and working people and blacks and whites and pretty much everyone else living next to each other and nobody thinking about it much at all.

My roommates and I liked to sit out on the front porch after work. We'd listen to baseball on the radio, have a couple beers and visit with the neighbors. Cars would come and go, especially when the dealer who lived across the street was home, but we were far enough away from the main thoroughfares that it never got too bad.

One night we were doing that, having a beer and a smoke after dinner and talking with the couple who lived in the bottom half of the duplex. It was a lovely evening, that quiet time not long before sunset when neighborhoods seem to settle in on themselves. The young couple who lived two doors down had left to run errands twenty or thirty minutes ago, and I suppose we were waiting on their return as a sign it was time to go inside.

Then, suddenly, the sirens. Fire trucks raced down our street, sliding to a halt in front of the young couple's house. Firefighters poured out, tightening their gear as they ran across the lawn. We stared as they pounded on the door. Getting no answer, one of them pulled back his ax and swung, crash against the door, and crash again and again until the door splintered and broke and they rushed into the house. More noise from inside, more ax swinging, and more shouting. Then nothing. Quiet, for a minute, maybe three.

The firefighters walked out of the house, stopped on the front step. They looked up at the house numbers, at each other, then up at the house numbers again. One of them reached in his pocket, took out a notebook, wrote something on a piece of paper and stuck it on the house, next to the hole where the door used to be. Then they climbed back in their truck and left.

Stunned, we finished our beers. I went in, got us each another, and came down to wait for the neighbors.

Soon enough they returned. Their car pulled up, in front of their house. They got out, walked halfway across their front yard, and stopped. Gaping, slack jawed. They turned and stared at us. We pointed, yelled, "there's a note." They looked, saw it, pulled it down and read it. Went inside. Then nothing. Quiet, for a minute, maybe three.

A light went on in their house. The guy who lived downstairs, a carpenter, stood up, saying, "I better see what they need." He said he'd get us if need be and left. We waited a moment, went upstairs, turned on some music, and every once in a while, I'd catch someone else's eye, and we'd shrug and raise our beer in a toast to things we don't expect.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I'll be damned.

That was great, Snag. well put together, an anticlimactic but fully satisfying ending. "I better go see what they need" is perfect.

I see the firemen as Keystone cops, running around, bumping into each other, finally, dawning realization that there is no fire.... then nobody has notepaper, and they have to write it on the back of a torn off piece of someone's grocery list.

And the signed it "The Police".

Anonymous said...

I agree with BP. (Alert the liberal media!) This was a great post. (I especially like how you are beginning your posts lately -- sign of a genius, I'm here to tell ya. Thanks for the links!)

"I'll be damned" moments. Interesting thought. I always have blogger block when I *want* to think of something and of course, this time's no exception. But, I will keep pondering it.



Snag said...

Is there a "they" typo in there? Billy's got me all paranoid, and AIF isn't helping with his staunch opposition to stanch.

"Signed, 'The Police.'" That's perfect.

Anonymous said...

I was waiting for him to end it with... "And then I woke up...".

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Since BG won't lower herself to slum around a place like mine, she hasn't been keeping up.

As of yesterday, I have abdicated any speliology tantrums I might throw inthe future, and this extends to my own riting. So BG thinks she spoted a wurd spelllled rong in my coment, insted of jest reconnizing it as a typoo, she's got to put it out there liek some overly vigilent nun-teecher in Catholic gradeskool to wack me on the nuckles wit it.

U got it tho, Snagg.

And see? I didn't even point out to AIF that Staunch is an accepteble version of stanch, right below the definition in his very own link.

See? This is why liberals can't compete politically. Too much time wasted on inconsequential things.

fish said...

You misspelled as.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

It's not ME that's got you paranoid, Snag.

It's all that risotto.

Kathleen said...

I was more imagining the note pad as being a pre-printed claim form.

just fill in the date and the address and bring down to City Hall, with copies of the repair bills.