Friday, May 8, 2009

Tale of the Thirsty Thief

I don’t know if any of you, Dear Readers, have had the misfortune to experience a break-in of your home. My guess would be that entirely too many of you have, and that is a sad commentary on our society. My home on ‘Da’ I-Lan’ was once owned by a high-volume drug dealer who is now a permanent guest of the federal government, and that alone is fodder for a future story. As you might imagine, that gentleman was greatly concerned with security, and he took a number of measures to keep both law enforcement and competitors out of his home. Those included surrounding the rear yard with a six-foot high chain link fence; a double-bolted wrought iron storm door outside of a double walled steel front door; a steel rear door; alarms on all first floor windows; and, a central alarm system with pressure switches and motion detectors that probably still appears in the sales brochures of the installing company. The only thing missing were the attack dogs and the large German guards with Uzis. Ironically, all of this was of little use in the end since, when federal agents came to discuss his unlicensed pharmaceuticals, they cut the padlock on the gate to the back yard and let themselves into the house via the rear door using a special key called a “door buster.”

When I bought the house, it had been flooded twice within a six months period (well it IS an island after all) and the alarm system operating box in the basement had been submerged and ruined. Since I had no plans for a home-based business similar to the previous owner, I saw no reason to spend a LOT of money to restore the system and pay the monthly monitoring fee.

The heavy steel rear door had been patched up enough to be useable, but that enormous dent and the sections of splintered door frame were a bit of an embarrassment since guests would assume that the law had been there for me. After a while, even the "angry husband" story became trite. I am a fan of handcuffs, but they really lose their appeal when pinched between your back and the rear seat of the police car. When I couldn’t stand it any more, I replaced the battered steel monster with a more civilized exterior door containing a nice glass window that featured operating blinds between the panes. I never got around to putting in the deadbolt lock, a procrastination that I would come to regret.

Comfortable with the remaining security measures I had left in place, I had been away for several days on a mission of corruption and abomination of some sort. I arrived home on a Friday night to find the lights blazing throughout the house. That sight immediately set off a sinking feeling in my gut. As I reached the back porch, I saw that the window in the rear door had been pried out and the door was open. Somewhere between panic and rage at this point, I crunched through the shattered glass to the phone and called police. Looking around the kitchen, I could see no damage other than the rear door. In the dining room, the doors on a small antique smoking stand had been opened and some personal mementos pulled out and dropped, but a glass display cabinet and the antique glasswear it held appeared intact. Gratefully, the hammer that I had left just across the room also lay untouched. An adjacent closet had been opened but its contents left undisturbed. In the living room, a window was left wide open, as was the front door, although the storm door was still closed and locked. Apparently my burglars couldn’t figure out the elaborate double bolt system that my predecessor had installed. A second window had been approached and unlocked but apparently couldn’t be opened.

Upstairs a few personal items had been taken out and thrown about, but the computer and peripherals were there. The rooms had been explored but everything appeared to be largely as it had been, including a few dollars in cash poorly hidden in a top drawer. Then I discovered it! Yes ladies and gentlemen, in the bathroom I found an indication of the presence of Philistines within my house. I found that the commode had been flushed! I make it a habit to shut off the water before I leave, but the commode tank remains full and is good for one additional flush. And THAT flush... (Pause for dramatic effect) had been used. Is nothing sacred? What kind of a savage breaks into a man’s home and uses the commode without asking? Well, at least they flushed. Imagine their surprise when there was no water to wash up. Snicker, snicker, revenge is sweet!

With a sense of guarded relief beginning to flow through me, I returned downstairs and noticed that the door to the basement was open and the light left on. With a year of restoration and remodeling work behind me, the basement still held hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of power and hand tools. A trip down the rickety stairs revealed the tools to be right where they had been left; conspicuously laying in the center of the floor or thereabouts. The feeling of relief was beginning to set in rather seriously at this point.

The police were delayed in getting to my house; something about a homicide or some other trivial matter. When they arrived, we walked through. When we returned to the kitchen, a bell went off in my head. IT’S MISSING! DAMNED BANDITS!...THUGS!...VARLETS! A complete six-pack of Code Red Mountain Dew was missing from its place on the floor beside the refrigerator. I pulled open the refrigerator door to finally discover the true scene of the crime! Absent were four wine coolers, a bottle of Sangria, and a bottle of sparkling grape juice. They cleaned me out! What if I have guests this evening? What’s a host to do? I felt as if I should demand fingerprinting of the entire house. As I passionately explained my crisis to the police, they were surprisingly unsympathetic. Then I thought better and my panic subsided. If people pop in, we can always go out.

So instead of a leisurely weekend dedicated to debauchery and abomination as is customary, the time was dedicated to clean up, a trip to the lumber yard, painting, and replacing the damaged door with a similar door sporting a new double deadbolt lock. While I can’t imagine why, the police detectives never did call back or show up to investigate my crime scene. Again something about that homicide. Where ARE police priorities these days? By golly I’ll bet that William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger would have showed up if we were in Las Vegas! And me without a wine to serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment