Finally the freaking part about the cops
I spent the remainder of the week counting the days until Barbara got home. According the neighbor “keeping an eye” (and just between us she was doing a mighty poor job) on Barbara’s house she was scheduled to be back in town on Monday. I hadn’t been this excited since I found six sleeves of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies hidden in the back of my freezer under a 5 pound bag of Trader Joe’s Chicken Won Tons. On Barbara Eve, or as some of you may call it Easter, I woke up, pilfered candy from my kids’ Peter Cottontail Hopping Down the Bunny Trail baskets and got attitude from my husband about his Easter present. He’s all, “Classy, really classy” because I gave him a “Bitch Basket” for Easter. I got a 72 rolls of toilet paper package from Costco and used it as the base for the bitch basket and then added 10 chip clips, 2 fingernail clipper sets, scissors and a lint roller – all the stuff he’s always bitching about as in; “Where’s the toilet paper?” “Why can’t I ever find a chip clip?” “Who took the scissors?” I thought is was inspired. Who wouldn’t’ like 72 rolls of toilet paper? And it was Charmain Ultra Soft. It’s not like I went Walmart house brand on him.
To escape his negative vibe I took my dogs for a walk before I got dressed for church. As I turned the corner with my hounds I was greeted by the Super Family’s Easter Banner (Please if you haven’t read about the Super Family stop and do so right now.) on their side fence. It proclaimed “Kendell Family Easter Egg Hunt – Who Will Find the Golden Egg?!” Gag. Thanks to Kevin Kendell, a petite, hairless man who resembles a turkey baster and is always dressed in bike shorts and a spandex tank top with his erect man nipples in a constant state of thrust, four years ago the town had to abandon it’s 43 year tradition of a local Easter Egg hunt. Kevin went on a search and destroy mission that I’m sure far surpassed WWII troops storming the beaches at Normandy to guarantee his kids Kelsey, Kaleb and Kacey found the most eggs. Because of his special forces tactics a couple of kids were trampled and that escalated to five dads getting into a shoving match that some off duty firemen had to break up. After that incident, the Kendell’s have hosted their own private, invitation only, Easter Egg hunt where the eggs are not filled with anything as bourgeoisie as candy. No, these eggs are stuffed with cash. The Golden Egg is the one with two $100 bills. As you may have guessed the Snarky family has yet to receive an invitation to this Easter Egg Hunt. After I pass the obnoxious sign I see Kevin’s bike short butt bending over as he hides eggs in preparation for the hunt. I pick up my walking pace so I’m not forced to so much as make eye contact with him.
Twenty minutes later I get home from walking the dogs and as I’m unleashing my part beagle, part basset hound mutt (Oreo) I get a present. Oreo opens her mouth and drops a plastic yellow Easter Egg at my feet. This dog loves to pick up items on our walks, specifically golf balls and surprise you with her treasure when she gets home. I have a drawer full of lovely Titlest balls that my special friend has picked up for my husband. When I see the plastic yellow Easter egg my only thought is does it have candy and if so I wonder if any dog slobber has managed to permeate the candy’s wrapper? I open the egg and two $100 bills fall out. Oreo had found the Golden Egg! Good dog Oreo. Good dog.
I know what you’re thinking. I should march right over to the Super Family and return their egg. It is after all one of the holiest days in the Christian faith. Well, I decided on another course of action. I went Old Testament with finders keepers losers weepers. Oh, calm down, I didn’t keep the cash and put it in my emergency Diet Coke and hair highlight fund I took the two crisp one hundreds and placed them in the church offering plate when they were doing a special Easter collection for Haiti. My husband raised his eyebrows when he saw me peel off the cash, but he didn’t say anything. He saved that for five hours later.
That’s because five hours later I had a policeman knocking on my front door. You can imagine how excited this made my entire family. I told everyone to calm down. It’s not like we haven’t trained for this.
“Everyone,” I snapped, “Man your battle stations. This is not a drill.”
By that I meant for my husband to get his phone and prepare to speed dial our attorney and for my kids to take their positions at the upstairs windows to record what was going down with their phones. I may need it for the trial.
“Remember,” I told my kids, “I want one of you getting the close-ups and one of you keeping steady on the wide shot. Don’t go all fancy camera moves on me.”
I was in luck when I opened the door and saw it was the SRO (School Resource Officer) as the cop of the day. Officer Matt did the DARE and Safety programs at the Elementary and Middle School. He must have drawn the short straw by getting Easter Sunday duty. The good news for me was over the years I had developed a congenial relationship with the young police officer. I’m about to give you newbie parents some great advice here so get ready to take notes – When your kids start school you will, of course, give the teachers gifts, but it’s more crucial to gift the support staff. School secretary, librarian, custodial and even the SRO were recipients of my gratitude for all they did. This is why as soon as I got my door opened I gave Officer Matt a great big hug, asked about his mother and offered him a piece of pie and then asked him why he was paying me a visit.
Blushing and slightly stammering he said, “Your neighbor thinks you may have stolen $200 from him.”
“Do you mean my neighbor who is trying to hide himself behind my oak tree, that one?”
Officer Matt looks over his shoulder and says, “Yes, that one.”
“Do you know why he would think that?”
“Sir,” he shouts to Mr. Super Family, “Please come here.”
Mr. Super Family struts over in his spandex and says, “All I know is that I’m missing my golden egg and the only person I saw when I was hiding my eggs were you and your dogs.”
I look at Officer Matt and can see that he’s having trouble keeping a straight face and say, “Wow, the Case of the Missing Golden Egg. It’s like Encyclopedia Brown Meets Mother Goose. How exciting. “
Mr. Super Family gets all up in my face and says, “Yeah, well it’s still stealing.”
“Golly Kevin, anybody or even an animal could have picked up an egg. You have your great big sign up bragging how the eggs are stuffed with money and I also believe you put it on your family Facebook fan page.”
(That’s right, I said fan page. The Super Family is so super that they attempt to share their greatness with a worldwide audience.)
“What a minute,” Officer Matt says to Mr. Super Family, “It’s common knowledge that you hide eggs with money in them all over your yard.”
“When did you post it on Facebook that you had eggs with money in them in your yard?”
“I don’t know about 7 hours ago. “
“And,” I say, “How do you even know your golden egg is missing?”
“Because, the egg hunt is over and no one found the golden egg.”
“Well, did you consider that one of your children or guest found the egg and took the cash and didn’t want to tell anyone. Maybe they were afraid they would have to share it. Seriously, I can think of about a thousand scenarios on how that egg could have gone missing. Even, maybe that a dad of one of those kids you trampled four years ago in the city Easter Egg hunt might have taken it.”
Officer Matt’s face turns angry and he says, “That was you four years ago? Not cool man, not cool.”
While I’m looking at Mr. Super Family I ask Officer Matt, “Is there any kind of legal recourse I can take for having a neighbor call the cops and accuse me of stealing on Easter no less.?”
Officer Matt smiles and says,”I’m sure there’s at the very least some kind of harassment charge you could file.”
“Hmm,” I say, “I’ll consider taking that under advisement with my legal counsel.”
Officer Matt looks at Mr. Super Family and says, “Sir, I’m afraid you have no complaint here. The egg could still be in your yard or one of your teenagers could have “borrowed” it.”
That was enough for Mr. Super Family to walk back to his yard with his tail between his bike shorts.
Before Matt could turn and leave I reach out and touch his elbow and ask if he could answer a question for me.
“Sure, What is it?”
“Well, it’s about something growing in my neighbor’s yard. I think it maybe cannabis sativa.”
Now that got his attention.
Finally, the day had come for Barbara to return home. I’m sure she thought the manure smell would have dissipated and she would pull into her driveway secure in the knowledge that she bested me and all was right in her well-ordered lawn dominatrix world. Sadly for Barbara as she turned the corner and veered into the winding road that would lead to her cul-de-sac she was greeted with a yard still sprinkled in cow crap with tiny little seedlings of clover and dandelion proudly peeking out of the soil. Waiting for her in the driveway was the raccoon condo better known as the 1975 AMC Pacer mating with the rusted, bullet bedazzled tin trailer. Five strong stalks of a dioecious flowering cannabis herb were gently swaying in the late afternoon spring breeze. The sixth stalk having been removed by a law enforcement officer on Easter Sunday.
In preparation for this moment I had stayed home all day and had my ears on high alert for screams of anguish. As luck, or the fact that I spent most of my day outside scanning the street for Barbara’s car would have it, I was able to witness the moment when she arrived back to her lair. Due to the AMC Pacer and trailer taking up her entire driveway she had to park on the side of the street. She threw open her car door, her wedge heeled sandal feet ran up the sidewalk and she was screaming, “Whose car is this! Whose car is this!” She stuck her head inside the windowless Pacer and then bolted across the street to the neighbor who had been put in charge of watching her home. The neighbor comes out to her front porch and Barbara begins screaming 20 Questions – Whose car is that? Why is it in my driveway? She had yet to notice her lawn had been infiltrated with grasses that didn’t answer to the name of Kentucky Blue or Rye. After Barbara had browbeaten the neighbor into crying she whipped out her cell phone and called the police. It took all of 5 minutes for the cops to arrive. It took 7 before a crowd gathered and only 8 before the President of the HOA walked by. I entered the fray at about 9 minutes in. The police had a problem calming her down especially after they pointed out she had marijuana growing in her flower beds.
Lord, she was a very unladylike cursing tornado belching the F word like a drunken frat boy. After I soaked up the spectacle for a few minutes I felt the need to step in. I said, “Excuse me officers, but if she really doesn’t know where the Pacer and trailer came from I could call a tow service for her, but it might be a couple of hours before they could get there. (I didn’t want the non-profit I volunteered for to lose out on a donation so I had always planned after I tweaked Barbara with the car visual to have the two junk heaps hauled off.) Also, I’m sure that weed is just pure nonsense. This woman, although she swears like she’s giving birth to a 14 pound baby without an epidural and recovering from an episiotomy that was done with a spork, is a pillar of the community and co-chair of the Lyric Opera Guild Gala 2012 – An Enchanted Evening.”
One of the police officers looks at me and says, “We figured the weed wasn’t hers. It’s not something you would usually grow in the front of your house and it’s hard to prove who planted the pot. Was it the original owner of the home? Was it airborne seed? We just need it eradicated. Oh and thanks for the offer of the tow truck,” he pauses and looks over at Barbara who is now sitting down in her manure yard in white linen pants with her head between her legs taking deep breaths and says to her, “You know lady you’re mighty lucky to have such a great neighbor.”
Barbara lifts her sweaty, make up stained face up at me and I smile and say, “Oh, officer I would do just about anything for her.”
Epilogue: By dinner time the Pacer and trailer had been towed off to the junk dealer’s lot and the pot was history. Last weekend Barbara began the process of having her entire lawn ripped out and re-sodded in an attempt to rescue her virgin grass from the virulent soil combatants that the manure had “released.” She’s currently in the process of appealing her HOA death sentence and has secured an attorney in her quest to reclaim Yard of the Month privileges. All of this has left her with no time to mess with me or anyone else in the neighborhood. We’re all enjoying leaving our garage doors open, not mowing our grass in a cross hatch pattern and using yard decor that is not from Barbara sanctioned places like Frontgate or Pottery Barn. On occasion, when Mr. Super Family is out in his yard, I especially like to play fetch with my dogs by throwing yellow plastic eggs for them to retrieve. I’m sure he loves to hear me say, “Good doggies, now go get that golden egg.”