GET THE SHOE
About 10 years ago, I left the fast paced life of Los Angeles and New York City to raise my 3 daughters in a kinder gentler part of the world. Like a reverse Beverly Hill Billies, we packed up our stuff and relocated to a quaint little hamlet in Virginia, called Free Union.
I saw and bought the house the same day on a Sunday, so I thought the store across the street was abandoned. I could not have been more wrong. It is the center of this hamlets "action". I have seen more camouflaged outfits on patrons in there than a Gander Mountain store after church on Sunday.
At 5am one morning, I was awoken by the head pounding sound, of the store alarm. Because of my remote location, I am in the unique position to be the only person that can hear the alarm go off. My bedroom, on the second floor, of my 110 year old farmhouse, gets the perfect amplified sound reflection from the brick faced store. I can honestly hear wether someone has put a dime or a quarter in the outside soda machine.1
My ever vigilant and righteous brain bolted upright, ready to respond. In truth, I am dragged out of my deep sleep and it takes me a minute to even figure out who, where and what I am. Dressed only in my boxer shorts, I rush outside and witness 2 men smash a window and climb in the back of the store. Their red sedan, with the drivers door still open, sits 40' away. All I have to do, is note the license number and call the police. But my still foggy brain convinces me of two things. One, I am too tired to be able to remember any license plate numbers and two, I can pretty much be a hero by jumping in the car and driving it off. Not bothering to think this thru, as the crooks will just walk the 20' to my house and steel my car and kidnap my wife and three daughters as I joy ride away in their car.
With a foolproof in place, I leap into action. I run across the street and climb in the drivers seat of their car. The keys are not in the ignition. This shocking realization that even the crooks think that this is a dangerous neighborhood and leaving your keys in the car while you break into a store is a bad idea. This blows my fantasy world of a happy life off the grid in the country.
I paw around in the dark car and open the glove compartment, figuring I will take the registration and what ever else they have in there to identify them. Nothing!!!!!! This is the cleanest car I have ever seen.
I muddle down to the floor, groping for anything. Jackpot. I find a pair of shoes. Specifically Nike running shoes. I snatch one up and bolt back to my house, safe in the knowledge that the Albemarle County Forensic Crime Unit will be able to extract DNA from the shoe and solve this crime. Time to do my HERO DANCE.
As my wife calls the police, my head clears and I start to think that maybe a random shoe may not be the solid evidence that todays judiciary may require, so I grab my wife's camera and run back across the street as perp one and perp two are climbing back out of the store window. I sneak stealthily thru the brush and hide behind a giant tree. Then, right as the burglars approach their getaway car, I jump out from behind the tree and take a flash photo of them and their car. My feeling of utter victory was complete. I honestly felt that I would be on Oprah2 within the week. They looked up at me in shock as this half naked white vigilantly bolts back across the street and into his house. Showing them the exact location of me, my family and the evidence that stands between them and prison.
To their credit they don't follow me. They were probably so stunned by the improbability of what they had just witnessed and the blinding flash of the camera to react.
The car speeds off and the police arrive just in time to see the last beads of hero sweat dry from my brow as I pull on some pants.
"I got in their car!" I expound.
"Did you get the license plate?" They ask.
"No, I got something even better. I stole their shoe!!!" , I say.
To their credit they don't burst out laughing, but explain that DNA doesn't work that way. I had just figured you would dust the shoe, and the perps photo and current location would pop up on their computer.
No problem though, I have a irrefutable photograph of the criminals in front the car with the license plate.
I grab my digital camera and show the photo. I gotta be honest here. It wasn't my best work. UFO's have been proven real with much less evidence. I hadn't considered the fog that night. The flash lit up the fog, like birthday candles on a cake for Betty White, making every tiny fog particle glow and making the car, it's license plate and criminals so blurry and dark it was useless.
As a crime stopper I was an official failure. All I had to do was write down of few numbers and letters on a piece of paper and be done with it. Technology and delusions of grandeur are best reserved for professionals and the insane.
I often wonder what those two thieves thought when they discovered that one of their shoes was missing. The accusations and true befuddlement must have been epic. Perhaps their brush with my vigilante justice has set them on the straight and narrow. More disturbing to me is the hours of hilarious laughter, I must have given to the Albemarle County Police.
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