Friday, November 05, 2004

Bad Boys

After a week featuring posts about Pam Dawber, the pants crapper, emergency room visits, poolside musicals, and lion-converting Taiwanese missionaries, what could the week possibly end with?

Why, with police cars.

As I pulled into our cul-de-sac after returning from "The Incredibles," I saw police cars lined up like a Busby Berkeley number. Policemen are precision parkers.

Our cul-de-sac is a low crime area. Zen monasteries have higher crime rates than our cul-de-sac. Maybe it's a mini-van recall, I think as I pull into the driveway, and the police are helping by stopping at each house in this neighborhood. I supposed it could be a new doughnut shop, although I'm quite certain that the lot next door is zoned residential.

Why, then, are three police cars lined up next door?

We do have new neighbors next door. That's true. It's also true that they have a faintly funeral home vibe going, kind of a modern Addam's Family. The dad looks like he's been dropped in a chalk vat, and I've been wondering if they bought the house because the flyer mentioned a secret underground lair. Still, though, they seem civil, haven't caused any problems, and don't go out of their way to talk to me.

In other words, good neighbors.

Still, police cars are police cars. Will he come bursting out of the house in torn jeans and no shirt, yelling "I luv ya, Mary Lou!" as his wife beats the policemen with her fists?

I just don't know. I do know, though, that I want to be outside when it all goes down. Our bushes in the front yard, conveniently, need trimming. What is not so convenient is that three of my neighbors are already doing yard work, and a fourth is stringing Christmas lights.

Damn nosy neighbors. I just can't stand people like that.

I could salt the driveway, but it's sixty-five outside. Maybe I could go to their house and ask if they had any lions that I could convert to Christianity. A paleontologist-baker asking to borrow a Diplodocus egg? Or maybe I could just knock politely on their door, and when it was opened I could say "Holy hell! Are you people running a meth lab over here or something?"

That's when I remember that I have a video camera. Of course we have one--we have Eli 3.3. It's not really video surveillance--I mean, it's just like staring out the window, right? Except that it's staring automatically.

Now if you're wondering if you can suspend a handheld video camera from the string that opens and closes the Venetian blinds, why yes you can. I set up the camera, point the lense between the slats, and hit 'record.' Then I go and have a snack. That's what most famous documentary filmmakers do.

When I come back half an hour later, the police cars are gone. The video footage is top quality, since it's shot through a window, a window screen, and tree limbs, with a blinding reflection from the late afternoon sun. It's so grainy and bright that if I had focused on a leaf instead of police cars, I could have won several European film festivals.

In lieu of Cannes, however, we still need to figure out if somebody got arrested, and the footage we're reviewing makes the Zapruder film look like it was shot in high-definition. I can vaguely make out the policeman, and someone not dressed like a policeman is getting into one of the police cars, but I can't tell if it's the chalky neighbor, an alien, or Bigfoot.

I do, however, have a call from Sundance on my answering machine.

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