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High Street
by Tetman Callis
254 pages
ebook only


My house got broken into again, a couple of weeks ago. Unlike the previous two times, this time the fuckers got caught.

It was late on a Friday afternoon and I was driving home from work. I had just turned onto High Street from Lewis Avenue when I saw David, my neighbor who lives across the street, standing in his front yard. He was talking on his cell phone and pointing down Bell towards Broadway. I pulled up to my back gate on Bell and saw that my living room window was broken (again). A police cruiser was coming up Bell. David called out to me that the burglary had just happened and he had called 911.

I hurried inside to scope out the damage and secure any property I wouldn't want the police to be involved with. I'd been too high that week to want to deal with my laundry, so there was a big pile of clean laundry, including sheets and towels, on one of my living room chairs. I scooped it up in my arms and quickly dumped it on my marijuana garden in the front room, making sure nothing was showing and it looked like just a big pile of laundry on the floor. The cop coming up Bell pulled up and parked by my back gate and got out. I went out to talk with him and David. The officer said the perps had been apprehended down at Broadway and Cesar Chavez. It was three people, two men and a woman, who had been driving a big white car which David said he's seen several times in the 'hood. They may have been the same burglars who broke in in January. This time, one person, one of the men, waited in the car while the other man and the woman jumped the front fence, broke the side living room window, and came in in a big hurry, knocking things over and crushing things that were on the window sill (most of my Malibu Beach and Rockaway Beach seashells and a dried rose Owen gave me when he was a little boy). The perps went straight to the bedroom and stole my leather jackets, the bedroom lamp (they also took the matching lamp from the living room), a holiday canister containing leather keychains and belts my dad made, and the popsicle stick box Owen made for me for Father's Day when he was a pre-schooler, and in which box I store quarters and dimes.

More cops arrived. All in all, six cops passed through my house that evening. There was the responding officer who took the initial report, a sergeant who dropped by to see that all was being done right, three plainclothes violent crimes detectives, and a field investigator who took photographs and dusted for fingerprints. She wasn't done till eight that evening. The violent crimes detectives took a recorded statement from me. One of them tried to trick me into responding to the name John, but I told him, "My name is Daniel and has never been John." He said, "One of the suspects we apprehended says he knows you and that your name is John and you owe him money." I told him that was ludicrous and untrue.

The whole time we were having this confab, I was sitting in my living room chair while they stood in front of me. Behind the chair is a window that opens onto the front room, affording the cops a clear view of that pile of laundry on the floor. The danger was so great but at the same time so remote, I wasn't frightened or even nervous, and whatever agitation I was showing was easily attributable to my home just having been broken into. It seemed to take forever for the cop who was dusting for fingerprints to finish. She was the last officer to leave. As soon as it was dark after she'd gone, I uprooted my marijuana garden and dumped the soil and the empty pots in the back yard, just in case the perps had seen my plants, recognized what they were, and snitched.

A few days later I got a call from the police substation, telling me I could come by and get my property back. I went and did that. Some things that were included in my property were not mine, most particularly two large folding knives. I was tempted to take them but thought there might be trouble if I did, so I told the property officer, "These are nice but they're not mine."

After three burglaries in less than two years, Tony the landlord has finally had enough of paying to have windows replaced. He was by yesterday and he and I spoke about security issues. He said he'll be seeing to it that chain-link fencing is installed to replace at least part of the rickety old fence which is clearly not completely useful when it comes to keeping the Bad Boys (and Girls) out.

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