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Who’s rap-rapping at my door?

17 June, 2008

…It’s the Three not-so-Little Pigs!

I’m on a bit of a fitness kick at the moment, owing to our renewed membership of the area swimming pool and a complete unwillingness to change my diet.  I’ve been out jogging a couple of times, and I’m trying to get back into cycling.  So when I needed to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy round the corner, I decided I’d cycle.  I took Finn with me, as I thought he’d benefit from some exercise, too.  It’s only a mile away, so to make it worthwhile we took a detour on the way back and cycled round the grounds of the local church – jumping off the kerb, racing round the footpaths, and generally tearing up the grass, cycling through the sprinklers.  You know, the usual family cycle ride stuff.

So by the time we got home we’d been out maybe 45 minutes.  I unlock the back door and walk in, to find Freya on the ‘phone.  She hands the ‘phone to me, and I can see she’s been crying. Concerned, I ask “Who is this?”.  “This is the Emergency Operator.  Who is this?”  I told her who I was, and she told me that that Freya had said she was locked in the house on her own, didn’t know where her parents were, and had called 911 for assistance.  I apologized profusely, and explained that Freya wasn’t on her own – my wife was in the house, and it had been a mistake.  “Well, there’s an officer on his way round, anyway” she concluded.  I apologized again, and insisted that there was no need, but before I could finish the sentence, there was a loud knocking at the door.

I unlocked the front door to find a big, burly officer on the porch, and a total of three police cars outside, which certainly set the neighbor’s curtains twitching.  Freya ‘s freaking out and clinging to me, and Gil just stands there with a look of pure nonchalance on his face, as though police storming the door is the most natural occurrence in the world.

“We had a report of a minor left alone in a locked house”, Officer Burly starts.
“Err no, it was a mistake.  Their mother is at home.”
“Could you get her for me, please?”

After a quick run around, I discover that the wife isn’t at home. ”Ummm…”, I start, trying to figure out what was going on.

“And who are you?”
“I’m the…um…father”, I reply, somewhat flustered.
“Of which one?”, the Officer cunningly asks, apparently trying to catch me out.
“Both of them”, I reply.

At this point, Finn strolls in from the back yard, to see what’s going on.

“But there’s three of them”, the Officer announces smugly, feeling that he’s finally got me.  I could see the other officers cover their holsters.
“Uh, he’s mine, too.  Aren’t you, son?”
“Okayyy…I’m going to need to see some ID.”

I produce my driver’s license, which thankfully has a photo of me and this address on it.  Unfortunately it doesn’t list the fact that I have three children, so there’s still no proof that I’m not running some kind of child labor camp or something from the house.  I’m now feeling very nervous, trying frantically to remember where their birth certificates are, and all the time trying to work out exactly what had happened to the wife.

Thankfully, at this point the wife decides to magically re-appear (much like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben), to clear up the mystery.   Apparently she’d gone out the front door to check the mailbox, when Gil had slammed the door behind her, locked it, and then ran off with the key (no doubt cackling hysterically to himself as he did so).  Unable to get back in, the wife had gone round to a neighbor’s to see if they had had a spare key, and when she discovered they hadn’t, decided to stay and have a ‘bit of a natter’ whilst waiting for Finn and I to return.  Meanwhile, Freya realizes she’s locked in, doesn’t know where we are, and does the only thing she can think of, which is call 911.  Obviously opening a window and climbing out (to go where, or do what, I’m not sure…) was apparently too obvious for her Gifted and Talented mind.  (She’s put ‘Brain Trouble’ on her list of things to ask the doctor about at her next check-up…)  Bless her.

Luckily, the wife was a lot more convincing than I was (police just freak me out and make me panic, even when I’ve done nothing).  Officer Burly and his colleagues seemed happy that she was telling the truth and the kids were actually ours and not in any immediate danger, and went off.  But not before making a note of my name and license number so they could run my details in the hope that I was actually wanted for something and it wouldn’t be an entirely wasted call.  I guess this turned up nothing, as after another ten minutes of curtain-twitching (and of me frantically scouring my mind for anything they might turn up [as I said, they make me panic...]) the last patrol car drove off.   So, crisis over and no damage done, but I’m sure Home Alone painted it as being much more fun than this…

But coincidentally, the next day the Police Widows and Orphans Fund (or something in that vein) ‘phoned up asking for a donation (in return for a snappy ‘decal’ I can put on my car and be the envy of all of my law-abiding friends).  Although they went to pains to assure me that contributions were entirely voluntary, I’m sure there was an unspoken undercurrent of “Look, you waste our time with your stupid phone-savvy kids, so we want some money from you to make up for it”.  So now I’m $100 lighter.  And I thought that 911 was a free service…

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