Monday, June 05, 2006


In Which We Have Much Closure...

Goodness, what a full few days. Lotsa closure this week.

Let's start in reverse order:

The phone rang early the other evening and it was my old pal Officer Peltz, the Police Area Representative for my neighborhood watch group.

"So," he says, "I guess you been reading the papers."

"No, actually, I'm a little behind," I said. "What's up?"

"Friday morning out on the nature trail over in Yahtzeeville," he said, referring to 120 some miles of walking and biking trails that criss-cross our county (in fact, the local access point is less than a quarter-mile from the Magazine Mansion). "Two 6th grade girls were out riding bikes--first day of summer vacation--and some scumbag jumped out of the bushes and exposed himself."

I was thinking, Oh God, but my mouth went dry and I couldn't say it.

"They tried to get away from him and he got hold of one girl's bike, but some guy was coming the other direction and he had a mobile phone. Called 911. Scumbag took off into the woods. Girls were crying and what-not, but they caught a good look at the guy. At his face, I mean. Young guy, long wavy hair. Acne scars."

He paused to see if I would say something, but I didn't.

"Well, you know we all work together in the county, so when we got the call, soon as I heard the description, I remembered the guy you saw a month back. The one you thought was checking out the girls across the street. I still had the info you gave me."

Here he took a long pause. "I never ran the plate. I should have. But I kept the information and I told the boys over in Yahtzeeville to look for a black Volkswagen with the license tag you gave me."

He paused again, but I was too numb to speak.

"We picked him up today at his mom's house. One of the girls and the guy who called 911 ID'ed him. Confiscated his computer, stuff like that. Sick fucker. He gave it up. Even with a guilty plea, he's off the streets for a long time."

"Oh thank God you got him," I said, finally finding my voice.

"Yeah, well, the papers are making it sound like I caught him single-handed. I told them our neighborhood watch people saw him acting suspicious, but, well, you know I'm retiring end of the year, and they're running with that. Going out with a bang, like that."

"Well, good job. I'm glad you got him," I said sincerely.

He sighed. "Yeah, well, I called to tell you you're a goddamn pain in my ass--"

"Oh, thanks!" I said. "You know, I get that a lot."

"I bet you do. Anyway, I should have listened. I know, wrong. I admit it. If you hadn’t spotted this shitbag, I don't know what ...I think he'd still be, you know..."

"Well, sir, I appreciate that," I said, and I meant it. "My dad says only truly great men have the balls to admit mistakes. And I'm sorry I'm such a pain."

"Yeah, well," he harrumped. "Okay then. Good deal. Thanks."

He was about to hang up when one more thought struck me.

"Wait! Officer Z! Did the guy say anything about the dog?"

"Dog?" he asked.

"Yeah, remember, the girls in my neighborhood. Their dog disappeared just a couple days after I saw the guy. Dog's still missing. The girls are really upset. It's been a long time."

"No idea," he said. "But I'll pass it along to guys in Yahtzeeville. If he did get rid of the dog so he could get at the girls, he probably killed it, you know."

"You ever lose a pet, Officer Z?"

"Yeah, I hear ya. Better to know they're dead for certain than to wonder. I'll try to find out. Least I can do."

And so ended the most amazing phone call of the year.

Moving on back through the week...

Even more closure, as Thomas finished first grade and wrapped up his all-too-short baseball season in splendid style. He smacked a triple into the outfield, as seen here in this ridiculously large photo...


...made ridiculously large so that you can see the ball--see it up there in the air, looking all, you know, ball-like?--because I'm sure you've never seen a baseball hit before ever.

With both video camera batteries dead as doornails, I brought along my digital voice recorder, thinking it would be fun to send my parents a radio broadcast of the game. The play-by-play runs to two hours, but I'll spare you that and give you the last two minutes. Two of the most exciting minutes of my life--in a public place, anyway.

Exciting, not just because these kids are still young enough that their first instinct is to duck when a spinning white bullet comes at them, but exciting also because it was game-ender, and not just any doinky old pop-up that you could catch by closing your eyes and sticking out your glove (which, to be honest, is exactly how all of the catches in this league have been made this season); no, this was a line drive, and Thomas didn't duck from it, but got in its way. If he had missed it, it would have smashed him in the teeth (and he was already playing injured, having been smacked in the eye by a pitch two innings earlier).

Um, so anyway, I was a little proud and excited about this. As you might gather from this little clip.

I guess that's it.

Oh all right, if you must know:

The word I went out on in the County level of the Spelling Bee was "convertible."

Happy now?

No, of course you're not, because I didn't tell you that I finally grabbed all five of my remaindered books and found a comfy chair and sat down and signed them all. Then, instead of putting them back on the remaindered table, I put two back where they belong--in the Health/Sexuality section. The other three went front and center, right on the New Arrivals table, accidentally dislodging Jim Belushi's Real Men Don't Apologize.

Given the title, I didn't think he'd mind.

Or at least expect me to express any regret over it.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

MM, You simply amaze me!! I am so proud of you for your integrity and humbleness about the child molester!! And your play by play action of Art Lad's catch was invigorating to hear!!
As for your spelling bee error, it's ok. You were 10, you were nervous, and you were expecting a difficult word. No boubt the simplicity of the word caught you off-guard, and so you goofed. It's not a big deal! Look at your accomplishemtns after it, and I'd say that one misspelled word isn't the basis of your life :)

Congrats on everything...and happy summer to you!
There is nothing finer to a parent then seeing their kid do well. Now that was a good hit. I hope was Thomas was rewarded with an ice cream or something - lot's of hugs anyway.

I'm glad the kids in your neighborhood have you and good ole Blaze to stand guard over them. There is nothing worse then a preditor of small children.God knows we all could use a few more real men- like you. GOOD JOB.

Be well-
I love the policeman's comment, "I bet you do..."

see, it is a good thing to be a pain in one's ass, from time to time. good job.
Well, now that all those things have been wrapped up nicely, I'll bet your wife is just waiting for your next crazy adventure... :)

Congrats to Thomas!

(and congrats to you)
Wow. Talk about affirmation. Go forth and continue to be the best pain in the ass you can be.
holy crap! are you serious?? i was hoping you were being paranoid and the guy was harmless. *sigh* well, thank heavens you were paying attention. and grudging kudos, i guess, to office putz for admitting his mistake, to you at least, and for being cop enough to keep the info.

yay, art lad!! keep it up and you'll have to be baseball lad instead. and yay to mm for being so unselfishly (is that a word?) excited for your son. that's the way it's supposed to work.

condolences to magazine lad. any memories i have of spelling bees from my childhood are obscured by the terror, and the adrenaline. never happened, can't prove it by me.

lol - i'm sure jim won't mind at all. good show!
Proof positive that you should always trust your gut. Points to Peltz for being a real man. Congrats to Thomas!

All in all - one hell of a week, eh?
HaHa! You have mistakenly given away your secret identity! All one must do is visit every Barnes and Noble in the United States and look for autographed copies of a men's "how to have sex properly" book (spotting copies of the Belushi book on the floor would probably also make it easier to find.)

Hooray for Thomas' great game. I am left a bit confused though. His team is called the Yankees (because you obviously made the powers that be extremely angry), and isn't the picture of him getting a hit? Why is he wearing a red helmet? Although judging by his socks, I am guessing that they only have one batting helmet and it happens to be red. They are playing the Red Socks though (not the Red Sox as a team, but the red socks as in the short stop's socks).

As for the pedophile.


When you told the story of the Volkswagon, I was figuring that you were probably being a bit paranoid. Your community is quite lucky to have someone with your (what turns out to be quite grounded) paranoia and keen observational skills on their side. Though I bet it really could be a pain in the ass sometimes.

Now I am off to google maps to see if I can find Yahtzeeville...
Glad ya had a good week, MM. If I was you, I would celebrate by polishing up that badge Thomas gave you several months ago...

You know, all this talk about your book recently makes me think about visiting a B&N location this week and browsing for a while.
Well, I must say that I am proud as punch that my link ended up smack dab in the middle of the big picture!

Congratulations to Thomas for his marvelous game!
Wow, what a weekend. Good for you for taking action on your gut feeling about that guy.

And way to go, Thomas! I love both the big picture (I saw the ball right off :) and your enthusiastic sportscast.

I'm retroactively jealous that he's done with school already. I had to go for two more weeks where I grew up.
Wow, huge congrats to Thomas!! That must have made his...well, his year!

As for the pervert, I'm so glad they caught him -- and am really glad you listened to your gut and took down his license plate number.
Man, you made my day with the play by play! TJ called me at work to tell me about it and we both cheered when I played it after getting home (TJ for the second time). That was simply great. Thanks so much for sharing it.

Good job on the dirtbag and say, any chance you might share that book title? Thought I might look on Amazon for a copy : )
MM, I'm sure it's nice to know your instincts were right with the creepy guy in the car. Although, it would have been something to be nice to be wrong about.

And, I have to say, even when I was coaching the young'uns playing ball, I never heard a parent quite as proud (and ... amazed?!?) as you. I'm sure the GP got a kick out of the play-by-play.

The wife wants to know (and, it sound like a good idea to me) when you're going to start doing a podcast! Your penchant for storytelling and willingness to share them would make for an excellent podcast. Writing might be in the blood, but how about a little media diversification? :>)
THAT is an awesome photo. Even without the audio it puts you right in the action of the game. Like Art Lad I'm a (cough) Yankees fan. To be honest though, this is a more exciting play than anything I've seen from the MLB Yankees this season. Way to go mini-Yanks!
Mike Schmidt's retirement anniversary was a few days ago (Sully's post reminded me) and I would hope that there are those among you, regardless of the team that holds your loyalty, who will see Mike's cat-like stance in Art Lad. May Mr. Lad bat .405 lifetime.
Oh! One thing I forgot. I like this pic of Art Lad so much, that I've turned it into my desktop wallpaper. I hope you don't mind.

Like Stu, I, too, love the "cat like stance" we see in Art Lad, and the just-released bat hovering off of his outstreched hand is just too cool.
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