[Pee-wee is offering a $10,000 reward to whoever finds his bike]
Dottie: Pee-wee, how are you ever going to pay a reward like that?
Pee-wee: It's simple. Whoever returns the bike is obviously the person who stole it. So they don't deserve any reward!
—Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
This morning I had an electrician to the house to finally take out the old fuses and put in circuit breakers. As a result of this, the power was out in the house. The good news is that we're in the 21st century around here, so I have a cell phone with unlimited weekend minutes.
So I'm on the cell phone with my mother and as we're chitchatting, I look out my back window. Across the alley out back I see someone in my garage. At first, I thought it was B from next door, but as the guy steps out I realize it's not him. Some guy is taking stuff out of my garage!
He's a thin, older white man; appears to be in his sixties, unless time hasn't been especially kind to him. He's balding on top and has a salt & pepper fringe around the sides and back. He's wearing a white tank top, jeans and dirty work boots. He's got a bit of a limp, but behaves as though he's had it forever and has adapted to it by now.
Still chatting with mom, I step outside and start crossing the yard. Finally I get to the gate, ask my mother to hold and say to the guy, "Excuse me, where are you going with that?"
He tells me that he's taking it up to the corner, the guy in the black truck told him to take it to the corner. I tell him he's got the wrong garage. The guy insists: "He told me he'd give me $15 to bring this stuff up there." I say, "This is my garage. You need to put that stuff back, now." Finally I remember my mother and tell her there's someone stealing stuff from my garage and I have to call her back. I immediately dial 911. By now, of course, the guy is taking off, of course. The 911 operator is asking me all kinds of questions that the cops are going to ask anyway, so it's not like I'm able to run this guy down and talk to her at the same time. I'm walking with the phone in my hand up after him toward Harford Road (my place is a few doors down from Harford), but by the time I get there he's nowhere to be seen.
Then I get the bad feeling that this wasn't his first trip into the garage. I open the door and discover that I'm unfortunately right. The lawn mower is gone, my new bike is gone, a few other items are missing. Son of a bitch.
Despite calling in what is bascially a B&E in progress, the police take over a half-hour to get to the house. I go through the description again, catalog what's missing and so forth. While we're waiting for the report number to come back from the precinct, the officer gets a call that they may have caught the guy, and would I be willing to go identify the guy? Why, yes. Yes, I would.
So I get into the back of the police car and we ride away a few blocks and sure enough, it's the same fossilized piece of shit I saw outside the garage. Different shirt but the same guy. Now I have to go down to the police station and make a statement for the detective, which basically involves telling the entire story yet again. By now I've got it pretty solidly nailed.
Back to the house and the electrician is still working on the breaker box. There was a little hassle because he used to live in this neighborhood and he was pretty sure that our stove was gas, which unfShortly after he left, though, we discovered a problem with the power upstairs. I called him up and he came back and worked at the problem for a couple of hours. He's kind of baffled by what the specific problem might be, which is probably rooted in the fact that the wiring in this house was probably installed by Thomas Edison. Only time will tell, as they say.
So the bottom line is that my stuff is still gone at this point, but really, it's just STUFF, ya know? Although my yard is starting to look like a wheat field, so I guess I'm buying another lawn mower Monday evening.