So I’m sitting in my house last night, programming away to finish up one of my client’s websites, lounging calmly in my boxers and a t-shirt (enjoying the cool weather before it gets too cold to enjoy), watching some TV nonsense — news, videos, whatever. Didn’t really matter. I’m too neck-deep in PHP code to really pay attention. But I did hear the doorbell, which may as well be located in someone else’s house for all that I can normally hear it.
And most of my friends know this, too, so I’m fairly ready for it to be the police, or maybe a neighbor looking for something. And I guess I was sort of right — can a homelss guy be a neighbor if he haunts your block?
Sure. Why not? At least for the sake of this conversation, we’ll let him be a neighbor.
He asks if I’m McCracken, and I say that I am. He’s not drunk or high (not to my eyes, at least, though I think I’m fairly good at spotting the signs), but not the cleanest guy. Or the brightest.
He proceeds to tell me that he knows who broke into my car a few weeks ago. He’s broke and homeless, though, and is hoping to trade the name for a finder’s fee. He doesn’t want me to get the cops involved — he says the guy is either just out of prison or fresh into a long probation sentence, and if the cops show up, the guy will know it was him. Or something. Looking back, it makes less sense than it did last night.
At any rate, he thinks the guy will roll over and give me the money for my stereo if I go down to his place (which, if I’m putting 2 and 7 together correctly, is a halfway house a few blocks from me) and demand money or place a call to the cops — he doesn’t want to go back to jail, see? He’s not giving up the name until he gets the finder’s fee (I think it’s funny that he keeps calling it that) — but poor homeless guy doesn’t seem to believe me when I tell him that I don’t have anything to give (and that’s the truth — I learned a long time ago not to carry cash, for a mulititude of reasons).
So apparently the thief gets paid on the first of the month, and homeless guy will come back on the 30th (tomorrow) to trade out a name for some extortion fee. And it’s almost worth $10 bucks to get the name. But I think it will be more entertaining, maybe, to call some of my less peace-loving friends to wait for the guy with me. Or maybe to call the cops on him, too (it’s extortion, after all). Or maybe get the name, call the cops on the old dude, then go visit the radio thief with some friends…
Of course, for all I know, the old guy is in on it. In fact, I’m sure of it, on some level. Who knows if this is some sort of set-up (weakly played, if so), or maybe just a grudge fuck between two homeless junkies. And I think I really don’t care which it is, if either.
I’m really just so shocked by this turn of events (it’s not hard to figure out which apartment is mine from the truck’s parking — but it didn’t hurt that my registration papers were among the stolen items, and thus they have my address). Usually, a crime happens and is over. You’re more careful, maybe even paranoid, but things settle back into the old pattern.
Not this time, though. This is the return to the scene sort of thing. And it’s unsettling.
Not to mention irritating.