My latest brush with the law
Guess who I had drop by my house this weekend?
I was sitting at my computer (playing The Sims, since I know you smart alecks are going to ask if I was looking at child porn) when I saw a couple of people walk past in the yard. At first, I thought it was my landlord, Gus, who keeps a garden in our yard. This is partly because it’s got more sunlight than his own, although I’ve told him that all he needs to do to solve this problem is chop down his neighbor’s tree. And it’s partly, I think, just because he wants to get away from his shrewish daughter (aka That Cunt Gina) and his crazy wife (aka Peeping Maria). I figured maybe he’d brought a friend to marvel at his tomatoes.
Then I realized two things: First, the guy outside was way bigger than Gus. And second, Gus doesn’t wear blue pants with a red stripe running down the side of the leg. A voice called through the open window in my bedroom: “This is the police. Could you come to the front door please?”
I threw on an old T-shirt and went to the front door. Sure enough, there were two police officers there, a big guy and a pretty lady cop. I suddenly wished I’d thrown on a newer T-shirt. “I’ll tell you why we’re here,” the guy said. “We got a call that there was an insecure window on the premises. How long has that window been broken?”
I laughed. “At least five years. It’s old news.” My bedroom windows are double-pane glass, but the outer pane of one of them has been broken since before I moved in. I gave up trying to get Gus to fix it years ago. I guess some neighbor finally noticed it was broken and called it in, thinking there’d been a break-in. “If you can get my landlord to fix it, I’m all for it.”
The cop smiled. “I think you’re on your own. Can I just get your name and date of birth, just so we can say who we talked to?” I nearly involuntarily identifed myself as either Dale Durgeon or Francois Boot, two names that have been stuck in my head ever since reading them in a Colby Cosh post a week or so back, but ‘fessed up to being Peter Lynn. I closed the door, and that was that.
Close call. I was sure they were there to arrest me.
My housemate Brain-Damaged Toula has a terrible memory, which should come as no surprise. People are always showing up at the door for her, and she’s nowhere around. “But she told me she’d meet me here at this time,” they say, utterly confused. I shrug. This sort of thing happens all the time. She even does it to the police and the court system. The last time the police showed up—or, I should say, the last couple of times—it was because she’d been subpoenaed to appear as a witness in some trial, but never showed up, so the judge issued a bench warrant to produce her. I remember shrugging and telling the police that this sort of thing happens all the time. She’s not in contempt of court. She’s just brain-damaged.
When the census came out this year, I filled out my part on the day it was due and left it on the table with a pen. “Make sure you fill it out and drop it in the mail,” I warned Toula. “If we don’t send this back, we could be fined $500 and sent to jail.” Technically, they could do this, although it’s far more likely they’d just send an enumerator around to collect our info, but I knew I needed to scare her with a worst-case scenario.
Sure enough, an enumerator came by about a month later. It turned out Toula had filled the forms out but then lost them in her bedroom. The enumerator stood by and waited patiently as she ransacked her room. Eventually, she left, promising to come back the next day to either collect the old form or leave a new one to fill out. The next day, as I expected, I had to write down my information once again in the new form, and I again left it for Toula to fill out before giving it back to the enumerator, who agreed to come back to meet Toula to pick it up the day after that. That day, as I was leaving the house to go to an appointment, I noted that Toula was, predictably, nowhere around.
That was about a month ago. The forms are still sitting on the kitchen table. No doubt, the enumerator has been back, knocking on the door to find no answer, not just once but possibly several times. So I wouldn’t have been at all surprised at this point if Statistics Canada had just gotten fed up and sent the cops to arrest us and fine us $500. I figured yesterday was the day, but God knows it could still happen. I always figured that if I went to jail because of Toula, it’d be because I’d gotten fed up with her myself and beaten her to death, but it’s starting to look like I won’t even have that satisfaction.
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