The following took place almost five years ago. Every now and then, I think about it. And now, you have to, too.
It is 6:10 in the morning.
This used to be an impossible time of day for me, by the way; but since I’ve started going to bed, oh, only moments after supper, I find I’m far more rested in the morning.
I am up, I am entirely coherent, and by golly, I’m dressed.
And I am going to answer the front door.
Not only is someone ringing my doorbell, but they’re being insistent about it as well.
I trot down the stairs to the first-floor porch.
A disheveled woman with eyes like poached eggs and MC Hammer’s pants is slapping the glass on the door with her open palm.
I open the door.
I shake my head in irritated amusement. “Yes! Yes!”
“I need you to call the cops.” Miss Porch momentarily loses her grip. “Police!” she shouts. “Police!”
“Hey, now. Wait,” I say. “Why am I calling the cops? Are you okay?” I stick my head out the front door, look up and then down the street for the fire/car accident/alien invasion that has sparked this excitement.
“Oh, I’m fine, ma’am. I’m fine. But I been illegally dropped off.”
I am frowning in concentration, further exasperating the wrinkles in my forehead, when Willie comes flying down the steps. I consciously smooth my brow.
“What now?” he says, zipping his pants. “What’s going on now?”
I grin up at him. “This woman here,” I say, “has been illegally dropped off.”
Willie comes to a full stop. “She –“
“Yup,” I say. “Dropped off. Illegally.”
He frowns and hands me his phone.
I turn back to the woman on the porch. “So they dropped you off?”
She nods, briskly. Her eyes glitter in the pre-dawn light of a late autumn morning. “Yes, ma’am? In the alley.”
“You were in the alley?”
She nods again. “They kicked me out!”
She abruptly stops. We are all made aware of how very quiet the early morning is.
“Were you,” I say, “in the alley all night? Smoking crack?”
Amazingly, she nods. “And then they kicked me out! I been dropped off illegally!”
I press 9, then the 1. “So I’ll call the cops,” I say, looking at the screen, “and tell them that you and your friends were smoking crack in the alley and then you guys started fighting and they kicked you out.” I look up at her. “What color was the vehicle again?”
Miss Porch takes a step backward. “I believe I will just be on my way,” she says.
Willie waves. “Have a good day,” he calls.