City Paper is not for tourists
OK. I know my shiny black Vespa screams, “Kick me! I’m a yuppie!” I swear I’m not that. More like, eco/budget-conscious commuter. And I’m just bad with cars. They always end up filled to the brim with newspapers, coffee cups, and Egg McMuffin wrappers.
Still, I wasn’t expecting this welcome back to the East Coast serenade. Riding home from work late last night, I got a weird pass-by from a car full of stoner-looking dudes with long braids or dreads. I thought, Hmm. Weird guys. They’ll either taunt me or try to hit on me. Then they passed me, nothing happened and I pulled onto my sidewalk and locked my scooter to the pole. I was just putting my helmet in my little trunk thing when one of the kids (I’m assuming it was one of them) came up and asked me softly for my keys. I looked up, confused, and he directed my attention to the slim, plastic-looking gun in his hand. I gave him my keys.
As the boy—-he looked 16—-fumbled with the lock, I wandered into the middle of the street. I suppose I should have run. But he had all my keys. And I really didn’t want to lose my ride. The kid kept poking the lock with my various keys (bike keys, house keys, three different scooter keys, unknown keys to who knows what). Then he said, “How do you unlock this thing?” Instead of bending down to help him, I said, exasperated, “Why are you doing this to me? I am a nice person.” He tossed the keys to the ground, said something along the lines of “fuck it,” and left. I went into my house, cried a little, called a friend who told me to call the police and then called the police.
Officers arrived within minutes. Then a real-life detective. (When he arrived, I had a glass of whiskey in my hand.) In the course of the night, my 4th District protectors stopped two cars matching the description of my weird drive-by dudes. The first one was actually a chase (they called it a pursuit), and the guy turned out to not be my guy but he did have a warrant. So, sucks for him. To my surprise, the police also sent a specialist to dust my Vespa for prints. His favorite CSI is the Miami edition. They all seemed to take my case very seriously, even though even I know there’s little chance the kid will ever get caught or punished.
Just yesterday, I was telling a friend how I am more scared of kids than the street corner hustlers who just want me to not interrupt their business. Still true. Now I may have been stupid to not just run, but it’s kind of comforting to know that sometimes the kids respond to a floundering plea for mercy.