A Day at the Courthouse


This story has multiple pages. Please follow the numbers at the bottom.


On the day before Christmas two years ago, I was alone in my house except for my son who was home for the holidays. It was around ten in the morning. My wife was at work and my son was in the study surfing the internet or answering e-mail or something. I had a leisurely breakfast and had taken almost an hour and half to read the morning paper. I finally got off the chair and went upstairs to do some chores.

I straightened the sheets on our bed and puffed up the pillows. As I was dusting the wrinkles on the blanket, I heard a noise outside like someone driving a car with a flat tire. Thumpety thump, Thumpety thump. The weather was clear and there was no construction going on in the neighborhood to have nails or other hazards on the street. I was going to ignore it, but then got curious. I had heard stories of houses being burglarized during holidays and hoped that none of my neighbor’s houses, or mine for that matter, was hit.

I peeped through the bedroom window blinds by raising the wooden slats with two fingers. There indeed, was a midsize car with two flat tires. It had stopped right across from my driveway. I saw one kid come out then another and then two others —four in all. They all appeared to be teenagers. Are these Kids on alcohol? Drugs? That was the first thing that crossed my mind. Soon after a black pickup came and stopped right behind them. Thinking some Good Samaritan helping the kids, I closed the blinds and resumed my chores. I thought it best not to get involved. A while later when there was more commotion and I heard people talking, I looked through the blinds again. Two of my neighbors had come out and were just observing the scene with folded hands. What were they doing? Why were they just watching the scene without doing anything about it? Then I saw the man in the truck point to my house and walk over to my lawn. Why was he doing that? Did something happen to my house? I rushed downstairs, pulled my winter jacket over my shoulder, slipped into the winter boots and rushed out. A thought crossed my mind that perhaps they left some of their belongings on my lawn and wanted to retrieve them.

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