Life

The Stranger

March 14, 2017

Saturday, 2:30 pm.

There’s a dude sitting outside my house in a white Mercedes. He doesn’t appear to be homeless, broken down, casing the neighborhood or waiting for anyone. He’s just sitting there. Some of the time he’s on the phone. No big deal. Yet.

3:15.

I leave to go to CVS where there is of course a mix-up with my prescription. While they’re figuring it out I go get three of those oversized Arizona drinks you usually see at the gas station and gripe to myself that no one ever has the orange flavor, which is true. Mango, yes. Orange, no. Orange is the best. Also I get some cold and sinus stuff for Mauro, who is sick, the behind-the-counter kind that you have to give your driver’s licence for because people use it to make meth.

3:30.

I get home. The guy is still sitting there. As I pull up in front of my house I’m blaring Prince and thinking, if he is casing us out, maybe he’ll leave our house alone because I’m cool enough to dig Prince. I get a pretty good look at him on my way in the house. He looks like Dave Chappelle which makes me wonder if he’s funny. But the most disturbing part is the fact that the car has paper plates. In other words, no plates. 

6:30.

Annnd, he’s still there. Or at least the car without plates is. It’s getting dark now and I can’t tell if he’s in it. Mauro dares to go outside and take a photo which seems really stupid because he has to use the flash and if the guy is in his car now he knows we’re on to him.

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By now we’ve watched three Law & Order SVU’s in a row—because again, Mauro is sick and that’s what you do when you’re sick—and I’m officially getting nervous because people commit crimes all the time that are “especially heinous” and I’m not up for getting raped and tortured.

Later that night.

The car is still there but I’ve chosen not to worry about it because we’re watching UFC. One fight is the bloodiest mess I’ve ever seen thanks to a head butt. Another guy knocks someone out with a flying knee to the face. Kelvin what’s-his-name beats Vitor Belfort in the first round and says he wants to fight Anderson Silva next, who is my favorite UFC fighter along with Cris Cyborg who is the scariest looking female on earth. We finally go to sleep at 2-ish after I make sure all the windows are locked.

Sunday, 9:30am (which is really 8:30am because today we turn the clocks ahead).

I wake up and immediately look outside to see the car is still there and the guy is in it. Mauro seems oddly unconcerned. I call my friend/neighbor Doreen across the street to ask her if she has noticed someone has been sitting there for almost a day now but she doesn’t answer. Then I decide enough fucking around and call the police because it’s all gotten very weird. By the time they come he’s gotten out of his car and walked away to go who knows where. Mauro says, “He probably has a friend who lives in the neighborhood.” I tell him “that makes no sense” and that this reminds me of the Cheers episode where there’s a mysterious guy just sitting there at the table next to the door for hours on end drinking coffee and staring at everyone and taking notes while they all get increasingly uncomfortable and highly suspicious. Woody goes over to talk to him and the guy yells at him to go away. When Sam finally goes to confront him Diane says it’s her friend and that she actually hired him as an experiment for her psychology class to see how everyone would react with a stranger in the midst. I lie in bed with coffee and watch it. Then I watch my favorite Cheers episode where Sam loans his baseball friend his lucky bottle cap, after which he can’t do his trick where he slides the glass of beer around the corner of the bar. Ends up it’s the cap from the last bottle of beer he ever drank. Then his stupid friend loses it and Sam gets so upset he wants to drink.

11:50.

I leave to go teach yoga after talking to Doreen who is appropriately freaked out. When I get there I tell everyone about the creepy guy in the car with no plates.

2:00.

I come out of yoga to a text from Doreen saying the guy took off with someone in another car with no plates. What. The. Fuck. Also the police said we should have “called faster” and that it’s definitely suspicious.

3:45.

I’m home discussing the situation with Mauro when I see the guy come back. So I text Doreen, “He’s back.” We both call the police. An hour later they’re not here and we both call again. We know they have plenty of criminals to nab but we are not OK with this because it’s clearly fishy. Meanwhile the guy has been busy talking on the phone in his car, sleeping and eating a banana. Mauro tells me he first saw him at 11:00 the morning before which means he’s been out there, like, FOUR HOURS longer than I thought. Then he says “it’s not like he’s hiding” because he’s also been sitting on his trunk. I have to admit he has a point but then again maybe that’s his M.O. Mauro wants to go out there and say something but I don’t let him. Because you never know.

5:00.

The guy leaves again and goes walking up the street where we assume he’s looking for a bathroom. Or he has a police scanner because that’s right when the police show up. They run the VIN and find out the registration is expired and write him a ticket. Mauro and our friend/neighbor Brett who was recently on Wheel of Fortune keep watch up the street in case he comes back. WHICH HE DOES. All the neighbors are out there and two police cars and the guy saunters up to the car while we all sort of hide behind a tree as if that will make it less obvious that the white people called the police on him. They have a brief talk and even though I can’t tell much from my position behind the tree the guy seems very cooperative. Ends up he says he broke down and his friend lives around the corner. Then he gets in his car and drives away. Even though I never once saw him fixing anything in his car. Hmm.

And that was my entire weekend.

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