Thursday, August 26, 2010

The morning I caught him in the act.

My bike was stolen yesterday.

For the time being, no more crisp morning rides along Puget Sound as the rising sun slowly illuminates the Olympic Mountains. No more endorphin rushes after grinding up those steep West Seattle hills. And, at least temporarily, no more strutting around the house in my spandex for at least four hours after the ride, looking and feeling firm-ish.

It happened so anticlimactically. The spot my bike occupied was empty; my helmet lay on the ground. Our minds work in certain patterns when confronted with sudden loss—denial (I must have forgotten that I stored it safely in the bushes yesterday), anger (If I ever find that bastard, I'll water board him) and finally, fantasy (I'm going to spin a yarn about catching him in the act.). For all of you who've been robbed, broken into, burglarized or violated, this fantasy dramatization from a parallel universe is for you:

Tim awoke an hour earlier that morning, eager to get a jump start on his busy week. He had the ulterior motive of arriving at work to use the restroom before the new guy, whom his co-workers had already dubbed, "The Crop Duster," could christen it for the day.

Sensing an odd energy as he slowly opened the gate and walked into his backyard, Tim instantly spotted the door to the bike shed standing wide open. His mind hadn't yet grasped the implications of the image when a male figure burst out of the shed on Tim's bike, his legs wildly pumping the pedals with their adrenal advantage.

The figure burst out from the shadow of the pear tree as Tim's primitive monkey brain finally engaged to match the intruder's state of arousal. As the startled rider attempted to blow past him, Tim reflexively reached out and grabbed.  He was unsure of what his hand clutched, but Tim latched onto the sinewy flesh with the conviction of a newborn calf to the teat.

A subtle release of tension against Tim's grip followed an awkward tearing sound, and the thief instantly jerked backward, flying from the bicycle and sprawling on the concrete below Tim.

The ear was nearly severed.

Tim bent down. His hand still held the loose flesh, and his knee rested on the assailant's sternum. "If you move as much as an eyelid, I'll show you your ear," Tim commanded, in his best Dirty Harry whisper. "No simpler than popping a loose front tooth from a five-year-old's mouth.

"And no talking. I'm going to assume that you're experiencing a bit of shock, just as I did upon discovering your filthy self aboard my sweet, 24-speed coronary preventer. So any amount of exertion will only increase your blood pressure, accelerating the blood loss out of your ear hole."

Tim's wife had heard the commotion, dashed to the scene and call 9-1-1. A police cruiser and aid car arrived within minutes, while Tim's knee solidified its relationship with the criminal's chest. An emergency medical technician hurried to the sprawling man and took possession of the nearly detached ear . As she bent down, her foot slid slightly on the bloody asphalt and pulled the ear completely off. Fortunately for the felon, the paramedics succeeded in affixing a protective mesh screen over the ear chasm, thereby preventing additional wasps from entering through the open wound. The perpetrator was then stabilized, strapped down and transported to the trauma center.

"Well, what can I say? Nice work." Sergeant Lynn Johnsonville of the Seattle Police department surveyed the scene and glanced back at Tim. "We've been looking for this guy for months. Seems like every cop in the Southwest Precinct wanted a piece of this guy, and as it turns out, you got one."

The two nearly doubled over in laughter as the local news van pulled into the driveway.


  1. I'm REALLY hoping that actually happened, because you are my hero right now.

  2. Funny that your helmet would be spared, as if the perp were saying, "Hey, I'm a thief, but I'm not a MONSTER!"

    I met a guy with no nose---he covered the hole with a taped-on rubber nose, no lie. He musta got caught stealing something really good...could this have been more of your crime-stopping expertise? Hmmm...mild-mannered suburban dad by day...