Yesterday afternoon I was, as usual, working from my office upstairs. Pam and the girls were on a walk around the neighborhood, so it was just me in the house. The room had gotten a bit stuffy, so I opened a window to the front of the house for some fresh air. That’s how I heard them.
My house is on a cul-de-sac and there aren’t a lot of kids. It’s pretty quiet, usually. It was pretty cold yesterday, too, so that cut down on the joggers who come through periodically. I hadn’t heard anything outside for a while, so the voices coming from my lawn caught my attention. I got up and went to my window to see if I needed to avoid some salesmen orÂ Jehovah’sÂ Witnesses or something.
It turned out to be a kid. He was standing at the far end of my driveway talking to some others I couldn’t see beside my house. They were talking about something I couldn’t quite make out, but I did hear one of them say they had about an hour to kill. I assumed they were using my lawn as a shortcut to get into the neighborhood on their way back home. But it seemed odd that the others were taking so long to come into my view. And the laughter I heard started worrying me.
It wasn’t an evil laugh or anything. It’s just that I’d heard that teenage laughter before. I’d laughed that teenage laughter before. It was light, but with aÂ mischievousÂ bent to it. There was something conspiratorial about it. At the very least they were thinking of doing something that probably wasn’t the brightest idea, and they were going to do it soon. So I watched.
I was going to go downstairs and “happen upon them” but I figured I’d miss it by the time I put my shoes on and got outside. I was right. A couple of seconds later, I saw it, and I was shocked.
The remaining two teens came around the corner of my house carrying a hugeÂ chunk of ice. At least 5 inches thick and 3 feet around, this was a heavy chunk of ice that could do some damage. And they were headed toward my car.
I don’t know if they really intended to throw the ice at my car or not – or even if they could really throw something that heavy – but it was definitely time to act. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much I couldÂ do from my perch other than scare them, so I did. With all the authority and depth I could muster I yelled “Hey!”
“Hey!” is not a really articulate or well-reasoned argument, but in forcefully breaking the relative silence it had the intended effect. It scared the pants off them for a few seconds. When they panicked, the ice dropped onto the driveway and shattered. I could almost see the blood drain from the kid at the end of the driveway as he physically recoiled.
They ran headlong across my neighbor’s yard (one of them through a bush) still laughing that teenage laugh – this time laced with profanity – and escaped. Or at least they would have if they weren’t just stupid teenagers.
Here’s a hint for people trying to get away from someone: go somewhere they can’t see you, and change direction.
Maybe it’s a sign of the decline of America that kids these days aren’t even smart enough to escape properly from a guy who isn’t fully dressed and can’t immediately follow them.
But for that story, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.