I will admit that I have always longed to dial those three magic numbers on the phone that make ambulances, fire trucks, and police show up on your front lawn. There’s a mysterious allure to it, calling someone out to help you, knowing someone will always come.
But you don’t think about the events that lead up to that call in your daydreaming, not really. You vaguely realize that something bad will have to happen, either to you or someone nearby, to make the call viable, to give you reason. And unless some bad thing has happened to you, then you have very little notion about the feelings of anger, frustration, fear, and adrenaline that such an emergency can bring to you.
September 10th, 2013. 1:13
I sang along to my mp3, walking through the kitchen as my brother finished lunch while watching an anime. Out the small, curtained kitchen window I saw an old white van pull into our dirt and gravel drive way. Shrugging it off, I imagined that they were just your regular door-to-door salesmen. I ignored them when they knocked, shutting up the dog and telling my kid brother to turn off his anime so we could pretend we weren’t home.
Our parents weren’t home and we commenced our usual ‘duck-and-cover’ routine, turn off the T.V., shut up the dog, whisper, and I had watch out the kitchen window, which we could look through without being spotted.
I saw the Asian man walk away in his gray t-shirt, peeking back at the house a few times over his shoulder. My stomach told me something was off, but my brain had yet to catch on. Then I saw another small, wiry Asian man in a bright blue t-shirt walk by with a chain saw, towards their van.
Again, my gut told me something was off, I started to get curious, peering out the window. But recently a huge windstorm had knocked huge branches off our trees, and I considered the possibility that they were just looking for work by cutting the branches up with their chainsaw.
But no. The grey-shirted man rolled something-a lawn mower?-towards their van. I looked away a moment to check on my brother. At next look, they were lifting the rototiller up into the back of their van, hurriedly. And that was quite a feet of strength for two men to handle. The 150+ machine was difficult to life with only two, and so fast.
That was when I realized we were being robbed. I threw the door open, slammer the screen door so hard it hit the house, and yelled in my meanest voice,
“HEY! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!”
They’re expressions brought pleasure to me only later. There are so many options for describing them: deer in the headlights, escaped convicts, “Oh shit”. . .
They instantly dropped the rototiller, one ran to the driver’s door and started the engine while the other just hopped into the back of the van and pulled the hatch down over it. Meanwhile I ran in, grabbed the phone, and dialed 911. For a split second I thought, “I need to call my mom. . .” And nearly hung up, trying to catch the license plate as the crooks tore off out of our driveway and raced down the road.
“911, what is your emergency?”
At this point I was shaking, barefoot on the porch while my little brother stood in the doorway, looking frightened.
“Um, I’m sorry ma’am, but two guys just came to our house and stole my father’s chain saw and tried to steal his rototiller. They just took off down the road.” My voice shook.
The dispatcher replied calmly, “What did the car look like?”
“Um, a white van. I think the first three letters of the license plate were ZL8.” I said, hands shaking. The front door stood open as I tried to see if they would come back.
“Did you see what kind of plate it was?”
“Uh, yeah, it was a Washington plate.”
“Can you give me a description of the men?”
“Two Asian men. Me and my brother our home alone, our parents aren’t here. . .”
“Okay, and how old are you?”
“Fifteen.” My heart pounded.
“And your brother?”
“What were they wearing?”
“Um, one had a blue t shirt and the other a gray t shirt, they were both in jeans. They had crew cuts and everything.” I walked into the kitchen, running a hand through my hair.
“Okay, you’re not gonna hear from me for a second.” She said as she put me on hold and the line went blank.
I turned to my brother, “Ronny, take my phone and call mom.” I told him, shakily handing him my cell phone while the dispatcher came on the phone again,
“Did you see which direction they went?”
“Uh, no. We’re on Jefferson Road in Mandaroy and I just saw them take off for the highway.”
“Okay, I need to put you on hold for a sec.” She told me calmly. The phone went dead again, and I went into my brother’s room to make sure he was calling my mom. He was, holding the phone to his ear.
“Give me the phone.” I told him.
He continued talking.
“Give me the phone.” I stressed, wanting to talk to mom before dispatch came back on. He handed me the cell and my anime phone charms jangled,
“Hey mom, I called the cops.” I was shaky, hoping it had been the right thing to do.
“Okay, okay, good. I’ll be right out.” My mom replied, sounding as scared as I. I heard her tell my grandfather “We got robbed.” I hung up with the reassurance that we would talk again soon. Dispatch came back online,
“Okay,” The dispatcher said, “I dispatched two deputies out there, they’ll be there shortly.”
“Okay.” I said, still trembling,
“Alright, you did really good on here.” She told me. “They’ll be right out.”
We exchanged good byes, I hung up, and then she did.
I walked outside, looking to see if they had grabbed anything else than what I had seen. No, our bikes were all still there. In one pocket I had my cellphone in case my parents called, and the other the land line in case dispatch called back.
After several calls between my mom and my dad, I grabbed my brother and walked to each of our neighbors’ houses, looking for a place to stay should the college age delinquents come back. Nobody was home, of course. We deadbolted our door, and waited until two sherif cars stopped in front of our house. As we waited, we made a bet about who would get there faster: the cops or our mom.
I opened the door after the cop knocked, and he asked me to step outside. We walked through what happened again, now I was more or less calm.
“Can you walk me through what happened?” He asked me. I told him. He opened his notebook and I gave him more information. His partner had his hands in his pockets, sunglasses on. The officer talking to me’s name was embroidered on his chest. Crisco.
“What kind of chainsaw was it?”
“A, um, a gray one I think.” I looked up and saw my dad speeding down the road faster than the cops had. “That’s my dad, he can tell you.” The officer’s partner left after my dad arrived.
After much more questioning, cussing at wasps by the deputy, and getting the contact info for the officer, he left with promises to stir something up for us, but our hopes weren’t high for retrieving our two-hundred-dollar chainsaw.
But we were all right, and I had finally got the chance to dial 911.
This is a true story that happened earlier today. The names of the town, street, and officers have been changed.