Golf Clubs and Arson

Yesterday afternoon I was working in my office and I had the window open because it was damn hot. As I was trying to write, I started to hear an irregular thumping sound coming from the alley behind my house. I went into the yard and looked through the fence. Several teenagers were in the alley, though one was already taking off when I got there. One of the others was standing at the neighbor’s fence but his back was to me so I couldn’t see what he was doing. He then jumps back and starts freaking out and I soon see why: genius has lit the fence on fire. Now my neighbors had lined their fence with a lattice of sticks (either for aesthetic reasons or to keep out cats, I’m not sure which). These sticks had been baking in the sun all summer long and they were bone dry, so they went up in flames instantly. I walk up to the alley and the kid who started the fire sees me and says, “I really need a cup of water!”

I go to my yard, find a bucket, and fill it up a third of the way as the kid continues to freak out. I hand him the bucket and then I try to get my garden hose out to the alley so I can spray the fire directly. The neighbor kid Mark comes around from the other side with his hose and we get the fire out before the whole fence goes up. As we’re doing so, the kids who had been in the alley to begin with all take off.

I now have a chance to take in the scene. There are two road flares burning next to my neighbor’s garage, the remnants of an old first aid kit are scattered in the alley, and a set of golf clubs stands there incongruously. What the hell? Then I notice there are golf balls at the end of the alley, clustered around our old car (the one that’s been broken down for a year and a half). Looking closer, I see the car has some new dents in. The thumps I heard in my office were the sounds of golf balls impacting on our car. Fantastic! Amazingly, they somehow managed to avoid hitting the windows.

Mark says he doesn’t know the hooligans, but I’m a bit dubious about that. I take the golf clubs as evidence and bring them into my house. I then call “Action Force One”, the neighborhood rent-a-cops whose name sounds like a bad Saturday Morning Cartoon. I explain what happened and the operator asks me if the fence was damaged. I say, “Well yeah, it was on fire.” She replies, “Gee, I guess that was a stupid question.” I can only agree. The operator says they’ll send someone by and then advises me to call the actual cops, which I do. They are very busy and can’t send anyone by for at least an hour.

Twenty minutes later Action Force One (“Now with Super Sloth!”) shows up at the door. I show them the alley and explain what happened. They are entirely clueless and soon depart. An hour later the cops show up. I tell them the story and give them my theory. Basically, that these teenage kids got into someone’s garage and stole the road flares and golf clubs. They then took them out to have some fun. The cops ask me some questions and take some notes. I tell them I have the golf clubs if they want to see them but they are not interested at first. I say, “Well, they do have tags on them, so I thought you might want to look at them.”

“Tags?” the friendlier cop says.

“Yes, like name tags. They say the clubs belong to a Fay Kessler.” I guess I’ve just watched way too many cop shows, but I thought this would be useful info for them.

One cop agrees to come in to look the golf clubs over. Then he says, “Well, we could take these with us, but they’d probably just sit at the station until they were eventually auctioned off. Or you could keep them here, in case someone shows up.”

Since they apparently had no interest in tracking down the owner I opted to keep them. I’m going to see if I can find a family by that name in the neighborhood. In the meantime, there are golf clubs in my house, which I can assure you is a first.

So late this afternoon I had to go downtown to FedEx some proofs back to the printer. While I was gone, Nicole and Kate got home from their trip to TN. I got a call from Nicole soon after. She had two questions. Where was I and why the hell were there golf clubs in the kitchen?

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