Late Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I were driving home in horrific traffic from a friend's princess birthday party. We had plans to meet my husband and son for pizza, but it was taking so long to get home that I called and told them to go on without us. Pigtail was passed out cold in her carseat anyway.
There's a wreck in Hollywood, my husband warned, that's part of the hold up.
It's fine, I said. We'll grab something to eat at home.
Time consuming traffic snarls are an LA hazard, you'll age yourself into deep wrinkles if you let it bother you. Unless you're late for something very important, it's best to roll with the occasional delays. Sometimes I don't even mind the forced break, the quiet of the car.
As I pulled past the worst of the clogged streets and into my neighborhood, I noticed the police cars. More than seemed necessary for a fender bender and the resulting horns honking. Turning onto my street, another popo, up a few houses another one.
I glanced in the rear view mirror at my sleeping child and wondered if I should call The Gorilla back. My garage door swung open and as I pulled my SUV into the space I saw the door to the house standing open.
Reverse. Right back out of the driveway and into the street, and my daughter stirred herself awake.
I found the closest police car now driving slowing through the hills. We rolled down windows and I calmly asked what was going on and should I be concerned that my door was standing open?
The wreck, she explained. One of the drivers fled the scene on foot. She's somewhere around here.
The pizza joint was sounding mighty appealing right now.
Who's around where? My daughter asked from the back, disoriented.
The two cops followed me back to my house and parked in the middle of the street with their lights going. Was the garage door open when you arrived, they asked?
No, I answered, realizing immediately that it would be impossible for one to enter the house through this door without first entering the closed garage. I felt a little foolish. But I watch Dateline. Weirder things have happened.
We're going to check it out, they said with authority, confirming that no one else was home. I kept Pigtail strapped into the car and chatted with her lightly while ringing her dad.
Oh that was me, The Gorilla said with a mouthful of cheese. I think I left the door open on accident. You called the cops?
Well I didn't call them, I said, wondering why I was the one feeling apologetic, conveniently they were canvassing the neighborhood for a fugitive.
We hung up, and I walked into the house carefully, calling out Excuse Me in my own kitchen. Face to face with a man in uniform in my dining room, I explained what my husband said. Mid sentence, my eyes caught the gun in his hand and I trailed off.
I froze, staring at the hand gun pointed downward at the brown vine-y rug that I hate and hope to replace soon. In case I ever worried that instinct or reflexes would save me in a shocking moment, now I know they would not. I blinked four times in the direction of his hand.
Why don't you wait in the garage, he said nicely.
I backed away and went right back to the car, where Pigtail was closely examining a sticker book from the birthday party. I willed myself to focus on the stickers and not on the possible scenarios going down in my pink living room.
A few minutes later, the two policemen emerged from the house. The pretty female said, You have a beautiful home. There were no firearms in site.
I'm sorry it was sort of messy, I replied. It was the first thing that came to mind.
Always keep your home clean enough for a police raid.
They gave us the all clear and cheerfully suggested we keep on the look out for suspicious looking people roaming the streets.
In Hollywood, suspicious looking people are part of the landscape.