I Can’t Call This ‘Rear Window’ Because I Don’t Know Whch Side Of The Building That Is.

I swear, it always rings when I’ve got my hands full.

Slylock goes shopping in a Hopper Painting.

One improvised grocery juggling act climaxing in a daring hand-off to Max later, and I’m answering the phone. “Hello?”

Detective.

“Who is this?”

There’s crime going on. Right under your nose.

“Who is this and how did you get this number?”

I don’t like crime. I don’t like it at all. I don’t think you like crime either.

“You mean like prank-calling a police officer?”

I mean like stealing a car.

“What? Where? Hello? Hello?” The phone stays sullenly silent. Dammit.

Dere a problem, Sly?

“Not really a problem, I guess. We just need to figure out which of these cars is stolen, who called me, why they did, and how they know. Oh, and before whoever stole the car tries to drive it away, of course.”

Riiiiiiiight, well, I’m-a put dese in da trunk, lemme know how dat one goes.

Jerk.

Ok, better do this methodically. The first car’s far too nice to be stolen: nobody smart enough to steal it would be dumb enough to park it in this neighborhood. This isn’t it.

Could the caller have been talking about his own car? Maybe he was embaressed to admit he let it get stolen, and he’d just come forward later once he’s sure we’ve got it back. Like if a kid drops his candy, and can’t decide if getting it back is worth having everyone see him eat something off the floor. But why call me, then? Why not just leave an anonymous tip?

The next car has fifty different bumper stickers; ‘Martin in 08 – Elect a Warrior!,’ ‘Aslan Saves,’ ‘My Cub is an Honor Student’ at wherever, you know the sort. I doubt it’s this one. You wouldn’t want to leave anything on the car that could be easily recognized.

Maybe he’s just winding me up, like a cat standing inches away from an angry guard dog. He just wants to snicker at the thought of me chasing my tail around a parking lot. Possible, but why go with the this huge production when a simple ‘is your refrigerator running’ would more than get the job done?

The third car is completely nondescript. If I were gonna steal a car, I’d pick this one. I’ll come back to it.

Or maybe he really is just a good two-shoes–and what the hell is that even supposed to mean? as if bad people only wear one shoe?–who somehow knew that there was a stolen car parked here, happened to see a policeman, and so immediately called his private, unlisted cell phone.

Right.

That’s what’s wrong with all these theories. None of them explain why he called me, how he got my number.

My number. Which is what’s on the license plate of the fourth car, which completely isn’t my car.

I look up just in time to see someone slam shut a window in the apartments across the street. A window that would have been perfect for watching me.

He copied down my license number for fake plates. He knew my cell number. He must have staged this whole thing just… why? At least I know how he knew there was a stolen car here. He stole it.

I’m already dailing dispatch. “Roz? Yeah, it’s Sly. I-” I what? “I found a stolen car in a supermarket parking lot.”

The Final Word.

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