09 June 2010
The house should have been condemned.
In my junior year of college I lived with two other guys in a house that looked like Freddy Krueger's winter cottage. All the pipes leaked. None of the doors locked properly. The basement was infested with rats that would only rarely venture into the living quarters. And it was only one of two houses on a strange little block behind an abandoned shopping center.
Our neighbor, Don, was a kindly fellow who grew tomatoes the size of basketballs. He wore white overalls every day and never complained when we packed 100 drunk college students into our rickety little house. He was also the man who made a positive ID on the thief who stole $700 in cash and two "adult" magazines from our home.
I was walking home from class when I saw Don and one of my roommates, Jason, on the front lawn. The front door was open – it never locked - and they were looking around in disbelief. Apparently someone broke into the house, found our rent money in Jason's sock drawer, and fled on foot. Don caught a glimpse of the guy, but just a glimpse. As we waited for the cops to arrive we checked out the rest of the house.
My Sega Genesis was there, "Evander Holyfield's Real Deal Boxing" sitting safely in its place.
The cops dusted for prints and asked us some questions. They encouraged us to scour the home to make sure nothing else was taken. Then they left.
We scoured the home.
In my bedroom I noticed my mattress was ajar. I looked under it to find my two girlie magazines were gone. (OK, so I used to own some girlie mags. Check under your dude's bed and see what you find.)
The cops called and asked if we noticed anything else missing. I told them about the magazines. They did not snicker or comment. I assume they wrote it down on an incident report.
We spent the next few hours playing boxing on the Genesis. The game was brilliant for its time and was definitely the best boxing game on the Genesis. It looked great – cuts and sweat were done well – and it allowed you to create and train a boxer and take him to the top.
But we soon realized that boxing on TV wasn't going to sooth our anger over being robbed. We walked to the ATM machine and foolishly took out money that we should have put aside for the rent. We were going to party that night. As Jason and I walked back to the house we saw a police car waiting for us. The cop in the driver's side rolled down the window and looked at me.
"Did you say you were missing two magazines?"
"Can you identify the magazines, sir?"
Sure. It was Girls, Girls, Girls and Blonde Bombshells.
And then he opened a blue gym bag filled with cash and the two magazines. The man in the back of the cruiser – I didn't even notice him at first – looked down in shame. Based on Don's description they caught the dude before he boarded a bus. He had our cash on him as well as the girlie mags.
And we got every penny back.
By Victor Paul Alvarez