Friday, March 18, 2011

The Broken Windows

I think we were the first ones in the neighborhood it happened to.

It sounded like something fell down in the middle of the night.
And broke.
Something glass.


It woke me up, of course.  The only glass I could think of that might have fallen were bottles from my Coca Cola collection in the dining room.  They were all on a shelf that ran along the length of the room one foot from the ceiling.
So, I went there.  In the dark.

With the nightlight shining in the kitchen, I could not see anything out of place on the Coca Cola shelf.  But, there was an odd shimmer on the diningroom table. It covered the entire table, a nice even glaze.  In the dark, I figured it was soda.  It looked a lot like the time one of my Coke cans burst and sprayed all over the place. 

When I stepped toward the light switch, I nearly stepped on a cat toy.  We have light colored carpeting (who puts carpeting in a diningroom, I ask you?  Really.  This was going to be swell to get cola out of) so I saw the dark toy before taking a step.  Even with the lights out, it looked wrong enough to catch my attention.
"What the..." I bent over to see it closer. 
Then, I gasped loud enough to alarm The Husband a whole house away.
"It's a ROCK!"

I snapped on the light.
The table was not covered with soda.  It was covered with broken glass.
It was then I noticed the slats of two window shades were hanging askew.

I yanked them open to find three holes in two windows.

I went back and looked at the rock again.
Wasn't there supposed to be a note tied to it?  Where's the note?

We found three rocks altogether. 
One in the diningroom.  It accompanied a pock in the wall opposite the windows.
One in the kitchen that left a ding in the refrigerator.
And, one in the livingroom where it had rolled having bounced off of nothing.

The police came.  Filed a report that would lead nowhere.
We had witnessed nothing.  Seen no one running or driving away.
Why would we?  We thought something had fallen.
We also had no leads.  The boys had not been threatened at school.

The next morning we found a couple more dents in our siding where rocks had hit the house but missed the windows.
In the following days, several neighbors' houses were hit.  Big windows like ours.  No one injured. 
No one having any clues.  No one knew why they'd been targeted.

Rumors pointed to a family up the street whose father had been transferred out of state and left his teenaged children to finish out the school year.  But, incidents continued even after the house emptied and the For Sale went up in the yard.


That was two years ago.

I never did get to the point where I felt comfortable walking through the diningroom in the middle of the night.  It didn't matter that there was no reason to believe we'd be hit again; there'd been no reason for us to be hit period.
You wonder why.
You wonder who.
But mostly, you wonder why.


So, why do I bring up a two-year-old, unsolved, vandalism incident now?
Mainly, because Elder Son saw a car drive past our house today that looked similar to a car that used to park often in the house up the street where the unsupervised teens lived.  He wasn't sure about the car, he didn't recognize any of the occupants of the car, but he did know that he did not like the looks of them.  They looked sinister. 
On it's own, this means nothing.

Until you take into account what happened two months ago on the night Lily died.
The reason I didn't blog about this when it happened is because I just didn't want you to feel any worse for me than you already did then.  This part has nothing to do with Lily.  It was just bad timing.

I'd been sleeping when Army Sister called to tell me Lily was gone January 9th.  Our conversation had been short.
And though I could have fallen back asleep, it felt wrong to.  You just find out your sister died, and you roll over and go back to sleep?  That's wrong, right?
I got up and watched TV.
Younger Son, who is a light sleeper, heard me moving around.  After I told him why I was up, he asked if I wanted him to stay up with me.  I told him I would enjoy his company.
We were engrossed in the suspenseful conclusion of a movie when we hear the pops.
I turned toward Younger Son, just about to say, "Someone's shooting off firecrackers," when a thunderous bang seemed to shake the house.  We both jumped.
And then the diningroom windows shattered.

I hit the floor.  I was aware of Younger Son also on the floor across from me.
Because Lily had just died, I had carried my cell phone out to the livingroom with me in case any other family members called.  Any other night, it would have been at my bedside and not on the coffee table.
I grabbed my phone and dialed 911.
"I think someone is shooting at my house!"
When Younger Son moved to stand, I shouted at him to stay down.  "I don't feel safe here," he explained.  He crawled to the hallway.

The 911 operator wanted to know what we saw.  Are you kidding?  We saw nothing.  We were on the floor.  No way was I going to run to the window to look for someone running away.  I thought we were being shot at.  In fact, it was several moments before I realized the shooting had stopped.

I was still on the phone with 911 when The Husband turned on the kitchen light and announced, "I found a rock."
"Are you kidding me!!?"

The 911 operator immediately reported to responding police to relax, it wasn't gunshots.

Instantly, my fear hardened into cold blooded anger.
I wanted to hurt someone.
I would tell Younger Son later that had I realized someone was throwing rocks, I'd have run outside stocking-footed in my pajamas and chased the bugger down and beat him bloody.  Even now, I can taste the satisfaction that would have given me.  "Do you know (punch!) what kind of day (punch!) I have had!!??" (punch!punch!punch!)

Three more rocks had come through our windows.  Same as last time.
One rock punched a full hole through the drywall next to the refrigerator this time.
Outside we found two new pocks in the siding (Pop!Pop!), a big dent in the window frame (the house-shaking bang), and another rock that came to rest on top of the snow.

They will never find out who did it this time, either.


I will be the first to admit that I have some anger issues.
I also believe I have some good reasons.


Dani said...

Aw man that is just horrible! And unbelievably bad timing.

We had something similar happen at our old house. Someone threw a bowling ball sized boulder through our front window in the middle of the night. We were on vacation but my BIL was house sitting and called the cops and everything. We never found out who or why either.

I am 100% sure no one in your family did anything to instigate the incidents.

las794 said...

How bizarre! Hopefully, it was just some drunk who thought it would be funny. (Twice...?)

Thumper said...

sunuva... I had a comment and blogger ate it.

Short version: sucky people suck...

Bou said...

We are having similar problems in my neighborhood right now. So odd that I read about yours here. We have a problem with kids hiding on a hilltop in the dark and throwing rocks and coconuts at passing cars. My husband's car got hit two weeks ago and he reported it. We got a call from a neighbor giving us a Deputy's phone number for us to provide our information. He has an ongoing investigation since it's been escalated and they've moved from throwing rocks at cars in the dark to throwing enormous rocks through windows of homes.

I'm so sorry...

Teresa said...

Oh man. I am so with you. I would love to stomp them into stains on the sidewalk the jerks.

Lemon Stand said...

I really must be the only weird person whose first thought was to put up discretely hidden cameras outside my house the minute me AND neighbors were being vandalized and scared crap-less. (My second thought was to run outside in my PJs and beat the crap out of them... you don't want to know what thought number three involved... since I'm obviously not thinking normally when I feel me and my family threatened... but just so you can breath a sigh of relief? No. We do not own any fire arms... I do, however, own a solid ash Louisville slugger)

Roses said...

Dani: BIL wasn't camped out on the couch at the time, was he?
Amazing what people feel compelled to do when they are bored.

las794: I'd bet money it was some drunk who wasn't legal to drink.

Thumper: They do. They really do.

Bou: People die when kids drop crap on moving cars. It won't stop until someone is killed or someone chases down those kids and beats one up and then gets arrested for assault. Grrr!

Teresa: Come on over. We'll sit in the dark together and wait.

Lemon Stand: Oh, no. You are not alone on the hidden cameras.
There is a comedian who said he'd like to get a motion-activated car alarm that, when triggered, plays the voice of James Earl Jones saying, "Step away from the car and prepare to die!"
I want one of those.

Dani said...

I am amazed how many people have had the same thing happen. What is wrong with people that they thing destruction is amusing?

Roses said...

The amount of broken glass to clean up... and the places you keep finding it even weeks later.

The Gray Monk said...

These rocks are probably not being "thrown" - the damage you are describing suggests the use of a powerful slingshot type device, possibly more than one. It also sounds as if you have a group of thrill seekers who are using these to randlomly cause fear and damage.

There was a craze some years back for youths to ride in a pickup truck with a supply of rocks. One "pitched" a rock to a second who hit it at the target with a bat. In our case it was a cricket bat. The trajectory is a bit randomised, but anyone struck by the rocks they were using was likely to suffer a serious injury.

Your police better get serious about this before someone does get injured or worse ...

Moogie P said...

Words fail on this one. The very idea of some worthless punks getting their kicks in this fashion angers me beyond reason. And we DO own firearms!

Richmond said...

I will come and sit in the dark with you and Teresa. We'll *all* beat the punks bloody...