The following bit of make-believe was inspired by the things I have been reading in the news.
It started out as just another workday for Tom Armstrong. He arose at the usual time, showered, shaved, combed his hair, brushed his teeth and got dressed for work. He headed down the stairs for his daily blood pressure pill with OJ. As usual, heâ€™d buy coffee at the nearby convenience store and sip it during the forty-minute drive to the office.
When he reached the bottom of the stairs, he turned toward the dining room, and he saw a rather dirty looking stranger sitting at his dining room table drinking a cup of coffee and reading a foreign language newspaper. The man appeared to be in his late twenties and was in need of a shave. And, he was drinking his coffee from Tomâ€™s favorite weekend coffee cup.
The man looked up from the newspaper and said, â€œGood morning,â€ and Tom stopped dead in his tracks, simultaneously frightened and angry.
Tom: â€œWho the hell are you, and what are you doing in my house?â€
Hector: â€œMy nameâ€™s Hector. Thereâ€™s some coffee left. You want some?â€
Tom: â€œHow did you get in here?â€
Hector: â€œI was going to come in the front door, but youâ€™ve got a good lock on it, so I went around the back. Man, you need a better lock on that door.â€
Tom: â€œYou broke into my goddamned house!â€
Hector: â€œYep. Sure did, Bro.â€
Tom: â€œWell, get the fuck out â€“ NOW!â€
Hector: â€œSorry, Bro. We plan on staying.â€
Tom: â€œWhat do mean â€™weâ€™?â€
At that point, a very pregnant equally grubby-looking, overweight woman entered the dining room from the kitchen. She was eating a sandwich.
Hector: â€œThis is my girlfriend, Maria. Maria, this is Tom Armstrong.â€
Tom: â€œHow do you know my name?â€
Hector: â€œI read your mail, Bro. You pay some pretty hefty property tax here, Tom. Iâ€™m not surprised; itâ€™s a nice place. By the way, your next quarterly payment was due a week ago. You donâ€™t want to fall behind on that one.â€
Maria: â€œHey, donâ€™t you have any skim milk? I had to drink whole milk, and Iâ€™ not supposed to drink whole milk. You didnâ€™t even have the two percent kind.â€
Tom: â€œListen, I donâ€™t give a shit who you are, where you came from, or what kind of milk youâ€™re supposed drink. I do give a major shit that you broke into my goddamned house, and I want you to leave now.
Hector: â€œSorry, Bro. I already told you: weâ€™re staying. We were living in a shitty place, and, what with Maria being pregnant and all, we decided it was time to move to find a better life, so we came here. Weâ€™ve already put our stuff in the downstairs bedroom. Did I mention that Mariaâ€™s having twins?â€
Tom: â€œLook, I donâ€™t care if Mariaâ€™s having a frigginâ€™ litter of kittens. You canâ€™t just break into someoneâ€™s house and refuse to leave. Now, get the hell out of here â€“ both of you!â€
Hector: â€œNo way, Tom. In fact, on the way here, we stopped at the emergency room to have Maria looked at and to make arrangements for the birth of the twins. The doctor and the hospital will be sending you the bill.â€
Maria: â€œHey Tom. I have a shopping list here for you. You can stop off at the supermarket on your way home from work today to pick this stuff up. I need lots of fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and some nice chicken breasts. Oh, and pick up a half gallon of skim milk. I told you I canâ€™t drink that shit you have. Iâ€™ve checked your kitchen, and you donâ€™t have the kinds of things Hector and I like to eat. Iâ€™ll give you another list tomorrow.â€
Hector: â€œOh, and while your shopping, donâ€™t forget to stop at the store next to the supermarket and pick me up a large bottle of Tequila. Nothing fancy. Jose Cuervo will do. That bourbon you have just doesnâ€™t do it for me, Bro.â€
Tom: â€œThe hospital and the doctor are sending me bills for your medical care? You want me to buy you groceries? You two are crazy.â€
Hector: â€œWeâ€™ll also be needing some new clothes, but we can talk about that when you get home from work. Oh, and tomorrow night, try to get home from work a little early, because I have to borrow your car. Maria and I are going to visit some friends and we donâ€™t have a car.â€
Tom: â€œYouâ€™re out of your goddamned mind! Thatâ€™s it. If you two sorry-asses are not out of this house in one minute, Iâ€™m calling the cops.â€
Hector: â€œCops? Heh! Go ahead, Bro â€“ call â€˜em.â€
Tom: â€œOK, assholes. Iâ€™ll do just that. Theyâ€™ll take you both out of here in cuffs.â€
Tom dials the phone, while Hector returns to reading the newspaper and Maria makes another sandwich.
Fitzsimmons: â€œPolice department. This is Sergeant Fitzsimmons. How can I help you?â€
Tom: â€œSergeant Fitzsimmons, this is Tom Armstrong. I live on 423 Oakwood Way, and I want to report a breaking and entering.â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œA break-in? When did this happen, Mr. Armstrong?â€
Tom: â€œSome time early this morning. They broke in through the back door?â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œYou said â€™theyâ€™. Did you get a look at the perpetrators?â€
Tom: â€œHell yeah, I got a look at them. Theyâ€™re here now!â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œOh â€¦ Are they demanding that you buy them groceries and stuff like that?â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œYep. Thatâ€™s what I figured.â€
Tom: â€œWhat do you mean, that what you figured? These criminals broke into my goddamned house. Send a car over here right now to arrest them.â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œIâ€™m afraid we canâ€™t do that, Mr. Armstrong.â€
Tom: â€œDidnâ€™t you hear what I said? These people broke into my house! Isnâ€™t that illegal?â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œThe thing is, Mr. Armstrong, something must be going on. We have had hundreds of incidents just like this over the past week.â€
Tom: â€œI donâ€™t give a shit. I want them out of my house.â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œIt is just not realistic for us to arrest hundreds of people all over town. We donâ€™t have the manpower to do that. Maybe you can put â€˜em to work and sort of let them earn their keep. How about having them cut your lawn and take care of your gardening? Quite a few people are doing that.â€
Tom: â€œAre you out of your goddamned mind? The kid next door cuts my lawn, and my friend brother-in-law does my gardening.â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œYeah, but these two will do it cheaper.â€
Tom: â€œDo you understand me? These people are in my house illegally. Waddya say I go upstairs, get my gun and shoot these two trespassers?â€
Fitzsimmons: â€œOh, I would not advise that, Mr. Armstrong, particularly if they are not threatening you with bodily harm.â€
Tom: â€œThis is bullshit!â€
Tom slams the receiver down, and Hector looks up from his newspaper.
Hector: â€œSo what did he say?â€
Tom: â€œHe said that there are hundreds of people in town who broke into houses just like you two assholes broke into mine.â€
Hector: â€œYouâ€™re being pretty insensitive, Bro. Maria and me, we have our civil rights, you know.â€
Tom: â€œCivil rights, my ass. You broke into my house. Thatâ€™s illegal, and I want you and your pregnant girlfriend the hell out of here!â€
Hector: â€œYouâ€™re going to be late for work, Tom. You had best be going. Donâ€™t forget the groceries and tequila on your way home. While youâ€™re at work, Iâ€™ll start moving the stuff out of your computer room. I figure that would be a great room for the twins.â€