lots more drama.
© 1998 Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>

In the fullness of time, the abandoned bank's parking lot was bought by a parking lot company, who put up a pay-box and produced real employees rather than the charming homeless simulations with which we had been blessed until then.

The level of drama in the parking lot dropped off significantly after that; since the lot was no longer free, it tended to be used less frequently, resulting in fewer visible displays of drunkenness.

Then one night, some folks came over to watch some movies, and between the first feature and the second, Randy said, ``I think someone is stealing that car!''

We all rushed over to the window to see, and sure enough, that's what it looked like: four hispanic hip-hop boys in baggy pants were loitering around a car, sliding a slim-jim into the door.

As Kristen was on the phone to 911, a police car making its rounds drove by -- and then it turned into the parking lot! We could hear Kristen on the phone trying to explain to the operator the exact location of the parking lot, while half a dozen voices tried to yell the police car's number to her. While she was trying to relay this to the operator, the cop drove right past the car thieves, shone his light on them, and then promptly turned around and sped away!

Imagine the cry that rose from our peanut gallery at this turn of events.

The car thieves, now laughing their asses off, had gotten the car's door open, had popped the hood, and were in the process of disabling the car's alarm. An increasingly flustered Kristen was still yelling at the 911 operator.

Finally, they got the car started. Two of them got into the car, and started to drive away. Just then, the police car returned! The thieves had only made it halfway across the parking lot, and with amazing nonchalance, they pulled the stolen car into a parking space, got out, and started walking away, as if they had just arrived themselves.

Thankfully, the cops weren't having any of that, and rounded them up.

Three of them, that is. The fourth thief (one of the two who had not been in the car) was on the far side of the parking lot by now, walking, not running, determinedly away.

``That guy's getting away!'' yelled Jeremy. He sprang up. ``I'm going to go stop him!'' And with that, he ran out the door.

We were leaning out the window, shouting down at the cops, gesticulating wildly and trying to make them understand that one was getting away. It didn't seem to be working. The cops didn't know what we were saying. Half a minute later, Jeremy came into view, and started running towards the cop -- in bare feet, wearing a long skirt, his crazy-ass fu-manchu haircut flapping in the wind.

(I really, really wanted to point at Jeremy and start screaming, that's the guy! That's the guy! but I didn't.)

Jeremy and the cop ran off down the street. And a minute later, they returned, with car thief number four in tow. It was at about this point that someone said, ``Jamie, man, I love the view from your apartment.''

When they had all four thieves restrained, the cop shouted up that we should send down some witnesses to make a statement. So down went Randy, Kristen and Sage (the ones who had seen the theft begin) to join Jeremy. After talking with them for a little while, the cops had them spread out along the sidewalk, while they had the thieves line up on the other end of the parking lot, with the cars' searchlights shining on them. Was this to be a duel, some new form of street justice? After a few seconds we realized what was going on: a line-up! An impromptu police line-up! And they had our friends spread out so that they couldn't discuss their answers with each other.

So, that was that. The thieves were carted off to jail, and after making sure the nearly-stolen car was again locked, the police left as well. Our civic duty done, we watched True Romance.

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