It was a relatively low-key Saturday night here at the Oh Honestly Household. Chooch had already gone up to bed (which means he went upstairs to watch YouTube videos on his phone for another 2 hours) and Henry and I were watching the Stanley Cup finals (GO KINGS!). Around 11:00PM, there was a hideous crash/boom/squeal right outside of our house.
Right away, we knew it was a car accident.
The street we live on is a pretty busy one and a lot of the houses here don’t have driveways (luckily, ours does). When I moved here back in 1999, one of the first things my then-neighbor said to me was, “Never park your car in front of the house.” Shit, was she ever right. I learned that this was especially sound advice to observe on weekends. There are a ton of drunks that drive on this street. I have seen so many accidents from my living room window, it’s insane. Recently, someone hit a parked car down the street from us so hard that they pushed it all the way into our front yard. I always tell my friends to park across the street in the church parking lot, because you just never know. I mean, we had the mirror ripped off of our car two days after we bought it because we stupidly left the car parked on the street for “just a second.”
Anyway, back to Saturday night. We heard that sickening crunch of car-against-car and Henry flew out the front door, forgetting that he was in his underwear, to see what had happened. Then other neighbors (i.e. The Hot Naybor Chris Family) began to emerge from their houses as well, so Henry ran back inside to put on his pants, but don’t worry, he was back out in time to take total control of the situation.
We quickly deduced that a car had been speeding down the street and plowed into a parked Lexus (sucks to be that car owner) next door and then tried to keep driving even though the entire wheel and tire of his car had broken. So he made it an additional two houses up the street before putting on his flashers and getting out of the car. He was drunkenly staggering around his car, running his hands through his hair, in total panic-mode.
Meanwhile, Tourette’s happened to be moseying along the sidewalk, coming back from wherever it is that people like him go to (poker night with Purple Pants in a pizza parlor basement?), and he totally paused to become a spectator! I was so excited, you have no idea!!! But oddly, of all the times where it would be appropriate for him to shake his fist and cry, “You motherfucker!” he blurted out no such obscenities and instead stood calmly at the end of our sidewalk, contributing to the community powwow.
Just then, the Perp began drunkenly pacing up and down the sidewalk and at one point, it looked like he was going to run before turning around, crouching on the sidewalk for a moment, and then getting back into his car.
“He’s going to run,” I observed, but one of the neighbor girls said, “He ain’t going nowhere with his wheel broken off!”
“No,” I argued. “He’s going to literally run. I can tell.”
So then Henry got to be a HERO and call the POLICE, who are basically his favorite people in the whole entire world second to those Air Force fellas and broads. And just as Henry was hanging up with the 911 dispatch person, the perp got out of his car and started to walk/run up the sidewalk, away from all of us. So Henry got to CALL THE POLICE AGAIN!
“Yeah, I just called,” he said, quickly reiterating the pertinent details. “Well, it’s a hit and run now,” Henry said excitedly, flashing his imaginary war medallions. “YES, HE’S ON FOOT AND FLEEING THE SCENE!” So then one of the neighbor girls decided she was going to follow him, barefoot, in spite of her mom’s protests. That was stupidly exciting, too.
It was at this point that I realized Henry and Tourette’s were hanging out with a bunch of pajama-clad, braless broads. I quickly crossed my arms over my chest.
“Where are the cops!?” Tourette’s cried. “I know for a fact that there are four of them down the street at the gas station parking lot right now, drinking coffee!” And then he made a series of unhappy grunts. Finally, a cop rolled up with the lights on and Henry practically shoved everyone out of the way to lean into the window and scream, “HE WENT THATTA WAY!” and then he completely gave an inaccurate description of the Perp. So the cop sped off in the direction of Henry’s finger and we all cheered because it was exciting, OK?
Soon, we were joined by my deceased cat Don’s grandma (her cat Teddy knocked Marcy up back in 2000 and that’s where Don and Willie came from) from four houses down. We compared horror stories of all the accidents we’ve collectively witnessed on this street, and then she decided to walk up to the Perp’s abandoned car and start rooting through it.
“You drink and you drive and you drive and you drink and you drink and you drive,” Tourette’s began rambling to no one in particular.
I took this opportunity to fetch Chooch, who of course was still wide awake and watching lame videos in his room.
“I thought that noise was just Daddy breaking something in the kitchen as usual,” Chooch mumbled, hastily stepping into a pair of jeans so that he could join the growing throng of Nebby Debbies* outside in the lawn.
*(This is Pittsburghese for nosy motherfuckers.)
“Who owns that car?” our neighbor Ruth asked.
“It’s the guy visiting the blond lady who lives in that house down there,” Henry said with his chest sticking out. “He’s from Virginia.”
“How do you know?” I asked him, furrowing my eyebrows.
“I don’t know,” he stuttered. “I saw the guy pull up when I was cutting the grass. He’s Asian. And he has Virginia plates.”
“Cutting the grass,” you guys. I’M SO SURE. And not from the binoculars in the attic window.
“It could be a rental,” Neighbor Daughter said, recently returned from her citizen’s arrest mission. But Henry argued that it wasn’t a rental and told her all of the reasons he knows this, the number one reason being we’re basically Budget Rental’s best customers because our car is a piece of a shit. This was like the best night ever for Henry because he got to brag about knowing things that no one would typically give a shit about.
(And I still don’t.)
Just then, the cops came back and they had the Perp! I cheered with an overdose of faux-enthusiasm.
“He wasn’t going nowhere,” the main cop laughed. Even his laughter had a Yinzer-accent. “He’s piss ass drunk!”
Henry told the cop that he knocked on the car owner’s front door several times to no avail and then explained again that the car belongs to her visiting friend and we’re all like, “OK we get it, just put it in next month’s Brookline ‘zine, why don’t you.” Fuck, Henry. Maybe you should just move to Wisteria Lane.
“Maybe they’re busy,” the cop said with a sleazy wink and then laughed so hard, donut crumbs shot out of his mouth. And then he took Henry’s official statement! Talk about the best belated birthday gift of all time: Henry got to be a motherfucking witness to a hit and run. HOT DAMN.
Oh, you want to know what I was doing this whole time? Just the usual: getting in the way and giddily laughing alone the whole time. I even jumped and clapped a few times because sometimes living on this street rules. LOOK AT US ALL COMING TOGETHER IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE!
And then the tow truck arrived! OH WHAT A NIGHT! Henry loves talking to men of these sorts of vocations! While the cop went back to his vehicle to write up the report—-or Instagram his Styrofoam coffee cup, who knows—Henry and the tow truck driver got to stand around and make idle conversation about the damage done to the Lexus. I kept hearing Henry “hyuk hyuk hyuk’ing” so they must have been getting along pretty well. I just asked Henry what else they were talking about and he claims the tow truck driver was telling Henry about how busy of a night he had the night before. OK HENRY, SURE, WE BELIEVE YOU. You weren’t talking about car crash porn AT ALL.
The cop thanked us all and I over-zealously said you’re welcome! because standing around outside doing nothing other than not wearing a bra deserves appreciation, but no one could hear me over Henry’s bristling moustache and rippling ego; it was clear that no more excitement was going to evolve from this particular episode, so everyone started to wander off back to their homes and Tourette’s lumbered off into the horizon with whatever mysterious bag he had been clutching the whole time.
“Yinz have a good night!” the tow truck driver called out to us. I have never been called “yinz” so much in one night. God love Pittsburgh.
“True or false,” I demanded later when we were getting ready for bed. “This is the most excitement you’ve had since THE SERVICE.”
“It wasn’t that exciting,” Henry sighed.
Oh, but his weener told a different story.