RL176 - The Opossum had distracted me

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The problem: John brooks no truck, referring to John not allowing any moths in his house anymore since they destroyed his dad’s Harris Tweed blazer.

The show title refers to the night when John’s house was robbed and he heard the thieves but thought it was the possum that had been living in his walls for a long time.

It is a rainy morning in Seattle and the Winter/Fall has finally arrived, which was the shittiest James Bond movie. John had a busy morning but things are good.

John is not a one-key guy anymore. He jingles his key chain on the show and it sounds like a lot of keys. He uses all of them in any given week. One for the propane, one to the log on the tool shed. The things he owns start to own him! These keys are analog eels.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Carbon Monoxide (RL176)

Merlin needs to improve his quality of sleep, which is an ongoing thing and he is not sure if he will ever have good sleep again. An old episode of This American Life was about people who thought their house was haunted, but it was actually CO-poisoning (probably this one). Many of the things that people call creepy, scary, or haunting things are actually attributable to low-level CO-poisoning.

Merlin is not a lunatic, but he is a theorist who has his reckons and he thinks that some part of his house might be harming him, although it is probably not a ghost, but the house is old and has not been extremely well maintained. Merlin is first of all a ceramicist and an anthropologist, a lover, a father, a thinker and a person, but he is not a person who is insensitive to environmental climactic change, haunting and Carbon Monoxide. He does currently not have a CO-detector in his house, but those are easy to find. Merlin has a plumber come out this week, he should probably also have a carbon-monologist. He tested his tub for lead one time and he will not do that again because it was so bad that the result said "Continued on next Walgreens test strip”. "Honey, please don’t drink the bath water!"

Merlin wants to be less shocked by the that cause riots and Medium posts, because everything new is shocking and you should give it some time before you throw it out. Jane’s Addiction was shocking.

What mitigates against dismissing all crazy conspiracy theories is that so much dumb shit has happened where there had been meetings, plans and HR decisions to do some really crazy shit which makes you go ”You know what? You never know! Sure it could happen! It wouldn’t surprise me!”

Two cats died (RL176)

(see also story in RL162)

John recently had the death of two fairly unredeemable cats in his extended family. One of them was a troubled cat who has gone to a better place, and the other one was a devil cat. They lived close enough to John that they had to come to an arrangement. Whether or not toxoplasmosis is real, when his baby was in transit John had to send these cats to go live on a farm and there was no arguing about it because he had a piece of paper with a long word on it. The real reason he wanted these cats to go was because they were spiritually bankrupt, but that is harder to prove and it doesn’t have a greek name that means ”Potential harm to your innocent baby” and "Mind Control Cat Shit Fog".

John rat-proofing his house (RL176)

At the time John was very busy running for office, he was also routinely trapping possums in his crawl space. As if that wasn’t enough, a neighboring house was foreclosed and rehabilitated which caused a great rat diaspora and so John was trapping possums and rats, which is not a good scene, because if you trap a rat in your attic in July at 110 degrees (43 °C), the decomposition process happens a lot faster.

The company John hired to trap the rats and find all the dead animals in his walls has the policy that if you have a live possum in a trap, they will try to come the same day, but they are busy and if you have a dead rat it won’t go anywhere and they will come by on Saturday, which was almost a week out. Because John’s mom loves a project, she put on her worn out overalls covered in different colors of blue paint and started rat-proofing John's house by filling in every hole the size of a dime at the outside of it. She was having the time of her life! Together they captured all the rats and possums and they got everybody out of the fucking house.

When John walked in one day, he felt the smell of dead animal somewhere. He wandered around the house with the suspicion that the rat had climbed up inside the wall and got right next to the heating vent. When he took the vent face off, he saw that it was not in the HVAC, but that miserable bastard had died in the wall on the other side of the sheet metal! John sealed the heating vent and waited for the smell to go away, which is just part of owning a house. He has been in this house for 7 years and nothing had died in the walls yet, but now he is at war with these rats and although he though he had trapped them all, somebody got in.

After that, there were no rats or critters anymore, but two weeks ago John heard something crawling around. He went all around the house with a 10.000 Watt flash light and found a hole that he and his mom hadn't looked for because the stupid-ass company that was trapping possums had told him that there were no holes in this particular location. John did find a hole in that location, which means that the guy with the possum-trapping-coveralls didn’t actually get up on the ladder like he said he had.

To make a long story short, when John was down in San Francisco, he started getting reports from the various people who look after his property that there was a strange smell in the house and it was not coming from the recycling. When he got home he spent the entire week with his divining rod, trying to find the location of this beast and short of tearing the dry-wall apart he could not find where this critter had decided to breathe its last breath. All he could do was sit in this house that vaguely smelled like a dead something.

Merlin’s house (RL176)

Merlin's house is almost 90 years old and it starts to become a little lose and flabby, like an old man. It was probably never the fanciest place to begin with. When he lived In Florida he heard a factoid that he can’t un-hear: Certain kind of vermin like roaches, rats and squids can get their body through a hole whenever their head will fit through because their skeleton and their muscular will collapse to the size of a freaking dime! They got a detachable penis! Fighting roaches in Florida is pointless. They are coming home in the grocery bags, they are coming through the walls, and they are coming through the MTV.

Merlin's first mouse incursion was around the time when his kid came on the scene, which made it extra crazy, because you don’t want a kid and a mouse in the same house. Knowing that there are mammals that can just wander in and out of the house and decide if it is a place they want to stay makes you feel vulnerable. Who knows what that mouse is thinking? Is it watching you masturbate? That is not a thing John wants to consider. It might even be a turn-on for the mouse, because it is a mammal after all!

Those mice could be communicating telepathically with each other and they could be alien life-forms from a different planet masquerading as mice. If a crab would wander into your house, you might think that it would be weird, but the crab was probably just wandering in and checking things out because it was in the neighborhood and you can shoo them out. Merlin hasn’t had rats, luckily. A mouse is looking for a place to camp out and bring its family and if you see only one, it is often an emissary, an explorer, a scout or somebody from the mouse state department. In San Francisco you can get mice or rats at any time, but during the rainy season there are also sugar ants. Merlin has to make peace with the ants because there is not much you can do, but he will not abide a rodent!

Spiders and flying insects (RL176)

Spiders in San Francisco are nothing like Seattle. They only get some awesome single spiders who come and hang out, usually in the bathroom, and Merlin loves them. John is also a fan of spiders, but in Seattle it is pretty bad with multiple kinds of spiders that are legitimately too many. You can watch the garden spiders get fatter and fatter throughout the fall until you get some freaking fat-ass spider with a body as big as a walnut. John does not want to walk through his own garden and take one of these in the face, so for 3 months out of the year he walks through his garden with one hand up in front of his body.

If you make the mistake to have the tips of your fingers at eye level, you will catch a spider web in your forehead. Therefore you need to keep your hand above your head and out far enough to hit a web and karate-chop it. His daughter also walks through the yard with her hand up and doesn’t know why. She is just imitating daddy and they are both walking through the yard with their shark fins out, chopping spider-webs, but even with that technique John catches three spider webs in the face pretty much every day. Then there is the house spiders, the super-fast moving ceiling spiders, enumerable kinds of spiders! John is the only guy in his family of ladies. His mom wouldn’t flinch even if there were a lobster on her ceiling, but there are other characters who do not want a spider around and at a certain point in the year John’s number one job is moving house spiders outside.

Merlin’s daughter sometimes picks up caterpillars on the sidewalk and puts them where she thinks they were headed towards, but maybe we should just let them be because nature? Merlin will kill the shit out of a flying insect, but he will inconvenience himself to get a spider out of the house.

The other day, John grabbed a flying moth out of the air by the wing, like Mr. Miyagi. It was a good party trick, but then he felt bad for the moth, he let it go and it kept flying. John lost his dad’s Harris Tweed blazer to moths. It was his signature coat since the 1950s and he handed it down to John in serviceable condition, but under John’s stewardship it was attacked and tattered by moths. Since then, John brooks no truck with moths, but he doesn’t know how to kill them. He tries to shoo out bees and wasps and he kills flies and definitely fruit flies with impunity. Merlin has a red wine trap in his kitchen, but the question is why they have fruit flies at all? He takes their compost out pretty regularly and he also washes out the can because the detritus will attract many of these vermin. Maybe there is something else rotting somewhere?

Touring with bugs on your windshield (RL176)

Don’t wave and whack at a yellow jacket, because that just makes them mad and/or attracts them. Don’t smash one, because the other yellow jackets will smell it and swarm on you. When John was on tour driving through the Midwest, at certain times of the year when the big bugs were out, his windshield would be caked with dead bugs of every size and shape like the top of a German chocolate cake. When they stopped to get gas or to get into the hot case and get some Jojos, the front of their vehicle was swarmed with yellow jackets eating the other bugs. You can’t really keep them out when you try to get back into your vehicle and you will be driving across the country with yellow jackets in the car, which is not good for anybody. Being on tour is not as glamorous as it sounds! Merlin has been in John’s van.

Merlin starts to become irrational and says that if he doesn’t look for a mouse, then there won’t be a mouse, like Heisenberg Uncertainty mice, or Schrödinger's fruit fly. As soon as you look at the mouse there is a 50% chance there will be a mouse there. Because of spooky action at a distance, this mouse and other mice are all in the same orientation. As soon as you look at this mouse, you have also pre-determined the posture of mice very far away, but it is impossible to know, which is the great thing about Physics!

Raccoons, crows and possums (RL176)

John’s relationship with raccoons is primarily based on the opposable thumb and the fact that they look knowingly at him. Over the years he felt he had to reach an accommodation with them and he will allow them tremendous leeway in his world and they will let him pass. Maybe one day he will call upon them for a favor.

Crows on the other hand are running the whole show! There are pigeons, seagull and crows at Merlin’s daughter’s school after the kids have left a lot of garbage on the playground. Pigeons are dumb like a bag of hammers and Merlin is just waiting for them to fall over and forget how to live. Seagulls are the meth users of the playground. Way up on high are the crows, just ticking their time. They are on a different time scale, they see everything, and they are moving slowly like Paul Sorvino. He didn’t move fast because he didn’t have to. A crow is not going to just fly down and eat a french fry, but it is going to watch the french fry for a while and it will let a seagull eat a french fry without being disappointed because it knows more about this french fry than the seagull will ever know.

John did not have very much respect for possums, but his respect for them increased in the same amount as his respect for cats decreased when he saw a possum and a cat live in harmony with one another. It wasn’t all the way to Hail Fellow Well Met, but they certainly each had diplomatic papers that allowed them both to move freely, which was surprising because John would not have imagined that they occupied the same emotional space.

John went to his mother, the sage, and said: "Possum and cat. Describe!" and she told him that at one point in her life she had several cats she fed outside and the cats and the possums would eat out of the same bowl at the same time. Something is going on in nature that those two species have reached an agreement.

The Burglary (RL176)

Possum in the house

In November of 2014, prior to his mom rodent-proofing his house by closing up all the holes in the outer wall, John noticed a possum in his yard. He wanted to learn more about its behavior and he sat in his doorway at night waiting for it. John was fairly pro-possum, in the same way like if somebody wanted to date his daughter with all respect and it would be something we can talk about, but first we need to sit down and hash a couple of things out. John was going to watch their reactions to his questions while he at the same time was playing with a dagger on the coffee table. "Tell me, using only single words, how you feel about my daughter!" John was learning a lot watching this possum and also the raccoons were clearly watching this all go down from their perch high in the trees, but they had no dog in the race and were just taking it all in.

The possum was a dingeling, he was blind, and eventually he went under the house. "Shit! Possum under the house! That is no good!" Right around that time John started hearing possums in the wall. "Fuck!" He had been watching the possum, he had a pretty good beat on it, but the possum had faked him out and moved into the house. John's house was originally built in 1912. In 1930 they put an addition onto the side of the house where the chimney is and what had formerly been the outside of the chimney is now enclosed inside of a wall.

The possum got under the house and got up the chimney inside the wall, scrubbing around so John could hear it. John hadn’t reconciled himself to call the vermin people during the winter because he through the possum was just visiting and although he could hear it screeching at night, he just pretended it wasn’t happening. John thought the possum was going to move on eventually, but it didn’t.

One night in February of 2015 it made so much noise that it finally crossed the threshold, but John was leaving to go on the JoCo Cruise early the following day and would need to deal with everything he needed to deal with before leaving on a long cruise. It sucked and made him mad that he couldn’t deal with the possum then, but he rolled over and went back to sleep. This was the moment where he said ”Game over! I’m chasing you down!” and literally any other night John would have gone out with his 10.000 Watt flashlight to find this thing.

John's house has been broken into

The next morning American Express called him, telling him that his card was being used to buy gasoline, but the person who used it didn't know the correct ZIP-code and now they were trying to find out if it was John. The first thing John does every time he comes home is take off his pants, and so he went downstairs, still asleep, looking around, and he noticed the back door was open and the house had been rifled. He told the lady from American Express to cancel the card.

While John was in the house, he had been broken into and ransacked. He had heard them, but he thought it was the possum and he rolled over and went back to sleep. During two decades of hyper-nighttime-vigilance where he was perimeter-checking his yard in his bathrobe and a sword, nothing had happened in any of the neighborhoods he had lived in that John didn’t know, watch, and report on. At one instance where the possum had distracted him with its occupation, John rolled over and went back to sleep, and it was the one time he had been robbed while he was in the house. It is a feeling of violation, but more than that it is totally against his brand! John had been sitting upstairs in a room bristling with weapons, he had been waiting for someone to break into his house for the last 20 years so he could choose the saber. Here it was, the fucking possum! It was some kind of mind twisteroo!

John was going to leave on the cruise the next day at 7am, but they had stolen his passport and and his wallet with all his ID in it. They stole his computer and his iPad which he didn't care about and they took the time to unhook his entire Sonos stereo system. They must have known that John was home because they never came upstairs where the real vault was. Instead, they took his Challenge Coins, a box of political lapel pins, Hubert Humphrey tie tacks and Truman Beats Dewey lapel buttons, little pins his dad collected and that John had continued to collect, a collection of foreign currency that wasn’t worth anything and his 100oz (2835g) silver ingot that he was using as a door stop for 20 years. His mom had warned him during those whole 20 years that somebody would be stealing that one of these days, but John always said that no crook knows what that is because it is just a hunk.

Out of all that, John was most devastated by losing his passport because a) he was traveling out of the country in a day and b) that passport was trending toward its retirement and this trip was going to be the last time he would travel on it. With stamps from all his Rock ’n’ Roll touring and from the time he went to Niger, Ethiopia and Djibouti it was very important to him and it was going to go into the shoebox soon.

Still going on the JoCo cruise

John spent the entire day running around town. He went to the DMV for a new driver’s license, sat for a new photograph and filled out all the forms to get an enhanced driver’s license that would allow him to travel, but they wanted to send it to him 15 days later. He spent 2 hours at the DM fucking V, but they couldn’t give it to him right away! He thought back to all the driving licenses he had over the years and, he is not crazy, they used to give it to you right then. They would take your picture, they would laminate it, and you could watch it come out of the little dingus. Now they will mail it to you 15 days later, which didn't help and John was burning daylight here!

John ran down to the passport office which could expedite a passport for $1100. He got his picture taken at a Kinko’s and he was frazzled by this point, but he did get a passport. He questioned if he should go on the cruise, but there was nothing else he could do anyway. He couldn’t hunt for the burglar himself! Merlin was amazed that John came on the cruise! Before he travels, Merlin is always frenetic about everything and John didn’t even have credit cards or ID, just the sense of wanting to go burrow into his bed with a sword to process what happened.

It was a lesson for John. They had talked a lot over the years about the materialism that had infected John’s life, about his thrifting habit, and about the fact that he no longer had 5 but 500 personal items imbued with significance. This thing and that thing and that thing and remember the time I bought that thing? This was the time when I had my first kiss! In April of last year I had that thing on! John uses this mania of attaching emotional significance to physical objects as a way of keeping the daemon dogs at bay, but in that moment he realized that he didn’t give a shit about any of those things and if it had all burned down he wouldn't have cared. He just wanted that passport back because that really did have emotional significance, and that silver bar because he bought it in 1982 with the money he saved from moving lawns. But a computer? Who cares! Burn it!

Who were the burglars?

John had a very interesting conversation with the police. They showed up right away and the female lead officer said that this was probably a meth head because coming into a house where there is somebody inside is totally desperate behavior. This person is going to end up dead, it is insane to do and it has to just be drugs! It was diabolical that this person found the one window in John’s house that didn’t have an alarm on it and where the window sill was a little bit rotten.

All the windows in John’s house are original, and they took a foot locker off of John’s porch, moved it around under the window, jammed a shovel that they found in the barn, popped the window and waited for John’s timed light to go off at 3am. John got the sense that his house had been cased and they had been watching him for weeks. He was scanning his brain if there had been any suspicious cars, because he would have noticed! This is John’s brand! Who are these geniuses?

The suggestion arose that it could have been a Roderick on the Line listener, because the items they took were exactly the things that an either crazy or diabolical listener would take. His silver bar, his passport, and his dad’s political pins? That is crazy-land! Maybe some listener triangulated to his house and is either obsessed or is such a criminal mastermind that they are mind-gaming him to get his attention. John could not consider that possibility. There are a lot of smart listeners who have myriad talents and he didn’t want to think about this.

If it was a meth head, was there a chance that they just got really lucky? John dismissed that possibility above all else! Because of the way the house was rifled he imagined that it was 3 people. They were unhooking the Sonos system, they had staged a guitar by the back door, but John probably rustled in bed and they got spooked and ran out. They stole one of John’s Filson bags to put the ingot and the passport in.

They had also taken his car keys and ransacked the car, which is why there had to be three of them. There wasn’t anything in the car except some Chinese money that they took. John didn’t sleep for months, he reinforced all the windows of his house and he re-dug all the tiger traps, but he never felt safe. Fortunately that night his daughter hadn't been staying there and it was just John alone. He felt always a little bit on edge, he was scanning his neighbor’s faces, it was bad!

The police officer said that because they had taken his car keys, they would be coming back to steal the car two days later and he had to get his car re-keyed. There were a lot of things he had to set in motion before he went on the cruise. He called some friends to get his car and his house re-keyed while he was gone, because they had stolen the house keys, too.

The police found a pair of rubber gloves in the garden which was good, because they typically wear rubber gloves to avoid leaving finder prints, but then they take them off and throw them on the ground with finger prints in them. They were going to take the finger prints, open a case, and prosecute if they would get a match, but John was probably never going to see his stuff again.

When John came back from the cruise, he had to go through the whole rigmarole: He got a new CostCo card, got all new credit cards, he changed all his passwords, he had to change all the auto payments to the new credit cards, it was just a major hassle! The worst part was that even after 10 days on the cruise the feeling was still very raw. He couldn’t sleep at night, and was just laying there waiting for them to come back.

John losing his passport

John called the detective to whom the case had been assigned, got their voice mail, left a message and never got a call back. He had catalogued all the serial numbers of all the things, he called pawn shops around, but there were no hits! John reconciled himself to the fact that these things were gone, but all year he was walking around and was thinking: ”Passport, come back to me! If you can find me, find me!”

John had lost his first passport at a house party in Moscow, Idaho (see story in RW81) and that passport had all the stamps from his first trip overseas back in the day when you would still got a passport stamp if you went from Portugal to Spain or from France to Belgium. There were still passport controls between all those European countries where now there are none. John was getting all these old-fashioned stamps just prior to the institution of the European Union passport that he later learned to treasure. He had a stamp from Morocco and there was a visa for Algeria in there from the 1980s. John had been to East Germany and East Berlin several times, and all this stuff was in there and he lost this fucking passport at a party because he was drunk and who knows! It haunted him!

John has all his dad’s passports including the first one from 1948 and every subsequent renewal. It makes a little book and he loves them! John wanted the same collection for himself, but the first one, the foundation, the key stone, is gone and now he has lost his third one. Luckily he still has his second one from the Big Walk and the early days of Rock ’n’ Roll touring, that is a key one!

John really thought that God was trying to teach him something about the impermanence of things. Is the passport meaningless because only the memories matter? And if so, are all material items meaningless? ”Is this you, God? It is me, Margret! Are you trying to slap me across the face with a fish?” God works in mysterious ways and John was sitting on this boat in the middle of the Caribbean, still showered in privilege, his life was great, but he was asking God some serious questions: ”Are you pranking me? And if so, it is a bitter pill to swallow!”

From the burglary on January 30th of 2015 until the end of October John had been telepathically communicating with his passport. He didn't have ”Find my iPhone” for it and ”Find my Apple-stuff” didn’t work either because whoever found those things never turned them on. Merlin’s sense is that people grab whatever is small and valuable that they can sell quickly and then just throw everything else away. There is a very small window of almost no time to get any of it back. Even if you are a dingeling, why would you carry any of these things around? You sell the silver for $20 and why would any of that other stuff ever survive?

Continuing to think who the burglars were

If this person was a meth person, they have taken John's stuff directly to their dealer and said: ”Here is a laptop, will you give me some meth?” and the dealer will give him $100 worth of meth for a $2200 computer. The dealer is then mobbed up with a network of fences and will get $500 from somewhere. The danger in this contemporary world, the world of John Siracusa, is that the laptop will not make its way to a pawn shop, but to a network of Russian hackers who are primarily interested in identity theft. With that narrative running, they now have his laptop, his passport, his wallet with his enhanced driver’s license and his Goes-Card. John has been pre-security checked and got this secret government card that allows him to go through passport control in major airports without even stopping while 800 people are lined up to go through passport control.

With the combination of these things, some canny identity-theft people could get terrorists onto a plane, start a business under John’s name, and completely take over his life! John is picturing some chop-house outside of Bangkok where they are incising the picture out of his ID and putting in the picture of LeChiff who is then entering the United States illegally to carry out an extra-judicial assassination of some kind. This is bad news!

Whoever they were, they thought to take the passport. They were not just sweeping stuff in, because the passport was in a separate place and they recognized that somewhere between their dealer and the world of fences there is some value in a passport. They didn’t take it because they were enamored with John’s visa from Djibouti. They made a mistake by taking the challenge coins from the drone base in Ethiopia, which don't have much value, but they are just shiny.

That detail is what made John feel like it could have been a Roderick on the Line listener who had gone to the dark side and who was either insane to begin with or had been driven insane by the program and wanted to collect memorabilia of John Roderick from his own house in order to build a scarecrow, a gollum, or an effigy of him that they could use black magic on. When John was thinking about what they stole, he thought he had 4 Scrabble games. Did they take a Scrabble game? That would be an indication that it is an unhinged podcast fan, because that doesn’t have any value on the open market.

Getting the phone call

At the end of October of 2015 John was sitting at his desk in his office looking at a picture of a 1978 Mazda RX5 on bring-a-trailer when the phone rang. In a rare instance he picked up the call although it was from an unknown phone number and it was Detective Akamoto from the Renton police department, which got John worried because his house is close enough to Renton. The detective said ”I think I got a bunch of your stuff! I got a passport, some kind of giant really heavy junk of metal with a bunch serial numbers on it, an iPad and some other shit!”

As it turned out, on January 31st, the day after the burglary, a patrolman in Renton saw a guy sleeping in his car while the car was running. Apparently, sleeping in a running car is suspicious enough for an officer to pull up and see what is going on, which is funny because John has been asleep in a parked car many times in his life and has never been hassled by a cop. The cop saw the guy sleeping in this car with the ignition jimmied, meaning that the car was stolen and he arrested him for car theft.

It is not illegal to be in a stolen car, but it is illegal to be in a stolen car if there is enough sign that the car is stolen. You could legitimately claim that you didn’t know it was stolen and that a guy gave it to you, but if the car has a kitchen knife instead of an ignition key it is fairly reasonable to conclude that you knew it was stolen or you are the stealer of it. The guy also had a meth pipe in the car, which compounded the problem. They impounded the car, they processed the guy for car theft and they prosecuted him and sent him to jail.

Nine months go by and detective Akamoto, who is a car theft detective, was sitting at his desk and got a call from the property room about a closed case. They were cleaning out the shelves and they were sending all this stuff to the dump or the auction house, but there was paperwork and IDs among the stuff that had been in the trunk. Nobody had connected the car theft and the trunk full of what was clearly somebody else’s shit.

Maybe the car stealer was also a house stealer? No-one at the police department did any policing. John enjoyed talking to detective Akamoto and learned that he commutes to work on a recumbent bicycle, but what he did not learn was how you could put a bin of shit including other people’s wallets and passports onto the shelf without doing a little bit of research. There was not only John’s passport, but also his enhance driver’s license with his address on it which is about 2 miles (3 km) from the Renton police department.

There was his GOES card and John wanted to called the Department of Homeland Security to cancel it because somebody could use it to infiltrate Al Qaeda members into the USA. The first time he tried there was a scratchy cassette tape and John sat on a phone tree for 45 minutes where they played Elton John’s Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds until and he finally got off. He did that 3 more times, but surrendered eventually. If Al Qaeda would have gotten into the country by using John’s GOES-cards, the responsibility would have been shared between John and the Department of Fucking Homeland Security, an organization he already had a lot of suspicion about. He never cancelled the card and nothing ever made it to the Indian chop shop!

The only thing missing was the laptop which John is 100% sure that the burglar immediately took to the dealer to get some crank. It probably didn't make its way into some kind of identity ring, but you can sell a MacBook Air for something! The Renton cops had not talked to the Seattle cops who were processing the burglary at the same time when they put the stuff from the burglary on a shelf. John doesn’t know how to feel. He really likes detective Akamoto and pictures him riding to work in the rain with a helmet that has a little rear-view-mirror on it.

Merlin likes the idea of a guy who investigates car thefts all day not having a car. He takes his bike on the train and then rides it from the train station to the police station. He is Japanese, but still a Northwest original. Good on you! The policing is where John feels that some improvement could be done. He doesn’t know whom to hold responsible, but this went into the system as a car theft and the car theft people handle things a certain way and whoever put it in as a car theft didn’t also include the stuff in the trunk. John doesn’t know and he cannot fathom.

John getting his things back

John went down to the Renton police department and got all his stuff back. It was totally surreal! He got his passport back, his dad’s box of pins, his challenge coins, and his Chinese money. The only missing items were his MacBook Air and his Taxi-wallet, but the entire contents of the wallet minus the money was there: All the credit cards, everything! Somebody had taken all the stuff out of the wallet and took the wallet, that is how good Taxi-wallets are, and the Filson briefcase.

When the cops were wandering around in John’s house and he told them that they had taken his Sonos and his silver bar, of course the cops said ”Oh, a 100 oz (2835 g) silver bar? How convenient!” - ”No, seriously, I used it as a door stop” - ”Did they also take your hope diamond?” - ”No, fucking seriously, it was one of the first things I bought with my own money! Look around the house! There are dolls of all the US presidents here. There is a pair of crossed snow shoes above the fireplace, do you really not believe that I had a 100oz silver bar?” The cop had to admit that it fitted into John’s decor. When John said he was missing a Filson briefcase, the cop said ”Yeah, they always steal the Filson stuff! It is very identifiable and there is a huge aftermarket for it!”

Detective Akamoto said that the burglar was Cambodian or Laotian, somebody from South-East Asia. As a Japanese he should have his Asian races more dialed than that, but that was not what John had expected. He had pictured three burglars or a maniacal Roderick on the Line listener, but that was now suddenly incorrect. It was a guy from South East Asia and his next-door neighbors are Vietnamese! Wait a minute? Was it one of the low rider guys who hang out over there?

John's whole vision of the crime switched around and he no longer felt like somebody had been casing his house for weeks. Instead it was just a meth crime of opportunity where the person got incredibly lucky and had pried open the one window that was painted shut. John had never opened that window and because he figured it was un-openable he didn’t put an alarm on it, but the rotten sill allowed them to pop it with the shovel and break the paint seal, which was the thing that had woken John up. All he thought was: ”This fucking possum has got to go!”


Now John is made whole again, not only because he has all his shit back, but because he took some time to sit and have a communion with his passport, the challenge coins and all this other crapola. John is also made whole again in the sense that he is no longer laying in bed at night thinking there is a giant conspiracy around his house, imagining Russians in Thailand looking at his house from a satellite, trying to figure out John’s comings and goings so they can best impersonate him.

It was just a guy who didn’t even have the brains to not fall asleep in his stolen car! One reason crazy people have ingots of silver is because it is imminently sellable. Your crank dealer might give you a couple of hundred bucks for a laptop, but silver is pretty sellable. At the prices of silver at the time it was worth more than the laptop. It is better than currency, because you could even go to the White Homeland with that. This guy was probably not welcome at the White Homeland no matter how much silver he had.

Here John is with his pockets full of challenge coins. The laptop and the Filson bag are gone, but whatever! He got all his Sonos stuff back and doesn’t even know what to do with it.

Calling somebody and telling them that they got all their stuff is the best part of the job for the cops of the Renton police department. John was so grateful, he loved being in the property room and he loved all the cloak and dagger of those guys, which was pretty shabby. You got to buzz through the room and detective Akamoto had his magnetized security card in some kind of hip holster. Because he was not a tall guy, every time they came to a door he turned around and hiked up his butt to touch it to the reader. The first time John thought that it was kind of interesting, but then he realized he does it 40 times a day. He turns around, stands up on his tip toes, cocks one ass cheek in the air and sassy-Disco-bonks it onto the reader. All that recumbent biking span off! By the third or fourth time he did it, John thought that the Renton police department had some sassy shit here! There is not so much going on down there that they couldn’t have investigated this crime a little better.

John was so grateful that he didn’t ask if there was a conference room where they could sit down and let John ask him a few questions. They could have saved him 9 months of hurt feelings by solving this crime in one day, but it took them 9 months to realize there had been a crime. The Seattle police department never returned John’s phone calls and by all accounts did never any investigation of any kind. Detective Akamoto was excited because they might have finger prints and might be able tie this crime to the guy. He sounded giddy, but you have to be giddy to ride an recumbent bike to work every day!

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