Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An instance on Old Manor Road

When you wake up to a steady car horn at 3:45 in the morning, a lot of possibilities suggest themselves, none of them good: A petulant drunk punishing a long lost girlfriend; a particularly inept car thief, a dead body slumped against a steering wheel. I got up and looked down at the darkened street. No lights came on; no furtive footsteps could heard receding down the block.

The horn went on and on. Three minutes, then five, then ten. No cops came; nobody but me peered out the door to investigate. The brunette was a little worried, but the dog wasn't. Finally I shrugged, made sure the door was locked tight, and went back to bed. I wondered how long it would be until the car's battery was as dead as its driver.

The horn stopped after awhile. The abrupt silence was mysterious too, but I figured I could rule out the dead-body scenario. I picked up the book I'd been reading and finally drifted back to sleep. It didn't take long. Yeah, I might read a lot detective stories, but that doesn't make me a detective.

This morning I walked the dog and didn't see any police tape in the neighborhood, didn't encounter anybody who could shed light on the Case of the Curious Car Horn. I could probably go door-to-door and eventually find out, but I have a feeling that would alarm the neighbors more than a 10-minute blast of a horn in the wee hours.

So I'll put this one in my cold-case files, one of those mundane mysteries that will remain that way. The old saw is true: Fiction has to make sense; real-life doesn't. I guess that's the biggest reason that when stupid things happen, I pick up a book. It's been that kind of year. Let's just say I've reading a lot lately.

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