“Hurry! The truck is just down the street!” I called to Paul as we rushed around the house this morning emptying all the trash cans and tying up the bags. Throwing the whole lot into our wheeled garbage cart, Paul opened up the garage door and trundled the gray bin down to the curb for pickup. I had forgotten the trash in the downstairs bathroom. Quickly, I hooked it out of the wastebasket and ran out after Paul to toss it in with the rest.
No sooner had I stepped foot on the driveway than I met Paul coming the other way. “Go back in the house,” he said in a strange voice. I obeyed with alacrity.
“What is it? What’s wrong?” I asked. He told me.
He had parked the trash can at the curb and turned around to see a team of FBI agents in flak jackets, their guns drawn, converging on a house just a few doors down from us. We hurried back inside, wondering aloud what could be going on while taking occasional peeks through cracked blinds at the strange events unfolding outside.
By the time we left the house an hour later, local police cars and unmarked SUVs (which must have arrived with the FBI guys) were parked all up and down our street as officers milled around taking pictures and going in and out of our neighbor’s house. We pulled up next to one of the officers and asked if it would be safe for us to return home later. He assured us it was, so I guess that whatever brought them there had already happened.
And that’s it. We still don’t know what it was all about. Drug trafficking? Kidnapping? Unpaid parking tickets? It’s hard to wrap our minds around any of the possibilities. We didn’t know the neighbors well, but we had talked with them. Aside from a slightly unkempt yard and an unusually high number of cars parked in front of their house, they seemed normal, friendly, highly unlikely to be the subjects of an FBI sting operation. (Jeffrey Dahmer? “He was shy, a little withdrawn. But not real bizarre. He never bothered anyone.”)
I’ve been poking around local news sites for clues, but so far there’s no indication of what, if anything, happened this morning on our street. Perhaps we will never know. After all, even if the neighbors do come back, I don’t imagine even Miss Manners could conceive of a polite way to go up and ask someone why the Feds hauled them in.
Maybe a plate of homemade brownies would help smooth things over?