Saturday, January 06, 2007
Coleman meets La Policia
Coleman had a little "run-in" with the local authorities today. He and a friend from our complex had scaled one of the walls around our property to play soccer on the neighboring church's soccer field. They had received, what they considered, permission to do so from "some guy in a red shirt". So they asked me if it was OK, and I couldn't pin point an exact reason to say no (although I ignored that little voice in the back of my head that was saying it was a bad idea.). About a half an hour later one of my neighbors comes rushing up to my door and says, "Can you help me translate? The police are here and they've got someone's kids!" Instantly, I was panicked as I looked around quickly for my own kids who had all been playing outside. I only counted three, and as we got to the front gate I saw that, yes indeed, there was number four peeking guiltily out from the backseat of a black, four door Policia truck. Let me give you the full image...There are two men at the gate with rather stern looks on their faces, dressed in all black and hands poised over the guns on their belts. Then, in the truck across the street (all black with bright yellow writing, POLICIA CIVIL), was a driver, two dumbstruck American kids, three more uniform clad policia in the bed of the pick-up, and lastly, standing just behind the vehicle, were two additional policia, each holding a semi-automatic weapon! (At least I think that's what they're called!) You can imagine my shock. Apparently, the church director had seen the boys playing soccer and had called the police (I'm sure they looked supremely threatening.). When the authorities arrived they raced their pick-up across the grass toward the boys at an alarming speed. (I hope they did damage to the well manicured lawn.) Coleman said he froze (paralyzed with fear, no doubt) while the other boy tried to flee the scene! When the truck stopped the federales jumped out, drawing their weapons and pointing them at the kids! Can you imagine?! I'm so pissed! Who points semi-automatic weapons at kids playing soccer??? For Chrissake!! I'm surprised they didn't pee their pants! So, as I stood there, gaping at my son in the back of a policia pick-up, the guys at the gate proceed to tell me that these two boys had been caught trespassing and were lucky they hadn't been shot. He continued to say something (by now I was having trouble understanding because my brain was starting to short circuit) about taking the boys "downtown" to where, apparently, there is a special home for naughty, trespassing boys! I was freaking out! But, I calmly explained to them that the boys had received permission to play soccer at the church. He told me that if they had permission, they should have gone through the front gate (like civilized people) instead of jumping the wall (like rowdy Americans). By now I'm realizing that this situation is likely going to cost me a mordida (a bribe). So I ask him, "Que hacemos?" "What do we do?" He asked me which boy was mine and I told him. He and his partner exchanged smiles and said something to each other that I didn't quite catch (again, major short circuiting), and then they took down my name and age. Then, to my utter amazement, they opened the back door to the pick-up and let the boys out, without the exchange of a single Quetzal. They told me to tell the boys to use the front gate next time. I assured them that the boys would never go over the wall again, and they were on their way with a smile and a nod. Ughh! You can imagine that we were all rather glad to hunker down in our cozy little house with the doors locked and the curtains drawn for the next couple of hours. Come to think of it, we haven't left the house since! Coleman shed a few tears after the whole ordeal, but I think it may have been good for him. A little respect for authority never hurt anyone... Honestly! Tweenagers!! I would gladly pay $50 for a picture of those boys in the back of that truck. Oh well... There's always next time. Just kidding.