Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Summoned by Sheriff Joe

Sonovabitch! The late, great garage invasion is about to cost me even more money and stress. Comes a summons in the mail from the sheriff’s office: my presence is requested (nay, demanded) at a trial for the sh!thead who caused all that flap.

Over the summer I drew down my survival savings by about $7,000 to install new Arcadia doors that actually latch (two of the old ones couldn’t be latched at all), replace the last of the windows that could be opened simply by pulling off a length of rubber weatherstripping, install a new security door in back, and install (expensive!!!) hardened locks on all three security doors. This seriously impoverished me, requiring me to spend money that should have supported me for the better part of another year and making it impossible for me to to replace my 13-year-old car anytime in the near future (or, more likely, ever).

The summons is for the 20th, a Tuesday. That means I’ll miss the noon class on that day, and very probably this trial will go several days: I may miss class on Wednesday and maybe even more than that. You have to sit there in the courtroom until they call you and until the judge decides you can be dismissed.

I do not get paid if I’m not in class. So unless I can quietly put someone up to standing in for me, I’m going to get screwed royally here. And, given my plan to quit teaching at the end of this semester, I really can’t afford to do without several days of pay.

Just to complicate matters, I donated money to the church during the silent auction, which obviously I should not have done. And during a recent art studio tour, I purchased an interesting necklace, first because I wanted it and second because I realized that if I could study it closely, I could create something similar and sell the things myself. Neither of these was radically costly in the large scheme of things, but taken together they drained this month’s budget. If several hundred dollars of income are sucked out of said budget, I won’t have enough to make ends meet either this month or next.

Nothing gets your attention like a summons from Joe Arpaio. It’s like getting a summons from the Gestapo or the KGB…this is a cynical and irrational fellow. So add that little jolt to the stress of wondering how I’m going to eat and pay the bills.

It is, however, as nothing compared to the content of this subpoena.

As the “victim,” my address is not published in the public record, as if our boy and his pals don’t know where I live…

They’re charging the perp with armed robbery, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.

This represents a real problem.

In the first place, the guy did not kidnap me and did not assault me. He never got close enough to see me, much less lay his hands on my dainty little person. The cops told me that where the garage invasion was concerned, they were going to charge him with criminal trespass and burglary—the latter because he grabbed a shirt, a tattered old sun hat, and a pair of muddy clodhoppers to create his disguise as a gardener. So this means either they’ve trumped up the charges (not at all unlikely in the Arpaio regime) or that he actually did grab and attack someone.

And in the second place, as a witness, I’m instructed to call the “Gang Bureau” on the 19th to confirm that the trial is actually on for the following morning. Charming.

Pretty clearly this character is a dangerous thug of long standing. Not only that, but pretty clearly he’s a member of a violent gang. That means that showing up in court and testifying against him could put me at serious risk, not just from him but from his pals. And that risk may not only be immediate, it may be long-standing, as these guys take their time waiting for an opportunity to inflict revenge on me.

There’s no way I’m going to testify on phony charges, no matter how richly the guy deserves to be taken off the streets. So if the charges of kidnapping and aggravated assault stem from his adventures in my garage, we’re looking at a huge waste of everyone’s time and about $500 that I will lose for nothing.

If, however, the charges had to do with the armed robbery of the pawn shop he and his pals stuck up or with some other caper, then these gents truly are dangerous and could do me some serious harm.

Hm. Come to think of it… This casts a different light on a wacky little incident that took place a couple of nights ago. The doorbell at the front gate rang, after dark. Cassie went batshit. Looked out the front window and couldn’t see anyone, and the motion-sensitive light was off. A few minutes later it rang again: still no sign of a person out there.

The kids across the street at Pretty Daughter’s house were banging around across the street; she also has one of these battery-operated doorbells. I installed mine because Satan or an even more previous homeowner removed the hard-wired doorbell to the house. I had to jimmy it because hers rang on the same preset frequency, causing mine to go off every time any of her many relatives and friends would show up at her door. So I thought she must have adjusted the settings on hers and one of the kids’ friends rang it.

But later when I took the dog for a walk I realized you can walk right up to the gate and not turn that light on—I actually had to enter the gate before the motion sensor kicked on last night. However, the gate was hanging open when I went out…you’d think if someone had entered the gate, it would have turned on the light. If you were careful and savvy, you could, suppose, approach the gate without triggering the motion sensor by keeping your head way down.

A common strategy for burglars and home invaders around here is to ring your doorbell either to see if you’re home or to try to get you to open the door so they can push their way in. Usually they unscrew the lightbulbs in motion-sensitive lights around the doors, so that you can’t see them. But my light bulbs were in place and intact.

It’s mighty unlikely that Pretty Daughter has installed a new battery-run doorbell and, for unknown and highly unlikely reasons, fiddled with it in exactly the same way I’ve fiddled with mine. She’d have no reason to do so, and it would be a pretty weird coincidence if she flipped the same set of switches in the same order that I’ve flipped mine.

I don’t open my door to strangers. But there’s nothing to stop a vindictive sh!thead from shooting you through the door. Or through the window. Or, with the kind of arms gang members carry, right through your block wall. Or from throwing a pop bottle full of gasoline through your window.

So. This episode not only is going to cost me still more money, it may put me at some risk and certainly is going to cause additional worry. And cause me to revisit the question of whether I should sell this house and move.

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Author: funny

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  1. That’s rough and puts you in a very tough spot. Maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll do some plea deal before everything gets started.

    • Hmmm… Didn’t think of that. Hope so! The prosecutors in these parts really put on the pressure for plea deals — they pretty much bully people into admitting they committed crimes, whether they did or not. In the one case I know of personally, this resulted in a serious miscarriage of justice. But in this case…it’d be great.

  2. Oh man that sucks. Really sucks. I have a post coming up about my criminal history, but man, I never went into peoples’ homes or robbed them in that way. And I certainly didn’t hurt innocent, regular people. This is scary for you. Man, you make sure those doors of yours are locked tight, and the garage is closed. You know, you said, “Usually they unscrew the lightbulbs in motion-sensitive lights around the doors, so that you can’t see them.” That is accurate. We would do that when we broke into cars back in the day (I’m not proud of that, by the way). My advice is to install motion sensor lights and then have them placed in a location high up, where a 6′ dude couldn’t reach. That increases the chances that anyone who would unscrew the bulb, won’t take the time to unscrew one so high (they’d need a ladder or to climb on something), and just walk away.

    Hopefully you won’t have to really appear in court. That woudl suck. On the upside, if you do, they may not ever do any revenge stuff becuase it would be very obvious who it was. And they probably wouldn’t want that. So you might be okay.

    Man, this really sucks. I’m sorry. Be careful! Carry pepper spray!

    • Thanks, TB. That’s exactly the thought I had: have the electrician come around and install a light that’s out of reach. There are places in front and also on the side of the house where that could be accomplished. I hope my guy is still working…last I saw of him, he was looking pretty long in the tooth!

      Installing a couple new motion-sensitive lights would be one heckuva lot cheaper than moving. Or than installing cameras that would send images to an iPad or desktop.

      LOL! Speaking of cars (or their interiors) and pepper spray, I’ll have to tell you about the Great Pepper Spray Fiasco one day. 😀

  3. I think you’re working yourself into a frenzy. Calm down and take each
    aspect of this (the loss of income, the day of trial) and work through a plan. Life happens, it won’t be the first speed bump you’ve encountered.

  4. With any luck, you won’t be called to testify and all the worrying will be for naught. But wow – this guy broke into your garage and then went on to rob a pawn shop? I had no idea the big desert had gotten so violent and mean spirited!
    As for Sheriff Joe, is he up for election? I just cast my ballot to get rid of our own (less infamous, but also vile) sheriff today!

    • Actually, he was fleeing the police after sticking up a pawn shop at gunpoint.

      He and two accomplices led a flying phalanx of cops on a merry chase into our neighborhood. At one point they jumped out of the car, leaving it to idle down the street, and scattered into our housing tract.

      With the police hot on his tail, our guy leapt the wall into my back wall and took refuge in my garage. He actually might not have been caught had I not heard him, through the west wall, land on some brick-and-board potting shelves in the backyard.

      Yes, Arpaio’s facing a Democrat (Paul Penzone) and an Independent (Mike Stauffer). Unfortunately, Arizona hosts such a huge horde of knee-jerk Arpaio admirers that a three-way race virtually guarantees that he’ll hold onto the office. The Dems and the Independents divide the voters of good will, and so no single candidate can beat Arpaio. This is how the kookocracy gets control and keeps control here.

  5. Why don’t you tell your very real concerns to the DAs office?

    • @ Evan: Well, in the first place I don’t believe a judge is going to schedule a trial around the witnesses’ convenience.

      And in the second, the Superior Court here has explicitly stated, where jurors are concerned, that your losing income because you don’t get paid for showing up on the job is your problem, not the court’s. They do not excuse people for financial hardship just because serving on a jury will mean the loss of several days (or even weeks’) pay; why would they excuse a witness?

  6. I meant tell them you are in fear of your safety.

  7. Often the prosecutors inflate the charges to increase the chances that a plea deal will be struck. With the armed hold-up of the pawn shop and fleeing the police, your testimony will be the least of it, and pretty unlikely to inspire gang vengeance. When I was on jury duty, every single case got settled before trial, so you may even make your noon class.

    • Ah hah! Hope you’re right.

      Arizona is a three-strikes state, and we know the guy has been convicted at least once, because in 2010 he was charged with possession of a gun by a felon. I don’t know what became of that charge, or whether such possession would be a felony. But for sure, if he’s looking at 25 to life for conviction on even one of those charges, wouldn’t you think he’d fight it? A plea deal wouldn’t do him any good; it would make sense to go to trial.

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