Monday, July 12, 2010

MEXICAN STANDOFF!

Looking for a story that will lead you on and let you down? Then read ahead, bored web crawler.

Today I spent six hours in a real-life standoff.

I wasn't one of the cool guys holding the gun and calling it a MEXICAN STANDOFF! in the blog title is completely just to catch your eye, but I was there.

Where? New Hampshire. Nashua. Downtown. Morningside Drive. No, the standoff wasn't between old people.

I wake up at 7:30. I shave. I shower. I sit down for a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. My phone rings. It's my boss.

"CAM! YOU AWAKE? WE NEED YOU! THERE'S SO MUCH BLOOD!"

*actual conversation not recorded and therefore cannot be claimed to be entirely accurate

"Yes, I'm awake. I'm eating Cheerios."

"GOOD CHOICE FOR YOUR HEART! NOW DRIVE TO NASHUA! BLOOD!"

"I will be there in minutes."

I hang up. I finish my Cheerios. I move to the kitchen. Must think ahead. I pack lunch: four slices of turkey sandwich with honey mustard and lettuce on whole wheat bread, a granny-smith apple, Sweet and Spicy Doritos, a handful of baby carrots, and a Coke.

I check out Morningside Drive on Google Maps. Straight-left-roundaboutstraight-right-right. I'm ready for said blood.

I jump inside Blue Charlize. The Mini roars to life.

I'm there. The intersection of Taft and Clement is blocked off by police cruisers and armored cars. Two S.W.A.T. teams assemble. It's now 8:30.

Nothing happens for almost an hour. Then two deafening flash-bang grenades. Then another hour. Then 21 softer explosions said later to be tear gas.

I touch the police tape. Feels like yellow. News stations crowd around me. I talk to neighbors.

"HOLY BALLS! THERE'S GUNS AND SHIT!"

*again, conversation not recorded and only estimated for accuracy

I write. I approach another neighbor.

"I SEE POLICE! SCARY SCARY MORE NONDESCRIPT FEELINGS!"

I write. A suited bald policeman comes forward.

"I can't tell you anything I know and I really can't answer any specific questions."

I write. The story is coming together nicely.

An hour passes. I sweat. Black polo in 92-degree heat was a bad choice. Another hour passes. I eat my lunch in Charlize with my newly appreciated friend, AC. I chew chew choose the turkey sandwich. It's warm. So is everything else, boiled in the hot sun. I finish the hot mess and step outside when the policeman reappears.

"I will tell you what I told you before, but this time I'll say it differently."

I lick my pen and write, just like a cool newspaperman should. Boom. Words.

The night reporter shows up. He'll take over, he says. I do not argue. My eyes have seen enough bloodshed. I drive back the newsroom.

I sit. I write my story. My shift ends. The night reporter will add his tidbits and we will share the front page tomorrow. Success.

This partly fictional story is brought to you by news stories that sound really exciting when you hear about them but are actually mostly boring to cover because everyone says the same things and the cops rarely give out pertinent information. If you are more into facts and less into prose, visit this website.

1 comment:

Meg Power said...

OH THE HUMANITY!

nicely done. good to see life in nashua is keeping you on your toes.