... He grinned.
"Don't even worry about that, ma'am," the sheriff's deputy said gently. "Bigger problems -- there's a thief that resembles Burt Reynolds wearing a clown suit running through the neighborhood, and he's trying to get through your back door."
Oh. So, that's why my four-year-old was trying to get me to click the clown off.
It was a long story I didn't even know was going on, because at this time in my life I couldn't afford to have big birthday parties for my children -- sort of a parable about how the other half of society lives and what they pay for the privilege -- this particular thief did Burt Reynolds impersonations and also offered a clown service for parties, all for the purpose of getting into homes with money for birthday parties and casing them.
It had all come apart because a child like mine had recognized him: "Oh yeah, you're the clown who was taking presents out of the house next door -- did you bring me one?"
The chase had commenced there, and had been going block to block for hours. This clown had robbed a lot of folks.
The mob in pursuit of this man had grown to lynch mob proportions. I could hear them coming now, the angry voices and the demand for blood.
"He's just trying to find a place to get in and hide at this point -- even holding hostages wouldn't help at this point," said the deputy, "but I need you and your child out of harm's way, and you see I am speaking very quietly to not tip that off."
"Hey -- let's go to the candy store, sweetheart!"
And I walked away with my child, away from the mob and the sheriff's deputy, and went to the candy store. When we got back, it was all over. The home was quiet, and someone had left a note.
"Next time, don't try to get over by the ash tray, because unless I know have a reason to bend over and smell what brand of cigarettes you smoke, I won't, ma'am."