Cynthia Maddux came puffing into the coffee shop this morning. Her frame filled the 36 inch doorway up to five and a half feet. A lot of woman in a weathered green picture frame. She was dumbfounded, if that means “found dumb”, and upset. She rushed to the counter and asked Andrea if she could use the shop’s phone. Sweet Andrea asked why.
“I need to call the police.”
“Louis threw my i.d. away. Tho’ed it in the damn street.”
“Did he steal it first?”
“No, I lost it tween here and the Salvation Army. Musta dropped out of my pants pocket after breakfast while I was walking down here.”
“So, Cynthia, I’m not following where the police need to be involved.”
“Well, Louis found it, and he don’t like me. So he seen it was me cuz my i.d. and all was in the wallet insert. And just to be mean he tho’ed it in the street. And that’s ignorant, if ya ask me.”
“Well, how do you know all this? Did he tell you?”
“Oh no, he told Kelly and she told me. So I went back where she said he tho’ed it and I couldn’t find it so I’m callin’ the cops now.”
“Okay, but is that a crime?”
“Well, yeah, he should of gaven it back to me. It’s identity theft. But no, he goes and gets all ignorant!”
“Okay, um, here’s the phone.”
Cynthia dialed up 911 like she had won a prize on a cruise ship Bingo game, thrilled with her momentary dramatic importance. “Jackpot Bingo!!!” She was in the eye of her own hurricane. It don’t get no better ‘n this, and it wasn’t even 9 a.m. yet.
In a very loud, hurt, injured voice Cynthia retold her story of injustice, leaving out critical words like “I lost my wallet” and instead substituting “He stole it”. It was all she could do not to start smoking again or start breaking up the furniture like she used to do before court ordered anger management classes. She was retained three times before she got her certificate of graduation because the teacher was such a jerk wad. Rumor was that the teacher was getting angry with her sulking and just passed her to get rid of her.
Ten minutes later four Boro policemen and an intern wannabe swarmed the coffee shop. They wanted to interview Cynthia and get to the heart of the crime. As if auditioning for “One Life To Live”, Cynthia told them all the tragic story again, which was the third time for Andrea to hear it as she tried to serve customers, who wedged their way through the blue line of law enforcement at the table near the door. Cynthia added dramatic pauses and extra detail with each swing at the drama piñata, even suggesting that Louis might be off his medication and maybe responsible for an unsolved murder that happened behind the Salvation Army last year.
The cops and wannabe were incredulous. “So you lost your wallet? He didn’t actually steal it, Ma’am?”
“Yeah, but he stole my identity. I mean every card I own was in his hands. And he knows me. He was just being ignorant and tho’ed it into the street.”
“But, Ma’am, that is not a crime, unless maybe it’s littering.”
“He didn’t return it to me. That ain’t right. I mean it’s wrong. It’s as good as stealing in my book. I been violated.”
The lead cop tried to reason with this “victim”.
“Ma’am, now I understand that he wasn’t exactly a Good Samaritan, but he doesn’t have to be. He’s not legally required to return it to you as long as he’s not keeping it from you or running up bills on your cards. You know what I’m saying?”
Cynthia puckered her big lips as he spoke. Her brown eyes were staring holes in the wall behind the cop’s head. She pouted and then looked away in disgust, “Yep, I gotcha. You ain’t gonna do nothing to the Bad Samaritan. That sonofabeeoch is gonna go scot free after thoing my i.d. in the street like it was trash. He’s not even gonna git a littering citation. Oh I understand all right.”
“Ma’am, we’d like to help, but there is no crime here.”
“Yeah, yeah, I hear y’all. No crime, no work, no paperwork. I got it. Louis goes free after stealing my identity.”
“Okay, Ma’am. We’re gonna go now. You have a nice day.”
Actually, despite her many protests Cynthia was having the best day she’d had in months. Four Boro cops and a wannabe straggler waited on her every word. This was exceptional drama for her and she bathed in it like a hot tub of Oil of Olay.
As the flock of cops left the coffee shop, Cynthia asked Andrea if she could use the phone again so she could call her circle of drama friends to tell them of the awful injustice she had just endured. Man, she had a heck of a day ahead of her and could hardly contain her joyous indignation.
Which is when I entered the joint. Cynthia was blabbing intently on the house phone as Andrea snickered to me, “You are gonna love this one.”
She was right.