and by good people I mean all people. We're all good, and when we do bad things for good reasons, we're not bad, just misguided, by family, by friends, and by eternal rivers of crap from the media.
Someone stole my son's laptop. Yeah, it was at least half his fault for leaving it outside on the back patio, but the other half of blame must certainly be bestowed upon the one who lifted it, whom I am tempted to call a scumbag just because it feels good.
A plan had to be worked out to get it back, and for that you need a little back story.
For the first ten years of his life, my son Max (now 15) was raised far from civilization, beyond the reach of even city buses. He absolutely had to take the school bus home or he'd be stuck in town, so he never got to hang out after school and make friends. This hermit-like existence was fine for me, I just wanted peace and quiet to write, but it was bad for him, especially if you believe that half what they teach in school is YOU MUST OBEY, so social educational is half the reason for attendance. Max missed out on the social.
Now that we've moved to an actual city, Seattle, not just a city but a GREAT city, he's going out of his mind on the social end. He's never been able to simply invite friends home after school. Now he can't stop, there are lots of them, and since we moved into a pretty cool place, they keep coming back. Many of the regulars I've gotten to know, and I've ended up enjoying the social life too, making friends with teenagers, what's not to like.
Then Buster came back from a one year journey to Louisiana. Can't blame him. I myself must have left home at least two or three times till it took. He's 21, I've missed him, good to have him around, and he too has been marveling at the quantity and quality of the new friends Max has made.
In my new role as manager of a community center, I've had to lay down guidelines, no smoking in the house, everyone gone by 10 on schooldays, when I'm in the living room, I'm in charge of the TV, no eating from our refrigerator, that sort of thing, but it's become complicated by some friends who turn out to be homeless and want to crash on the patio. I've said no, not because I'm heartless, but because once that snowball gets rolling, it could turn into a landslide that buries us. There simply isn't enough room and neighbors have already complained.
Then Buster's laptop was gone. Yeah, one thief can ruin the whole thing. I consider shutting the whole thing down. I told Max "Someone wasn't just walking by and happened to come onto the patio in our backyard. Since everyone here has been invited, that means someone has invited a thief. You might not know who did it, but you know who invited them. Here's your assignment. We will either get the computer back or I will get an apology from whoever invited the thief, and I have no problem calling the cops."
The next day, a whole bunch of people from school showed up, some invited, some not, all hanging out in the backyard. I asked Max who they were. He said some of them he specifically DIDN'T invite. I said "Invite all the people you're sure about, your actual friends, into the house." He invited them in and I knew them all, good kids, glad to have them around. The rest were outside. I opened the door and told them "You guys have got to split, and don't come back unless you're invited," purposely not mentioning the computer, letting them figure it out by themselves.
It must be pointed out the computer is completely useless to anyone but Buster. There's nothing on it but music, retrievable, and his personal writing, irretrievable. It has no bottom, the CD drive is busted, and the fan doesn't work, so it can only be run while sitting on top of another full sized fan or it gets too hot and turns itself off in one minute. No pawnshop on earth would touch it and worthless to whomever took it, that's how theft goes, the stolen item worth more to the victim than the thief trading on their misery.
This morning, the laptop was there on the doorstep. I presume I will never know who took it, though Max might. I also presume this was some sort of game or power trip and not the work of an actual thief. Somebody convinced them to give it back. They did a bad thing, then a good thing. Maybe they had a good reason. Maybe they had a bad reason. Maybe they would have kept it if they could have sold it. I only know I must have sent out the right messages because this is the right ending.
Type away, Buster, type away.