Parole Search

True story. This happened a few weeks ago.

On a Friday afternoon, the doorbell rings. Six cops are outside, four in plainclothes, two in uniform.

“Open up. Parole search,” one of them says through the security gate.

“Parole search?”

“Open up.”

I’ve lived in the US for more than 12 years, but suddenly I’m not sure if the police have the right to enter your home—don’t they at least need a warrant?

“What’s going on here?” I ask.

“Someone at this address is on parole.”

“It’s just me, my wife, and our daughter that live here.”

The two uniformed cops step forward. They’re carrying guns and one of them is wearing a bulletproof vest.

“Open up.”

My wife appears beside me, holding our baby. “Are you sure you’ve got the right address?”

Turns out, they’re looking for our neighbors.

“The white van was parked wrong,” one of the cops explains.

The white van he’s referring was parked in front of our house earlier today by an undercover cop, to identify their target.

Our neighbors are Bob and Dave. Bob’s in his sixties, Dave in his forties. They sleep during the day and at night strange visitors stop by—men in hooded sweaters who ring the doorbell and leave again moments later. I always thought Bob and Dave sold drugs, but it turns out they also steal cars. The cop I’ve been conversing with puts on a pair of Top Gun sunglasses and says he’s sorry for the inconvenience.

As I close the door and head upstairs to peek out from behind the curtains in the living room, my wife says, “How many times have I asked you to trim the bush out front? You can’t even see what number we are. We’ve been getting mail for the neighbors for weeks.”