04 September 2013


"Don't. Move."

I whipped my head around to look and saw the absolute last thing any homeowner ever wants to see:

Code Enforcement.

I stood there frozen, dumbly watering my lawn on the other side of the street's day to water, before my wife screamed.


We both bolted inside, the wan flashing yellow light on the code enforcement truck slowly working its way up the street.

I paused at the front door to unscrew the hose from the faucet. We had to get rid of the evidence. My hands were slick with panic-sweat and hosewater; I could barely free the hose from the threads before the truck was on top of us.

Actually the truck was still two houses down but they for sure had seen us.

I threw the front door open to a scene of chaos. As my eyes adjusted to the light I realized the house was full of paraphernalia. Sprinkler fittings? Counterfeit watering schedules? Night watering gear? I grabbed as much as I could and, with the hose trailing behind me ran to the bathroom to try and flush everything.


I was letting out a torrent of obscenities as I flushed the offending garden hose down the toilet, 25 feet at a time. I heard a car door slam; we were running out of time.

My wife had ripped the sprinkler timer from the wall and was busy trying to get rid of it upstairs. There was enough here to put us away for life.

The doorbell! We were too late. I ran a hand through my hair and tried to gain my composure. I bolted to the front door as my wife came rushing down the stairs. I reached for the doorknob and realized we had missed a giant piece of evidence. My "PLAN FOR IGNORING MUNICIPAL WATERING RESTRICTIONS" was still on the giant dry-erase board in the foyer! I grabbed my wife by the shoulders and stood her in front of the word "IGNORING." The doorbell again - more insistent this time.

I told myself,

"Everyone be cool. All smiles."

I opened the door.

The code enforcement officer shoved a warrant in my face - fake no doubt - and started asking a lot of hard questions.

"I noticed some water running down the street."

That wasn't technically a question but it had me swallowing hard and searching for an explanation.

"You notice anyone on your side of the street watering today?"

They didn't know! If we could play it cool for a few minutes they'd never know.

"I saw some teenagers watering peoples' lawns, earlier. Both sides of the street. They smelled like marijuana."

It was a perfect gambit. Code Enforcement would never mix it with a dangerous gang of drug-fueled youths. They'd have to pass that off to Major Cases, and they're so tied up with double-homicides and petty burglary that they'd never follow-up.

"You folks stay safe."

I looked at the warrant he handed me as he walked off. Another watering schedule!

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