Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Great Avocado Heist

Never a dull moment....

Today at work I was approached by 3 police officers who gave me the description of a fellow and asked if I'd seen him. I immediately knew who they were talking about and I had, in fact, just seen him. He's an addict/dealer(?) who uses the mall for "business" (it's so obvious). He makes/receives calls on the pay phone, rides a bike around that has an aluminum baseball bat hanging from it and holds "meetings" with people in their cars in the parking lot. He also tends to sleep on the bench in between calls and often frequents the sushi bar for free green tea.

Anyhow, he's always polite to me when he buys tickets so, to be honest, I don't have a problem with him. My rule of thumb is be courteous to me and I'll reciprocate...the rest is his business. And the cops don't seem to care about it, so why should I? Irresponsible attitude, but I've tried and can't save the world on my own.

Normally, mind you, I tend to see red when I encounter drug dealers - my past history with them has me fully aware that they're usually ruthless, heartless people who'll threaten innocent family members of those who owe them money. Those nights spent following Dad to dark alleys to pay off guys who couldn't draw blood from my brother's stone had me cringe and wonder how some of them sleep at night. I don't think they do. Anyhow,they put my family through hell, but that was all courtesy of my brother and I put the blame on him, as much as I do them.

This guy, though, isn't about making money...he just needs enough to get his fix. He doesn't drive a flashy sports car or live in a mansion...he rides a rickety old bike and is sickly, thin and haggard. And, somewhere, deep down I feel sorry for him. I know I shouldn't, but I do. He tries to be decent.

Anyhow, today he'd been through the mall several times and I knew he was wasted because he usually nods or says hello and today he didn't...he had his head down and was mumbling to himself....."big toe, big toe". He was on his bike - not riding it, but pushing it along with one leg, the other on the pedal. I don't bat an eye at his behavior anymore - it's often quite erratic. And today I was already "in the zone" as "N" (the other drug addict who frequents the place) had already been in before him. She's fallen off the wagon and before she asked to use my phone today she apologized for her "state"...she said she was trying to get off methadone and had relapsed on H. But she said she'll keeping trying..."for you". Then, several minutes later, she was over by the payphone, sobbing. Trying to alternately put her legs up on the phonebooth and tie her shoes. She was failing, miserably. Why does my heart ache for these people? (I guess it's all tied in to watching my brother go through this stuff and knowing that these are real, kind hearted people behind the drug behavior).

So, back on track here....

I watched the drama unfolding outside and soon there were several police cars and a ghost car on the scene, with a couple of dogs sniffing around outside. Word was that the veggie store had been robbed. Now, that didn't make sense because, seriously, how much money can you expect from a fruit stand? And here I am, situated a couple of doors down in a little kiosk that deals in thousands...didn't make sense.

After a whole lot of hearsay and chaos, I got the inside scoop from my friend who works at the bakery next door to the produce stand that was hit and who'd been the one to call police...a guy had come in, plunked his gun on the counter and demanded.......

an AVOCADO!!!!!

Yep, you read it right. An AV-O-CA-DO.


The clerk nervously went and got him one and he then put away his piece, hopped on his bicycle and rode off....definitely a bigtime WTF moment. Veggie lady wasn't even going to call police but my bakery friend convinced her that they should, because a weapon had been involved.

Ty made a good point....why didn't he just steal the avocado? least it isn't a felony.

It made me stop and think about how crazy it's getting around here. I'm also reassessing my safety and how truly vulnerable I am at this job...the mall's half empty, with nothing in there but two hair dressers, the sushi bar, a couple of banks and my booth. The jewelry store owners (who'd been there 30 years) felt so uneasy about the way the neighbourhood's changing that they moved out at Christmas. And, although I'm viewed by the druggies/undesirables as fairly "neutral" and of no threat, drugs and desperation make people do crazy things at times. I thought back to a robbery that happened just before I started my job...masked men ran in, past the kiosk with guns drawn and held up the jewelry store (that we shared an entrance with). The girl on duty at the time saw the robbers rush the door and she bolted....left the booth and high tailed it out of there (which is exactly what I'd do, despite my boss's instructions to lock the place down). This latest incident has me wondering if the whole world's going nuts?? Or if I should watch my back a little closer.

The cops spent the better part of this morning going through the garbage (for peels?) and scoured the area pretty thoroughly. By the afternoon, it was business as usual...things had settled down and the cops left.

I imagine that dude had long since pedalled his ass home and made guacamole.

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Anonymous kelly said...

i understand it..i love avacado...filled with tuna and mayo....or crab and mayo

11:06 PM  
Blogger Whitenoise said...

Maybe they should dust the melons and cantelope for prints?

5:51 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

You two boys are funny. :)

7:56 AM  
Blogger Gledwood said...

Bloody hell! And I'd assumed that title was a joke!

Thanks for the moral support Debs I can't believe in a sense that going for a simple evening out at the radio station had to be such a song and dance; on the other hand I still can't believe I actually went!

12:42 PM  

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