When my parents were visiting a few weeks ago, we all crammed into the car and drove to a nearby town for lunch, to be followed by a family hike. Lunch ended predictably, with Miss E screaming about something. A blue marker not being the right blue marker, I think? The detail doesn’t matter so much as the pitch of the screaming. I carried her outside while the rest of our party paid; she screamed and screamed – now mad that we left the restaurant against her will. A stranger on the street took an interest. “Hey, little girl!” he yelled. I assumed that he wanted to make her laugh. (He was destined to fail.) I gave him a friendly shrug, in that “toddlers, what can you do?” way. She just screamed.
I walked past him toward the car. And then he got weird. “Hey!” he kept yelling. “Come back here!” He started following, as my family caught up to us. He wasn’t quick, but he was dogged. And high. Definitely quite high. I urged my family to move faster to our car, parked 100 yards away. My husband (who’s taken about five forms of martial arts and is probably just itching to maim someone) ambled along, now carrying Miss E (yes, still screaming). He remained unconcerned about the greasy-haired menace behind us. “What could that guy do to us?”
I’m not so sure he’s not a zombie, I thought. “Just go!” I frantically commanded. Finally, everyone buckled up in the car, we took off. The zombie began to write something onto the dirt of the car behind us. “I think it’s our license plate number,” my husband joked.
I flipped on the GPS on my phone; naturally, it took us in a very large circle. Five minutes later, we cruised past the scene of the (potential) crime. The police had been summoned. The zombie wildly gesticulated – pointing first at the space where our car had been and then at the dirt where he had scrawled, wait, did he really write down our license plate number? He didn’t notice our return, and we glided silently by.
Since we were never pulled over, I presume the police were not alarmed by the report of a white family kidnapping a black toddler from the local diner. Or perhaps we’re still on the lam.