Every trip - vacation, weekend getaway, business travel - has a story. If this were not a universal truth there would not be NEARLY as many travel blogs out there.
So here is the story of the New Hamp-sha trip:
My coworker, V, and I were headed to the tax-free mall at Exit 1 on Thursday evening when I got distracted by the Technicolor green, rolling countryside and missed the exit. Up to that point we'd toyed with the idea of driving into Boston, but neither of us could commit. Now that we'd missed Exit 1 and were officially in Massachusetts anyway I said, "Screw it. Let's go to Boston. We have GPS - what could happen?"
We pulled over, set the Garmon for the Ritz Carlton Boston Common - thinking that would land us in a pretty nice neighborhood - I said the shortest ever prayer to St. Christopher (I know he's been de-sainted, hold your calls and letters) and got back on 3 South.
The directions were perfect, we pull up at the Ritz, park at a pay lot and cross Tremont over into Boston Common (sort of a miniature Central Park). As we round the corner of the Visitor Information building* we see a policeman running toward us. V starts to back away. I notice he's chasing a kid in pants SO big he has to grab at them with both hands to keep them from falling down around his ankles.
This is funny to me. There's law enforcement in my immediate family, I was married to a cop (although he was a fireman while we were actually legally wed) and I have good acquaintances who are cops. All of these guys are middle-aged men at whom I would laugh off my sizable ass if I ever witnessed them running down some punk kid in baggy britches.
So I look at the cop, he looks at us, I look back at the kid aaaaaand...he has a gun.
Oh, shit. Ohshitohshitohshitohshit.
And the kid is headed toward us. And we are not far from crowds of children. Oh, shit.
As I turn around to beat a hasty retreat I hear, "Drop the gun!" and then "POP."
OMG. The cop. He shot the cop. So I turn back around - after maybe three steps - and the kid is wiggling around on the ground. Two other uniformed policemen had caught up with them and one had shot the kid...somewhere. Not critical, obviously.
I thought, "Thank God the cop is okay," turned around and walked away on extremely shaky legs.
V and I crossed the street and watched the crowd gather. I took her picture for posterity (it is truly odd the things you think to do when you aren't thinking at all) and we leaned against a Burger King while we tried to calm down.
Almost immediately I thought, "We should stay and offer statements. We definitely were the only people close enough - 20 yards maybe - to see exactly what happened." But did we see what happened? V was already walking away when the kid pulled the gun and I had my back to the action when the gun was fired. Nah. They don't need to talk to us.
But all during dinner at a Vietnamese diner that smelled like vomit, and the whole way back to Nashua the little Do The Right Thing Angel/Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder kept whispering, "You should have talked to the cops. You know that was The Right Thing To Do."
Let me just stop here and say that the Do The Right Thing voice in my head has landed me in as much trouble as it has saved me from. I don't know if my DTRT voice is louder than other people's, or if I am just incapable of tuning it out, but it nags me like a hag.
Anywho, we get back to the hotel and the first thing I do is call my bro-in-law in Yankee Land who is a cop. I told him the story - including the part where I didn't actually SEE the shooting - and he tells me to hang up and call Boston police.
"You may have been the only person to see the kid with the gun before he threw it away. The kid and some punk witness he'll come up with will swear the gun was planted. You could save the police a lot of trouble if you tell them you saw the gun."
Do the right thing.
So I call the Boston non-emergency number, get shuffled around. A lieutenant calls me back - twice - and pretty soon two detectives are on their way to my hotel at Exit 8. Except that the directions the lieutenant gives the detectives are to Exit 8 in MAINE. Almost three hours later - it is now almost 1:00 in the morning - two bleary-eyed Irish-American cops - living stereotypes of Boston law enforcement - show up in the lobby and take our statements. I wasn't too tired to notice that one was really cute.
The end of the story? Turns out the gun was fake. WHY would you A.) run from the police and B.) pull a fake gun on a cop carrying a REAL gun? I believe what I really witnessed was Natural Selection in action. Except that the officer who fired on the kid aimed to stop him not kill him. And who, might I add, showed amazing marksmanship and restraint.
And that's the story from this trip. Can't wait to leave town again and see what happens next.... NOT!
* The incident took place just to the right, outside the frame of this picture. We were standing to the right of the corner of that building. We were close. Freaking Scary Close.