Huh. Well, the gate *has* been staying open at night lately. It's a shortcut to my building, which is why I use it. Maybe management had a problem with trespassers. Or somebody got robbed. I pull around the front entrance. I can't find my key card -- been a while since I used it -- but somebody more impatient than I am buzzes me in. Other people are driving out at the same time. Lots of activity for after midnight. Usually when I come home the place is a tomb. Shrug. I start to drive back to my apartment. Then I realize that many of the cars I'm seeing have special paint jobs and light bars (off) on top. Wow, I think to myself, there sure are a lot of cops here. Then I think: this can't be good. A cop on foot motions for me to stop. I do. He walks up to my window.
"What's going on?" says Your Hero.
"What do you need, sir?" says the cop.
I show him my driver's license. "I live here. I just got off work at the medical examiner's office."
"Where do you live?" he says. "What building?"
"Oh," he says, "you can't go there."
Not words anyone ever wants to hear. "What's up?"
"We've got a hostage situation," says the cop. "Guy's armed. We think with an AK-47."
Oh. "Um, where is he?"
"Er, which building? They all have apartment K2s. Like, I'm in building 1, and my apartment is 1J1..."
Right next to me. Crap.
"Okay," I say. "I'll head back to the office until this blows over. Can I get out?"
"Yeah," he says. "But we're locking the place down. You won't be able to get back in again."
Fine by me. I turn the car around and head for the gate. There are two patrol cars blocking it now. A patrolman looks at me.
I get out of the car. "Hey. Can I get out of here?"
"Hang on," he says. He talks into his radio mike, then gets in his car. He and the other patrolman back their cars up. I drive slowly toward the gate.
It doesn't open.
I back up. Try again. Same result.
"Er," he says, looking embarrassed, "I think they've locked the system down."
"It's all right," I say.
Quickly, I call the office on my cell. "Medical Examiner's," says the guy I handed the beeper to about half an hour ago.
"Hey, man. Listen, you haven't gotten a call out to my part of town, have you? Like a heads-up or anything?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Long story short: I did the only logical thing. I sat in the car and waited. And waited. Eventually, they got the gate open. When the SWAT guys started coming in. I decided to stick around in case, God forbid, somebody got shot. If nothing else, I could give the guy on call really detailed directions.
So I sat, and waited, and waited, and it was cold and I didn't have a sweater, and more SWAT guys came and crime scene tape went up, and I kept waiting. And, dammit, I was tired.
I fell asleep.
I woke up about three hours later. The cops were gone. The gate was open. It looked as if nothing had happened. The guy at my office never heard about it, except from me. Apparently everyone came through with life and limb intact.
I made it back to the apartment. It's quiet. My roommates work nights, so they should be getting home at some point. I can't give 'em the whole story. I don't even know what happened. So I'm waiting again. The news isn't up on the local media web sites, but it should make the morning update. Dunno what I'll do till then.
Maybe I'll take a nap.