Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Peeping Toms

Sooner or later, every neighborhood has its Peeping Tom. Idlewild had its Peeping Tom in the late 1950s. Sometimes, Peeping Toms never get caught: this one did.

Whenever one of the neighbors on 157th Street spotted the Peeping Tom, it seemed to take forever for the police to show up. When they did, the perp would be long gone. Finally, all the neighbors on the street got together and came up with a plan: Since my father was a cop, they would call him first the next time the Peeping Tom was spotted.

A few nights later, the phone rang. It was one of the neighbors: the Peeping Tom was hiding in the bushes, looking in the window of the house right across the street from us! It was the perfect opportunity for my father to nail the creep; however, my father wasn't home. He was at his favorite hangout, the local beer garden on the corner of Rockaway Blvd. and 158th Street. My mother called him up at the bar, passed on the message, and told my brother and I to stay away from the window. Fat chance!

We saw the Peeping Tom crouching in the bushes. A few minutes later, we saw our father staggering around the corner on his way to apprehend the Peeping Tom. My father was lucky: the Peeping Tom surrendered without a fight.

Thirty years later, when my wife, kids and I were renting a house in the Tampa Bay area, I found myself in a worse predicament than my father was!

At one o-clock in the morning, my teenage daughter woke us up, screaming, "There's a man outside my window!"

I jumped up out of bed, ran out the door, and tried to catch the Peeping Tom. I ran around the entire house, but didn't see him. It was then that I noticed my own predicament: all I had on was an undershirt!

The heck with the Peeping Tom! I was lucky to get back into my house, red-faced, bare-assed and all, without getting arrested for indecent exposure!

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