The Greatest Hustles 2

May 8, 2010 4:17

It’s after six. I’m walking back from the Arb to downtown Ann Arbor. At the corner of Thayer and North University a young street kid approaches me. He asks to use my phone to report a crime.

I’m weary. I have lost enough already.

I size him up—young, but tattered. “I tried to use the emergency call box,” he points toward campus, “but it didn’t work.”

I wonder if I could out run this kid, half my age, in my sandals with my messenger bag dragging me down. If I’m quick enough I can trip him.

He says his girlfriend was almost raped.

I hand him my phone. He takes it, turns, and briskly walks away. I stay close.

I dread having the cops call me back. I dread having to explain I have no idea what’s going on. I wonder if 911 is advanced enough yet to go to the nearest routing center instead of Dallas where I’m from.

A young girl at a nearby table thanks me, “that’s very kind of you.”

He dials three digits. “I want to report a crime. My 16 year old girlfriend was almost raped. Yes. At the apartments near Thayer. Yes. This guy tried to rape her. Thayer. Thanks.”

He gives back my phone. Thanks me and turns back. I continue to the coffee shop.

I can’t concentrate on my work. I am amazed that the call went so smoothly. I wonder how the campus emergency phone is not working. Did the call actually connect to Ann Arbor’s 911 call center? I check my outgoing call log.

He didn’t make a call.

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