It was a bit of a crazy end to a manic day at the ranch last night.
It was about 8:30pm. I heard some commotion outside. After a couple of minutes, I went out onto the balcony to see what was going on.
I noticed a bloke staggering up the street, ranting and raving and barking at shadows and any innocent pedestrians who happened to be in his line of sight.
He was showing all the signs of someone who’d popped something a little heavier than an orange-flavoured Vitamin C.
He got about halfway up the street when two others, a young man and woman, came around the corner.
At that point, old mate changes path and makes a beeline for them. He starts invading the personal space of the female. She starts protesting this and pushes him away. He persists and at this point I start to get a tad concerned for her welfare. Red Flag 1.
They get about 50 metres down the road when it becomes apparent, they’re all in the same group. A group of 3. At a time of enforced social distancing law. Red Flag 2.
If they’re trying to go incognito, they’re doing a poor job of it. At one point a car attempts to leave the street. Old mate gets up alongside the driver’s side and with the window down, he reaches in and has his hands all over the steering wheel. For his next trick, he’s jumping around in front of the car. Red Flag 3.
Within minutes, the trio are at the end of the street. There’s an undercover garden-bed there with a thigh-high ledge. Days earlier, a homeless man decided it would be a good spot to hang out as a storm came through.
Their mere gathering and flaunting of the current health-enforced rules is starting to infuriate me. I watch them all appear to take a pill each. But the final straw is the abuse, and what sounded like racial taunts being thrown at a passing delivery cyclist which is the final straw. Red Flag 4.
I remember checking the time. It’s 9pm. The original agitator is off chops. He’s pacing up and down the street. Hitting the phones. His GPS map would have been impressive. I notice that on the garden ledge a series of what appears to be phones and packets is laid out in a row.
22 minutes later, things heat up. There are two ways to get into the street. Lucky for these guys, the police approached from the end where they had a visual. In a mad scramble and panic, they’re hurriedly packing up their things. They run up the street and into the entry lobby to the apartment complex across the road. Clearly there’s a bit more going on here.
Old mate is desperately punching a code into the security pad. Nothing’s working. They strike luck when a resident walks out. They scurry inside as the police look at empty space where they were previously sitting.
The police get back in their car and drive off. But at the end of the street, they turn around and come back for a second look. The boys in blue are now trying to get into the building. A resident lets them in. He chats to the cops. The gang has vanished. The police leave.
And of course, that’s when the action really kicks in.
They walk back out. This time there’s four of them. A few minutes later, a white sedan creeps up the street. Old mate gets in. They drive about 50 metres to the end of the street. He gets out and the car leaves. He walks back to the group. A transaction has been done. Everyone except the fourth player goes back inside. He stands nearby, on his phone. He’s doing his best to make it look like he has nothing to do with anyone else on the street.
Six minutes later. They re-emerge. Now there’s a fifth player. He’s in blue shorts and red shoes. The woman runs back to the garden-bed. She’s in a panic. She’s anxiously scanning the garden-bed.
She returns to the scene and joins red shoes. They’re at the door of the apartment complex waiting to be let in. Then it gets comical. Mr red shoes drops what he’s holding. Cash. Lots of it. It’s scattered all over the entrance to the apartment complex. As they pick it up, original old mate comes to grab the last of the big notes and lets them in.
30 seconds passes. They exit again. Now there’s even more of them. A new dude leads the way. He heads straight across the street to a parked car.
The man and woman who were part of the original group wait outside. They’re literally no more than 10 metres from the fourth guy who is still standing on his own looking at his phone.
They wait. He lights a smoke. Pulls out a hoodie. She sits next to him as though she doesn’t have a care in the world.
On an adjacent street, a white car, seemingly identical to the white sedan from earlier approaches. It slows down. Toots its horn. Keeps going. It’s back in my street in the time it takes to turn the corner.
Another minute goes by. Now here comes Mr red shoes. By this stage he’s thrown on one of those hat that’s kind of a beanie thing. He’s got a spring in his step. Original old mate follows him. He’s carrying a bag and is disorientated. Ends up finding the fourth guy – the one who’s been waiting outside on his phone. He says something to him. Walks his way. Fourth man points up the street and they walk off together. The man and the woman trail about 10 paces behind.
The white car pulls up. Mr Original and Fourth Dude get in that. The man and woman get in the car across the street.
Two cars take off. The cops never returned.
After a day in isolation, this is legitimate late night entertainment. Sure beats anything on Netflix.