07 Jul Brendan Adams
THE ANONYMOUS TIPSTER
Me: Film student at non-prestigious Montreal university. Also, Anonymous Tipster reporting secret Meth Lab.
Voice on other end of phone: 911 operator. Sounds like endearing and idealistic young woman working her way up the ranks. Wants to know what makes me think small, old upstairs neighbour running Meth Lab.
Me: Describe old man living upstairs, strange smells, men at all hours, dogs barking.
Voice: Sound of dogs barking not enough to satisfy Meth Lab claim.
Me: Should have said Noise Complaint. Original idea was to report Noise Complaint, but then panicked and said “Meth Lab.”
Voice: Unit being dispatched. Require name for records.
Me: Say, “Anonymous Tipster.” Always wanted to be Anonymous Tipster. Mention Anonymous Tipsters do not reveal their identities.
Voice: Unpleased. Still wants name and address. Says unit is on its way.
Me: Dogs barking upstairs. Calm impossible in face of barking. Afraid of voice on the other end doing hard trace of number, revealing identity, killing fantasy of being Anonymous Tipster. Hang up. Imagine the impending police raid of old man’s apartment. What if no meth lab? What if accident? Imagine gun being fired, little dogs made doggy orphans. Run upstairs to warn neighbour.
Neighbour: Answers door, looks up, looks confused. Air in apartment seems thick, like smoke but greasier. Hot wave of burning smell.
Me: Notice small hat neighbour is wearing. A yarmulke? Wonder if old man is Rabbi. Wonder if all this is just big cultural misunderstanding. Wonder if just called police on Rabbi. Wonder what burning gelfite fish smells like?
Neighbour: Playing with hearing aid. Dogs running circles around our feet.
Me: High level of stress in narrow stairwell. Hate self. Want to tell old man the truth. Hoping he would recommend self-forgiveness.
Neighbour: Speaking loudly. Hearing aid malfunctioning. Wants to know what I want.
Me: Still haven’t said anything. Knocked on door and stood there. Panicking again. Finally opening mouth. Ask if I can walk dogs.
Neighbour: Doesn’t understand.
Me: Explain dogs are always barking. Maybe dogs need exercise.
Neighbour: Disappears from doorway. Long wait. Comes back with leash.
Me: Take dogs outside. Hear sirens approaching. Imagine old man opening door expecting me, finding police instead. Unsure what would happen next. Old man might just be Rabbi, probably never was any Meth Lab. But what if old man evil mastermind? Rabbi would be perfect disguise. Imagine old man sitting for years in prison cell, plotting revenge against me. To be safe, might have to move to new country, change name. Really should have reported Noise Complaint. Just realized possibly allergic to dogs.