From where I sit, this house looks like all the others along the tree-lined suburban street. It is a cool, calm night. I know such nights can be dangerously deceptive.
I step out of my squad car. The peace of the night is broken by blaring music. The neighbors got that much right. I walk up to the front door. I pause a moment taking note of the unusual curlicue doorknocker.
As I raise my hand to the knocker, the door opens. A young fellow in a toga stumbles out and vomits on the lawn. Great, this is some sort of frat party. The last thing I want to deal with tonight is a bunch of drunken college kids.
I step through the wide open door into a crowded living room. To my surprise, a middle aged man is looks to be holding court upon an expensive leather sofa. His cheeks are red. His engorged midsection is straining to break free of the bed sheet turned toga wrapped around him. He even sports a vine of grape leaves like a crown across his brow. Wine bottles lay scattered about him. His stemmed glass is nearly empty. But fear not, a young woman, lounging at his side, carefully, cautiously refills it.
Not your typical frat party, after all.
“Excuse me, sir,” I address the room’s centerpiece.
“Good evening, officer,” he replies.
“Good morning would be more appropriate. Listen, we’ve had complaints from the neighbors about the noise.”
“Sorry, my good man. We shall turn it down forthwith.”
He waves a hand in the direction of a furry legged young man. Quite a good costume this one has. I wonder how he managed to squeeze his feet into those little hooves. What are those goat-legged guys called? I can’t remember. The music dies down to a low hum.
“It is not just the music,” I continue, “current Covid-19 regulations in this county prohibit gatherings of more than . . .”
My last few words are drowned out by a groan from the goat-legged man. I look over and watch him stumble to the floor.
“Is he all right?” I ask.
“Oh, Pan is fine.” the fellow opposite replies. “You can ignore him. I try to. What were you saying, before, about the regulations?”
“What I mean is,” I straighten my belt and put on my most commanding voice, “the party has to end.”
The man looks at me confused for an instant. Then, he burst into laughter. The sound echoes around the newly subdued house.
He tries to calm himself. Failing, he bursts out in laughter once again.
“Oh, ha ha, ha ha ha ha. That is a good one.” He finally manages a discernable sentence. “Pan, did you hear? The party end, that is a good one. For a second officer, I thought I might have to kill you. But my,” he begins to chuckle again, “what a good joke.”
“Kill me?” I blurt out. “Is that a threat sir?”
The fellow falls back into his uncontrollable revelry.
“I need to step outside for a moment,” I declare. I am going to need backup.