"Yeah, can I help you?"
"Social security number XXX-YY-ZZZZ?" At this point, I'm wondering who's dead. I asked who he was. He pulled out his card. "Officer Ben Dover (real name) (not really, I'm protecting his anonymity) (actually that's not true either, I just don't remember his real name, otherwise I'd gladly use it - I have no respect for others' privacy) from the Ellisville police department." Unmarked car, plain clothes.
I invited him in. He proceeded to tell me about how he'd tracked me down via my former apartment manager, who knew my butcher, who was friends with my baker, who's sister dated my candlestick maker, who knew my address. He said they had a guy in custody who had stolen my identity and was opening accounts, renting vehicles, etc. under my name.
I immediately freaked out. I'd heard stories of how this happened fairly regularly, but it had never happened to me. I'd never lost my wallet, never left my credit cards anywhere... nothing.
The cop said this guy had gotten a driver's license, gym membership, etc. using my name, but hadn't charged anything to any of my current accounts, banged my wife, or anything else of a malicious nature.
Well, maybe he had banged my wife. I didn't know for sure. But anyway.
Just then, the doorbell rang. My brain still swimming, I left the cop sitting in the kitchen for a minute while I headed to the door, prepared to bust some Jehovah's Witness cap. I never anticipated what I'd see next.
Skinny legs, fluffy white feathers, beak. Your standard run-of-the-mill Gallus Domesticus. Well, I should say, a guy dressed up in a chicken suit.
I took one hesitant step backward, while quickly replaying the last few minutes in my head.
Cop tracked me down. Stolen identity.
Man in chicken suit at door.
Yep. It was all true. For a moment, I contemplated the possibility that I had slipped deep into the Twilight Zone. Next, I considered that huffing whipped cream from aeresol cans throughout my adolescent years had taken its toll.
Then, I became suspicious. It crossed my mind that these two guys could be working in cahoots, looking for unsuspecting people to rob or pillage. Or, that my friends had been busy planning some sort of retribution for something.
So with chicken man in plain sight, I looked back into the kitchen, half expecting to see that the cop had changed into a gorilla suit and was rifling through drawers, pocketing silverware. That was not the case, he was quietly sitting at the table where I had left him.
"Can I help you?"
Off came the chicken head. It was Bill, the Schwann's man, making the rounds, taking orders, delivering food.
In a goddamn chicken suit.
Side note: It must have been a real shitty day when Bill - a grown man making 10 dollars an hour driving around in a smelly, faded mascot outfit selling frozen food door-to-door - realized that he had made such a serious vocational error.Despite it all, I was curiously calm. This was, I reassured myself, simply a set of coincidental circumstances that, in a billion years, could never be repeated.
I told Bill we didn't need anything this week, but that he made a really good-looking chicken. He laughed and informed me he had studied method acting in college. He went on his way.
I then went to the phone and called the number on the cop's business card, just to make sure he WAS an officer. It all checked out.
The cop told me he needed nothing from me... the suspect was in custody and would be facing all the appropriate charges, but that he'd follow up in a few days with a progress report, to give me a little peace of mind. I told him thanks, and he left.
I sat quietly for a few minutes, pondering the events of the day. I'm not sure if I felt more violated by the stolen identity or the chicken man. It was only about 11 am, but this would be as good a time as any to start drinking.