Imagine a scene: Two young teenage boys walk into an outhouse at the ferry terminal. Shortly after, there’s a boom and some smoke. What do you think could possibly have happened?
Yes, this really occurred on the island, where kids have to take the ferry to school every morning and then wait with all the other kids on that same ferry in the afternoon to go home. It can be a tedious, boring ride, so crowded that no one can social distance, and then there are all the adults sitting in their cars, parked in line, also waiting to get on. One ferry worker is standing there, and his only job is to direct traffic onto the ferry when it’s ready to load and make sure no one cuts into the line. (That has happened, and I wrote about it in another post.)
But as far as bathrooms at the dock on the island, you’re looking at one of those portable outhouses—not exactly the kind of bathroom anyone is lining up to use. In fact, it’s a last resort. The daily commuters comprise the twenty to thirty kids dropped off by the school bus, a few teachers, and the minimum-wage frontline workers who commute because the island no longer has affordable housing. Among this bunch are two teenage boys who walk past the line of cars to the outhouse. At this point, you may be wondering what they’re doing, but instead everyone waiting to walk onto the ferry or sitting parked in their cars carries on with their own business, looking at their phones, playing games, or staring off into space.
Then something catches your eye. You’re not sure—a waft of smoke? This is followed by a loud boom. Now everyone is looking, staring in horror, watching as smoke wafts up from the outhouse. Yet the two teenage boys aren’t running; they’re casually walking back down to the ferry dock as if nothing is wrong. Would you expect anyone to do something, say something, call someone? There’s no fire, only smoke, and the nuisance bomb that was set off has likely only created the kind of mess no one wants to clean up. Now the ferry is docking, and no one wants any disruption in getting on and back home or wherever they’re going.
When I heard this had happened, hearing a blow by blow of the shenanigans of those two teenage boys, I had a good chuckle. “Hey, guess what? Two boys blew up the outhouse at the ferry today,” I was told. Of course, I thought, You mean the disgusting, dirty one no one wants to use? I could really imagine two teenage boys walking to the outhouse together and then walking away five minutes later as it blew up.
Now, if any of you have read The O’Connells, you’ll know that sort of prank is something Marcus O’Connell would have been all over during his teenage bad-boy years. In fact, his name would have been graffitied near the incident, marking him as the mastermind behind it. And he wouldn’t have done it alone, instead roping his brother Ryan in as his sidekick and partner in crime. Where the two of them were concerned, trouble was something to get neck deep in. Though Marcus never got caught, Ryan was a different story. Marcus was wily, smart, and as he says, that’s likely why he’s such a good cop today. When you understand that kind of trouble, having gotten up to it yourself, you have a pretty good idea of who might be behind it when a similar incident occurs.
But back to those boys and the outhouse on the island. There were adults in their cars, even a few teachers, and island workers waiting with the crowds to board the ferry to go home, yet no one said anything. My response was, “You mean no one called the police, the fire department? No ferry worker walked over to see what had happened? No one got out of their car?”
Apparently, no one did. There were just a few headshakes and a few looks at the boys. As the ferry docked and unloaded, the boys made their way into the crowd of walk-ons, and the cars boarded, and the only thing that happened to that outhouse was that a worker taped it off. No one said anything, no one did anything, and no one seemed to care.
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