I have an incredible tale to tell.Tonight, I stayed late at work at the Conservatory of Flamenco Arts, and just as I was leaving, I receive a text from my friend Manu, who I haven’t talked to in ages, inviting me for a drink at the Copper Lounge a block away. I gathered my things and proceeded down the stairs, and saw the gleaming handlebars of my beloved Yamaha Vino Vintage Classic scooter out the window. I took a detour to the restroom to freshen up, and when I let myself out of the building, there was no scooter in sight. My heart dropped into my stomach. This scooter is my love, my mate, my partner in crime. It make my crazy life possible. At first I just started processing the reality that it was gone, and I was screwed, and how was I going to get home tonight or to school tomorrow, and then I suddenly came to my senses and started running down the alley, looking everywhere. I got to Yasmin’s Deli and there were three guys hanging out in the parking lot. I frantically asked them if anyone had seen someone pushing my scooter down the alley. (The person who took it wouldn’t have been able to start it, though somehow they deactivated the wheel lock) Two of the guys shook their heads, but the other said, "Actually yeah, I just saw someone pushing a scooter down here a few minutes ago." I freaked out and just said, "Well, will you guys help me? Please?!?" They stood there for a second too long, and I turned and booked it down the alley.A few minutes later, one of the guys pulled up in his car behind me and said, "Get in." I didn’t hesitate and hopped in the passenger seat, and we took off, combing the neighborhood. I found out his name is Mohammad, and he works at Yasmin’s. He was instantaneously my trusted ally, and we combed every street in the vicinity over and over again, asking everyone we saw if they had seen someone pushing a scooter. I called Manu and told him what was going on, and he left the Copper Lounge and set out on his own manhunt. Mohammad and I passed a hulking, Viking-looking figure with long, red hair on the street, and we slowed down to ask if he had seen anything. Then I realized it was the same guy who recently introduced himself at the Flamenco Conservatory. He had been curious about our classes, amused by the children in polka dot skirts, and had expressed how glad he was that we were infusing his neighborhood with some much needed positive, creative energy. He told me about a drug operation near where he lived, and how he felt passionately about cleaning up the neighborhood and making it safer for kids like ours. I appreciated his quirky, assertive and dead serious demeanor, but hadn’t thought much about the interaction until a week later when he popped back in to my office to tell me how he had single-handedly, strategically managed to bust the operation, and start cleanup of the squatted building in question. He was the perfect person to run into at that moment. I suddenly felt hopeful.Mohammad and I proceeded down another street, and I told him all about the fellow’s guerrilla crime busting tactics, christening him the Batman of Albuquerque. While scouring the neighborhood, I called my friend Allison who lives a block away, and she and her boyfriend hit the streets. I ran into Navy and Eva returning from rehearsal, and they became the newest recruits in my scooter squad manhunt. Then, Manu called and said that he just saw a methed out guy pushing my scooter down Maple south toward Central. Mohammad and I screeched to the vicinity, hopped out and began prowling the area. We searched for 15 minutes. Nothing.Meanwhile, I was on the phone with 911 for the second time, telling them, "The dude was just sighted in a one-block radius of here, can you please just send an officer?" to which they replied yet again that they had no officers available, but I should just wait at the address, and if I didn’t, it meant that I didn’t want officers to come out. I argued and ultimately hung up on the miasmic, completely-antithetical-to-non-life-threatening-problem-solving that is Albuquerque 911 (There have been so many pathetic non-responses to multitudes of calls I’ve made from the conservatory regarding creepy activity in the neighborhood during conservatory classes, it’s absolutely shameful.). At the end of an alley, I again ran into Mohammad, the perfect stranger angel that had all my belongings in his car. I hopped in again, and down the next block we ran into our red haired hero. I rolled down the window and asked him jokingly if he had any luck. Unbelievably, he says, "Yes! I got your scooter. It’s in my kitchen."Incredibly, he had intersected with our methed out thief right past where Manu had last seen him, just as he was pulling my scooter through a gate with some other unsavory people. He actually confronted them and demanded they give him the scooter. They apparently were about to throw down, when the thief said, "Just take it, as long as you don’t call the cops. I just got out of jail today." So Viking Batman himself—claimed the scooter and wheeled it all the way to his house and into his kitchen, having no way to contact me. Mohammad and I just happened to run into him at 11pm on the street, Mohammad yelled, "Hop in!" and we followed directions back to his house. He unlocked his door, and there was my little, army green Yamaha Vino Vintage Classic with the star painted on it, and its little basket, gleaming in Batman’s kitchen. I squealed and screamed and cried, and we all hugged and exchanged our utter awe, disbelief and renewed faith in humanity.After an indescribable exchange of love and goodwill, I revved my engine and headed to the Copper Lounge, where Manu was waiting, and had the most delicious beer of my life with Prince, Gnarls Barkley and Merle Haggard on the karaoke machine, and I realized that I am the luckiest girl in the world.I want the whole world to know that a tall, lanky, ginger Batman exists in Albuquerque, and that I would have never found him or my scooter if it had not been for a wonderful stranger, neighbor and new friend named Mohammad, and that you should all go visit Yasmin’s Deli and eat falafel and babaganoush with a sense of all that is righteous in the world.Moral of the story: Go after it. Fight. Believe. Act. Intuit. And remember that in all their nastiness, humans can be wonderful.The End.
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