Springfield’s Most Wanted, Age 5 (Allegedly)

This actually happened to a friend:

On Sunday evening, we attended a gospel concert by a group from a college in New York, a group that includes my children’s babysitter from when they were babies and toddlers. We agreed to host her and another group member overnight, which meant that we were treated to a dinner at the hosting church. My children, at the prompting of their father, traveled through the gym to get the members of the choir to autograph their programs, and they eventually cajoled the tour bus driver to sign as well.

As a reward, after the dinner, the bus driver let them sit in the bus driver seat and honk the bus horn. Now, this is a full touring bus, not a school bus. The sort of vehicle where you have to start the engine to get the horn to work. A truck horn kind of horn.

The older boy sat in the seat and tootled the horn, at least as much as one tootles and industrial-grade noisemaker that blasts out a 100 decibel chord.

The younger boy, freshly five (which means he can be tried as an adult for noise violations, I understand) hopped into the seat and played that truck horn like a percussion instrument, beating out a tempo not unlike the one a choir member had tapped out on a conga drum during the concert.

And how he grinned. Beamed. He thought that was the highlight of his young life, and he might be right.

The bus driver joked about the neighbors calling the police, and we dispersed to treat the young ladies in our charge to an Andy’s Frozen Custard and a night’s sleep.

The next morning, we discovered the neighbors called the police.

But the memory of that grin–of course we didn’t take pictures or film it, that’s evidence and requires a degree of foresight we lack. But I will never forget that smile of pure joy in simple loudness and power to make that loudness that the boy shone. Even though he probably will.

It’s worth whatever fines the driver has to pay or years taken out of his life in prison.

What a cool story for my friend to relate. Would someone look up the statute of limitations on noise violations for him?