A Trivia/Break-In Story

The following is a true-ish account of events that took place in October, 7 years ago at the Hignite household. Although some literary license has been taken, the entirety of this story is true. (All the errors are mine.)

Mike Hignite was sitting in his living room, burning the midnight oil. The lights were dimmed to the point of invisibility, given Mike’s Batman-like ability to see in the dark. In Mike’s hands was the book, “Computational Calculus Meets Divine Interpolation.” (As you all know, Mike only sleeps 55 minutes a night.) Mike could hear the peaceful rhythm of Marjay’s infrequent and melodious snore from the bedroom not too far away. The sound reminded him of slightly upset magpies on an early spring morning.

At about 12:04 a.m. a sharp metallic sound interrupted Mike from his reading. He carefully placed his book on the table to his right, his right hand then feeling alongside his chair until his fingers encountered the miniature replica Babe Ruth baseball bat next to him.

A couple of minutes later, Mike observed a black work boot materialize at the edge of the dimly lit living room, inching its way into his field of vision. After a few seconds, he observed an entire leg follow it around, then an arm and the torso of a black-clad stranger. The intruder then crept along the wall, oblivious to Mike’s presence. Mike slowly stood upright and moved along the gap between the living room and the kitchen. In a few seconds, the intruder would literally run directly into Mike.

Instead of proceeding, the stranger fumbled around in his left pocket and found a small cylindrical object, clicking it. A beam of light shot from the flashlight and reflected on the concrete floor. Mike slowly lifted the replica Babe Ruth bat until it was high above his head. He waited. As the stranger moved the flashlight up, the beam of light shone directly on Mike’s head, bat raised above it.

Half-smiling, Mike whispered, “Boo!” in a soft voice.

At this point, the intruder screamed like a broken, strangled teakettle and froze. Mike reached over and flipped the overhead lights on. The intruder, for reasons not ascertained, screamed again.

“Have a seat over there.” Mike pointed casually at the intruder. After a moment, the intruder moved and carefully sat down in one of the dining room chairs. Mike walked over to the fridge and opened it, getting two bottles of water out. He opened one and handed it to the masked intruder. He knew the law-breaker was going to need to stay hydrated.

The intruder reached up and pulled his ski mask up and off his head, revealing a mass of curly red hair. He looked to be about 17 years old.

“How did you know I wasn’t armed?” asked the surprisingly high-pitched voice of the intruder.

“What makes you think it matters?” Mike replied.

At a loss for coherent words, the intruder simply muttered, “My name is Israel. Are you going to call the police?”

“Nah, I won’t call the police, only because they are already here.” Mike took a big gulp of water from his bottle, as Israel looked at him, confused, then around the kitchen to search for evidence that the police were, in fact, already there.

Mike reached behind his head and from literally nowhere that could be seen with the naked eye, pulled out a badge, showing it to Israel. Israel turned ashen. Mike laid his badge on the table, next to the huge stack of mail and personal items the family insisted on tossing there as they passed by.

“I’m not going to call MORE police, if that’s what you’re afraid of. But I will make you a deal. The same deal I make with everyone who breaks into my house, if you’re interested.”

“A deal?” Israel’s look of confusion only intensified. “What kind of a deal?”

“You can choose to either go to jail tonight. Or you can play a game of trivia. If you win, I let you go and you take all the money I have in the house with you. If you lose, you go to jail.” Mike smiled in that secret way that only he and 6 unidentified CIA officials would understand. This is the point where Israel should have flung himself headfirst through the nearest window to take his chances. But he didn’t, ignorant and oblivious to what would soon face him.

“Okay, I’ll play you,” Israel said with mock confidence.

“Slow down, pardner. You’re not playing me. I’m going to wake my oldest son up. Oh – and don’t thank me. I’m not doing you any favors.” Mike downed the remainder of his water and went to wake up the genius of the house.

So, that’s how it came to pass that at 6:32 a.m. on a Tuesday morning the residents of ______ Avenue in Springdale saw the strangest of sights: a large, red-haired man dressed in black ran crying and screaming from the Hignite household. Some witnesses claim that the unknown person fleeing was whimpering, “Stay in school! Stay in school and make good choices,” as he ran away. At the door of the Hignite house stood Jackson and Mike, howling with laughter.

“Dad, I sure hope someone else breaks in soon. I love these moments!” Jackson turned and looked at his dad and winked. They laughed one last time as they shut the door, going back inside just in time to see Marjay emerge from the kitchen and exclaim, “Not again!”


PS: Mike is a friend of mine who is actually a police officer. Every member of the family is a genius and the scenario I describe above is what I would like to imagine occurs frequently at the Hignite Household.

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