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The issue of crime in 16 cases

Bound and chastised

By Jon Garelick

I heard scratching and thought it was one of the cats.

My girlfriend and I were renting the top two floors of a brick town house in a neighborhood “in transition.” I was alone, eating dinner at the kitchen table in one end of the floor-through space. I went to investigate the scratching.

“What’s going on,” I said, as a man jumped out of the shadows near the stairwell. He had a knife and was behind me so fast that to this day I couldn’t tell you what his face looked like. He took me upstairs.

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“You hear something, you get something in your hand first,” he admonished. “Don’t come around the corner like Macho Man.”

“I thought it was one of the cats,” I apologized. We had three.

“The cats were with you!” he said, all disgusted reproach. “Pay attention to your animals!”

He was right, the cats had all been crouched around the table, looking toward the noise. Why hadn’t I noticed?

He cut the cord off the bedroom phone and hog-tied me on the futon mattress that was our bed, put a pillowcase over my head, kept asking for money.

I had none.

Then he uttered an epithet. “You’re cut,” he said.

It had probably happened during the hog-tying, though I hadn’t felt anything.

“I’m fine,” I protested.

“You’re not fine, I’m looking at this. . . ” Another epithet.

He brought a wet facecloth, tied it around my wrist. Asked me when my girlfriend would get home. Warned me not to get up or come look for him.

Then he was gone. Out the third-floor window through which he had come.


Produced by Elaina Natario, Laura Colarusso, Heather Hopp-Bruce, Alex Kingsbury, Jeremy D. Goodwin, and Mary Creane