Uber, but for stealing my TV

Cyril settled into his couch. It was Saturday afternoon, and it was sure to be a lazy one. He’d had a long week; there’d been meetings and deadlines, volunteer activities, and then the hockey game last night. It was time to take a break and watch a little TV. The morning cleaning had been done and the garden was freshly weeded. He deserved this.

Cyril didn’t have the fanciest television. It was a modest size–good enough draw you in and let you get lost in stories of space travel and zombies and whatever was happening in New York (but shot in Toronto) these days–but it didn’t overpower the room. It was a few years old, but the picture was still sharp and he’d hooked it up to a new sound system last spring.

So there it sat, in the centre of the wall, just waiting for Cyril.

“I know a TV shouldn’t be the focal point of the room,” thought Cyril, “but what’s the harm? Maybe I watch a little too much TV, but I enjoy it. Besides, those documentaries are educational, and I can hookup my laptop and skype with friends and family I wouldn’t otherwise get to see. It’s not just junk food for my mind.”

Outside, Cyril could see Xavier and Lyle, a couple of teenagers, brothers, who lived down the street. Their family had moved in the winter before last, and Cyril hadn’t taken a shine to the boys right away. He couldn’t say why; they were just different…at least, they were different than the old retired couple that had lived in the house for decades prior.

There’d been one time Cyril caught the boys looking in through his living room window. It was just a week or so after they’d moved into the neighbourhood. Cyril had left the TV on and the boys were either casing the joint…or, more likely, checking out the score of the basketball game.

As time wore on, he realized the brothers were okay. Yes, they made a bit more noise than the block had been used to–they’d be outside talking and laughing, maybe have some friends over for a pick-up game–but they weren’t hurting anyone. Anyway, the street could use a little liveliness. It could get awful quite at times.

Y’know, it’d dawned on Cyril in that moment, watching them walk down the street–he’d been wrong. They were fine lads. They didn’t get into trouble or throw crazy parties. They were just living their life, enjoying their home and not trying to bother anyone.

Cyril was going to make a change.

Walking out onto his porch, he called to the boys, “the game’s on. Wanna come watch?”

Exchanging a look and a shrug, Lyle and Xavi (as he was called) walked up the driveway and to the front step, careful not to trample the garden that was looking so neat. Cyril went back inside, leaving the door open for the boys.

Cyril called to them to take off their shoes, for the sake of his floors, as he went into the kitchen for snacks.

Returning with a couple of bowls of chips, Cyril nodded to his TV, “it’s a pretty good TV. I’ve thought about getting a new one. I know there are bigger, shinier models out these days, but this one suits me right. It’s a good size for the room and still has a pretty good picture, don’t ya think?”

“Yeah, most def,” said Xavi, “no point in throwing your money away just for the sake of it. TV looks good.”

Lyle nodded in appreciation, his mouth full of all dressed chips.

“I’m glad you appreciate it, guys. I figured you would. It’s a good TV. I think most people would be happy to have it,” replied Cyril. “Say, whadda ya think? You want it?”

Confused, the brothers just looked at each other.

“Seriously, fellas. I can see you like it, and I’m happy you can share in my appreciation of it. It’s a good TV. Take it. Take it home. I bet you don’t have a TV like this in your room. Take it. You can watch the game there, or play Mario Kart, or whatever it is you teenagers do.”

Okay, maybe this was weird, this old guy just inviting them in and then letting them leave with his TV, but he seemed so earnest, like it meant a lot to him for them to take his TV. 

“Oh, ok, thanks,” said Lyle.

“Yeah, it’ll be good to have a nice, bigger TV,” Xavi concurred.

Without delay, Cyril was bundling up the cords and throwing them in an old box, along with the remote. He unplugged the cable, unhooked the sound system–he was going to need to keep that–and helped the boys get the TV out the door.

He walked a few houses down with them, held their front door open as they carried the TV inside, then helped Xavi and Lyle set up the TV in Xavi’s bedroom (he was older, you see).

“All right, guys. This is great. This is going to be a real positive change in all our lives. Don’t you worry.” Cyril gave a little wave as he left and went back down the street, entering his house through the front door he’d mindlessly left open ten minutes earlier.

He took off his shoes–gotta mind the floors–sat down on his couch, and looked approvingly at the vacancy where once lived his beloved TV. This was a good day.

Cyril exhaled. He picked up his phone and he called the police.

So today, I was a reading a story about how ride-hailing services actually increase traffic…


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