Something was amiss; I blinked and then realized that someone left a kid, slumped over and asleep, in the backseat of the SUV I had parked next to.
My first impulse was rage, the sort of which, when you act upon it, can get you 2-3 years in County. Well, I'm guessing that's how long it would get you. It might be more, depending on exactly how much blood was drawn, and how loud the screams were.
I blinked again, and quickly realized I needed to assess the situation. It was not hot out, maybe 75 degrees; if I called 911 and the kid's parents were only in there for 2 minutes, they were stupid and negligent, but not necessarily criminal in the life-altering way that gets you hauled off in handcuffs while your kid is screaming in fear and crying giant tears with boogers streaming out of his nose. A strong verbal ass kicking would probably suffice. I sat in my car without the air on, using that as a comfort gauge; if I was just a little uncomfortable, a kid would be very uncomfortable. At 75 outside, I figured it would get to 85 inside, but I wasn't sure how quickly.
I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket, ready to use it.
And then my brain began to make attempts at higher functioning. Target has a security guard up front, right? So I could write down the license number and make and model of the SUV, run in there and get him, and have some backup against what could potentially be some 6'5" beer-addled 5th degree black belt. Confronting a stupid parent might not be my best idea; going and getting the guard might be.
But what if while I was sprinting to get inside the store the parent(s) returned and just took off?
I reached into the glove compartment for a pen and pulled my ever-present notebook from the pouch behind the passenger seat. I would write down the license number, yes I would, and I would either run into the store and get the guard, risking the parents taking off, or maybe I could find an employee outside who would either go watch the car or go get the guard while I went back to watch the car.
And my brain wandered some more. What if I called 911 and it turned out the kid was only in the car for 5 minutes and was just fine; I would turn this kid's life upside down. Sure, his parents deserved the hell that would cause, but did he?
I watched the door for people headed my way. If that ONE PERSON would just walk over and open the SUV's door, I would spring out with a mighty You are such a sucky person! and a lecture on how quickly a car heats up and how easy it would have been for any random kiddy freak to break into the car and steal your kid, but the few people who wandered my way came no where near.
Oh yeah, I am a shy person and don't care to speak until spoken to...but this is different. I'm pretty sure I could wind up into Crazy Lady in about 2.2 seconds under those circumstances.
I then realized I was sweating like crazy, was a touch dizzy, and I felt a little sick to my stomach; I wasn't sure if it was heat building up in the car or nausea from blinding rage--I was reaching the point of I will do you bodily harm if I see you--so I got out of the car with cell phone in hand. Screw getting the guard, I was going to camp my ass on the bumper or the hood and not let them go anywhere until the cops arrived.
I flipped the phone open, had 9-1 dialed, and something poked at my brain again. Something still wasn't right. That kid hadn't so much as moved a fraction of a fraction of a millimeter.
Holy crap, I waited too long and he's dead!
I lifted a fist, ready to bang on the window, hoping to wake the kid up as my finger started to press that last -1.
But I stopped and flipped the phone closed. My nausea passed, the sweating stopped, and the urge to kill abated.
It was a child-sized mannequin head.