I entered the elevator from the basement parking garage at quarter to midnight on Saturday. I rarely share our elevator with anyone, especially that time of night, yet it stopped on the first floor.

Two cops, both in their late to mid twenties, stood on the other side when the doors parted. They looked as surprised to see me as I was to see them. I shifted to the left and they shuffled in. “How you guys doing tonight?” I asked them.

One of the boys in blue reached for the elevator button then pulled back once he realized we were headed to the same place. “Well, we got a call that there’s someone running around without a shirt upstairs.”

“Another crazy night in Utah, huh?” They both chuckled as the elevator again started moving.

By the time we reached the third story, they told me they didn’t know what to expect up there. They had received a call that “some shirtless guy is running around the halls, probably tripping on drugs, and apparently ran violently into a wall.”

When the door opened, I don’t think any of us wanted to exit. The cops finally inched out, with hands positioned above their holsters. The wall immediately to the right of the elevator had outlining cracks in the shape of a human who obviously had slammed into it. And hard.


The cops headed one way and I headed toward my apartment. From a distance they hollered, “if you see him come through here again, give us a call.”

“You got it.”

That was the last I saw of them. I never found some suffering soul, collapsed and bleeding to death. I never saw or heard anything else, or really even thought anything else about it.

The next morning I picked my son up from his mom’s house and brought him home. I didn’t think much as we rode the elevator up like we always do. The doors opened and immediately he saw the busted up wall. “Dad, what do you think happened to that wall?!” he enthusiastically chirped.

“That, son, is why we don’t do drugs.”

We stood staring at it while I told him the story of the cops, and how some guy was most likely  on drugs, and how drugs mess with your mind so bad that you think doing things like running into walls is fun.

His eyes got wider and wider. “Who knows. He might have thought he was jumping into a rainbow,” I told him. Noah’s mouth dropped a bit. “The guy on drugs might have thought that wall was a portal to another world and he had to run as fast as he could to get through it,” I said. We’ve been watching Once Upon a Time. Portals into other worlds are on our brains at the moment.

“Drugs really do that?”

“Look. Here’s his head mark. That had to hurt. Here’s his shoulders. Here’s his body. Geez. Do you think someone who isn’t on drugs would run into a wall that hard?”

He violently shook his head. “No way. You have to be on drugs to do that. I’m never doing drugs, Dad.”

We headed toward our apartment. “Good. Because I don’t wanna be pulling your teeth out of the wall with pliers.”

“No way. I can’t believe drugs would do that to your brain. You know I’ll never do that.”

I opened the door and we walked inside. “Yep. I know. You’re way too smart to ever think drugs are cool.”

He scampered off to his bedroom and I just smiled and nodded, confident that seeing a real life consequence for dangerous drug use would leave far more of an impression on my kid than telling him drugs are bad ever would.

I just hope whoever did run into that wall is all right. He probably woke up with one hell of a headache.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing