So, I start asking what happened and boy #1 (who is 7) denies everything but I'm pressing him as is the neighbor and he finally admits that he and boy #2 (who is 6) were trying to light a newspaper on fire, not the bushes, but they caught on fire instead. So I lecture him about not playing with matches, about letting someone know and not running away if something like that happens, then march him down to his parents. On the way I ask where he got the matches in the first place. He shows me where he got them... three houses down next to an ashtray on the front porch. At which point I lecture him about not taking things that don't belong to him. His mother and older brother are sitting in the garage and I tell her what happened. She immediately starts blaming other boy and telling me her son doesn't play with matches (as she puffs on a cigarette). We've had issues with her before. She's the type that believes nothing is ever her or her kids fault, that they are the victims, that everyone is out to get them, and yet her kids are always in the middle of any trouble. After I lecture her about watching her kid and that he basically confessed to doing it, I go see boy #2 parents. They at least have the decency to seem abashed and say they'll talk to him. I head back home convinced that it did no good to talk to any of them. That's when one of the neighbors says I should call the non-emergency number and just let the cops know what happened and what they think. I do that and I'm told that an officer will call me back.
Ten minutes later, the police officer shows up at my door. Very nice woman, but petite and wearing a bullet proof vest so she looks like she's wearing one of those fake muscle shirts like Hans and Franz used to wear on Saturday Night Live. She tells me that in Nevada no one can "commit" a crime unless they are 8 years or older but that it would have been a Class 3 Felony. I told her I didn't think the kids were *trying* to burn down my house but they very easily could have, or burned themselves, or one of the other kids if they had been out playing. She goes and talks to both boys, brings boy #1 and his parents down and makes him apologize, and says she will probably go see boy #2 again as his parents were gone and he was with an uncle. Meanwhile, all the neighbors, who, like us, *watch* our children and know where they are at any given time, are standing in my yard and we've agreed the boys won't even be allowed to play in our yards anymore. The police officer said she'd patrol through the area tonight and over the next couple of weeks, just to make sure everything is okay. Although I was afraid she might pass out with that vest standing out in 110 degree heat and storms moving in so it was humid, too. So as she's fanning herself with her notebook I'm thinking, great, I guess I call 911 next and report an officer down on top of my scorched shrubbery.
And of course, this all had to happen while hubby is gone and I had to go confront the parents by myself. I'm ready for a hard cider... maybe two. Sigh. Why does this shit always have to happen in my yard?