If that first phone call from Zombie Mama hadn’t been enough to deter me, you would think that the events the following week would have, but neither did.  I was committed, we were committed, and this year of living aboard was absolutely going to happen, despite all signals that we should have pulled the plug.

We were not even there a week before our cars were broken into.  As we were getting ready for work, we heard frantic knocking on our door – a sound that for the following year would immediately cause me to return to this moment.  We answered the door only to be told that eleven cars had been broken into, our two Jeeps among them.

We immediately went up to the parking lot to a sad scene that made me wonder whether the people who decided to break into our cars knew and ignored that we would feel this way, or else didn’t know the damage they’d caused.  They broke into eleven cars to steal radios and other “valuables” and stole one car.  I figured it was approximately $45,000 worth of necessary repairs, all for probably $1500 gain for them.

The Prince George’s County cops were conscientious, but resigned to the truth of law enforcement in Prince George’s County.  They filed police reports and left to deal with  the rest of the break-ins, robberies, and murders that we came to realize was life in this notorious county.  Meanwhile, Tantallon management refrained from showing up, because why should they?  Their cars weren’t broken into, so why show any type of concern for the residents?  There were a couple of video cameras, but they were so cheap and poorly lit, nothing could be deciphered from them.  And even if there were anything that could be picked up, by say, my Federal Special Agent partner, Tantallon Management wouldn’t let anyone other than the Establishment Zombies view them.  Because what’s the point of indecipherable footage if not to further obfuscate the truth?

Shortly thereafter, in much the same fashion as the useless cameras, they began putting in access-controlled gates.  Without permits.  Because why should they obey the law in a lawless county?  When the county came to enforce building permits, any motivation Tantallon management had to protect their paying residents dissipated.  So a year later, when we pulled out of the marina under duress, the useless cameras were still in place and the gates were still in the same inoperable position they had been in a year prior.  And the residents still lived in fear of hearing that knock on the door that meant their property had once again been stolen, or having guns pointed at their heads when they went to take their dogs for an early morning walk.  Such is daily life at Tantallon Marina in Fort Washington, Maryland.