Enigma at Dawn

Dear Reader, help me interpret this odd situation.

It’s 5:40 in the morning. I’m on my way to the commuter train. Passing the vacant lot of the closed school that burned in ’06, I first see a van that stands with flat rear tyres backed into the leca gravel that covers the house foundation. It bears the logo of a housing company and looks slightly beat up.

Then I see a grizzled long-haired man kneeling in the gloom under a tree next to a partly dismantled red four wheel motorbike. Its seat is on the ground. The guy is frantically tearing up tufts of grass as if he’s dropped some small part of the bike. With his right hand he holds a small LED flashlight. He ignores me. I’m short for time and I feel a little uneasy, so I offer no assistance. In two hours or so, lots of people will be walking this path.

What was that about?!

Author: Martin R

Dr. Martin Rundkvist is a Swedish archaeologist, journal editor, skeptic, atheist, lefty liberal, bookworm, boardgamer, geocacher and father of two.

9 thoughts on “Enigma at Dawn”

  1. I suppose this could be an innocent case of somebody who happens to work for the company in question needing to do some work on his bike, and needing to go to a place like the school where he has room to work, but that doesn’t explain why he would be doing this at that hour of the morning.

    Given the condition of the van, though, I’d say it’s also possible that this guy’s bike maintenance activities were a cover, and he might have actually been keeping an eye on one of the houses across the street. Whether he was an undercover policeman, a private detective, or somebody from a rival criminal group I could not say from the information given. Pretending to look for a misplaced bolt/nut/washer/whatever would be part of the disguise.

    Of course I am assuming that the van and the bike guy are connected, but I have no reason to believe otherwise.


  2. Clearly he was just harvesting grass for his pet pika, which he keeps in a compartment under the seat of his 4-wheel motorbike (we call them ‘quads’ over here). He stole the van from the housing company just to use the air in the tires to run his compressed air-powered pika exercise wheel.



  3. “a van that stands with flat rear tyres backed into the leca gravel that covers the house foundation”

    Obviously, the driver and passengers were abducted by aliens.

    “The guy is frantically tearing up tufts of grass.”

    Fox Mulder is looking for biological material (slime) from the abductors. He looks worse for wear because he has been hiding out in the Swedish wilderness for months, using places that cannot be approached by car.
    — — — — — —

    (OT) Indians and Europeans share a milky past http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-indians-europeans-milky.html

    Mother tongue comes from your prehistoric father http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-09-mother-tongue-prehistoric-father.html


  4. Many years ago I used to work night shifts in petrol stations all over Stockholm. I saw similar behaviour many times among amphetamin addicts, tearing things apart without being able to put them together again. At the break of dawn they disappeared, usually leaving behind the cars, bikes and other things they tried to “mend”. These people are at the bottom of the criminal food chain, petty thiefs and small time drug dealers.


  5. I didn’t know what to do with the guy. Should I photograph him and the car and call the cops? Or should I offer him assistance? I didn’t really have time to do either. And I was a bit afraid he’d be violent.


  6. In his condition he probably did´nt see you at all. I always treated these people like normal people and I had no experience of violence of any kind. Of course I was to young and stupid to be careful.
    I think I called the cops once, it was a guy who had a nasty bleeding wound and he kept on “mending” his car in a hysteric manner. Blood everywhere and he did´nt even answer when spoken to. They took him away and I met him later, he did´nt remember anything. The night people are best left alone as long as they´re not hurting others or setting things on fire. There are always outcasts around, it,s just that we don´t see them so often. Like vampires, the shy daylight.


  7. Probably this guy was a collector of cars and motorbikes etc. Maybe he took parts from the vehicles to sell so he could buy some of the tings it seems to me that he needed most…
    Surely he did nothing criminal, it was the best you did, not call the police.


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