Yesterday, while deep into my book, I heard a cough outside.
I thought, Oh, it’s 3:00 p.m. Zac must be home.
It was 2:38.
Looking out my back door, I saw a strange man. He was looking through boxes in our carport. No treasures, there, buddy, I wanted to tell him. Old clothes, toys, a toddler bed that will have to go to the dump. Buster’s old guinea pig cage and a bag of mostly-new sawdust. Jonathon’s ten speed is out there, too. Might need to lock that item up.
Anyway, I quickly grabbed the phone and sneaked around the corner into the living room. For the first time ever, I called 911. I was connected to a nice young man who asked me what was wrong. I told him about the stranger in the carport. No, he didn’t take anything, unfortunately. Please! Take something! That old chair would do for starters.
It was pouring down rain. He, a 5’7″ dark-haired man, probably 40s or early 50s, matted hair and red jacket, was looking for a dry place to finish his cigarette. It probably never occurred to him that there was a car in the driveway and so likely somebody was at home. I felt kind of sorry for him, like a stray dog without a warm place to curl up.
And he left on his own, moseying down the driveway and out to Laurel Street. He trudged away in the rain and I didn’t see him again.
Just the same, the dispatcher informed me, an officer would come by and talk to me. I waited and drank a second cup of coffee. I surely needed something.
Instead of a visit, I got a phone call.
“So was she in your neighbor’s carport?”
He apologized for the mix-up.
She? Uh. Oops.
“Yes, ma’am. It’s a she. And she’s been warned not to go on your property again. I have her here, ma’am, if you’d like to charge her and have her arrested.”
No. A warning would suffice. Maybe next time I could entice her with a dry blanket or a cup of tea. Maybe she’d like to borrow a good Agatha Christie mystery? Suddenly, a female didn’t seem as threatening. She seemed less of an unknown quantity. But don’t worry; I won’t do it. I know crazy comes in all shapes and genders. Even she-men.
“Well,” the officer continued reassuringly, ” if you see her in your carport, just call and I can come pick her up. You can have her charged then, too.”
I’ve read in the Bible that we should entertain strangers and that perhaps we’ll be entertaining angels. I don’t know if it applies in this situation. I’m thinking I don’t like living against a hillside at the end of a street anymore. I’m wondering what is so attractive about our house? Is it the gingerbreading? I”m also thinking, again – forgive me, Jonathon – about a dog. A big one.