An Unexpected Visitor

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?”

No, mine.

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.

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