You ever have one of those mornings where you’re awakened by the sustained whine of your home alarm? You stumble out of bed and are in the midst of deactivating it, wondering: a ) how your girlfriend could have forgotten about it before letting the dogs out and b) why she hadn’t deactivated it herself, when your girlfriend steps out of the bathroom and asks “What’s going on?”, quashing that possible explanation. And then you go downstairs to discover the back door open (not just unlocked, but ajar) and, try as you might, you can’t actually recall locking it the previous night although it’s something you routinely do. And when you’ve almost got yourself convinced that, maybe, you DID forget to lock it and it was merely blown open that morning – until you realize that the door opens outwards, meaning the gust of wind would have had to emanate from inside the house. Also, adding to your increasing discomfort is the fact that your front gate is wide open and that you DO remember shutting it last night. So, armed with a makeshift weapon, you work your way systematically from room to room and closet to closet, checking, searching, half-convinced it’s a silly, unnecessary exercise and half-expecting to find some deranged lunatic hunkered down in the crawlspace, poised to spring at you with sharp, dirty fingernails the second you push open the door. But not finding anything, you breathe a sigh of relief, discard the makeshift weapon, and resume your daily routine, while, in the back of your mind, you can’t help but doubt the efficiency of your search and wonder about those potential hiding places you overlooked or dismissed: the cupboards, under the beds, behind the boxes in the crawlspace. These notions nag at you as you work on the sixth act of the near-future miniseries you’re writing, unnerving imaginings of some contortionist little person sitting undetected inside your kitchen pantry, silently biding his time, lying in wait for night to fall when he can slip out of hiding to allow his circus cohorts access to your home so that they can execute their carnivalesque orgy of murder and mayhem.
Ever have one of those mornings? Yes? No?
In retrospect, I’m sure there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for what happened. In order of likelihood:
1. AN HONEST MISTAKE. I did, in fact, forget to lock the back door last night because I took the dogs to the front yard instead. It not only wasn’t locked, but wasn’t shut properly yet was still technically “shut” as far as the alarm system was concerned since a subsequent test revealed it could armed in just such a state. Since the door wasn’t actually closed, it eventually could have been blown open by a gust of wind. Similarly, a gust of wind could have also blown open the front gate as well.
2. A BURGLAR. Someone tried to break into the house, managed to pick the lock and open the door – only to trigger the alarm which caused him/her to panic and flee. I’m going with “pick the lock” because the back door shows no signs of forced entry. Also, and I’m sure this must be my imagination, the lock seems to open a lot smoother than it used to.
3. HITMAN. Same scenario as above except that, instead of breaking in with the intention of robbing me, the intruder intended to off me. He/she was either discouraged by the alarm or simply wanted to confirm it was operational before moving on to the next more inspired attempt.
4. GHOST. My house is haunted by a restless spirit that stepped out back for a morning smoke, triggering the alarm.
What do you guys think?