Akemi and I had just finished our evening workout and were preparing to take the dogs out for their last backyard bathroom visit of the night when, suddenly, the doorbell rang. My first thought was: “Damn charity canvassers. I’ll just ignore them.” And then, as the realization dawned, my second thought was: “It’s 10:00 p.m. That’s no charity canvasser.” I remembered reading that if someone ever comes to your door, if nothing else, you should let them know you’re home – just in case they’re casing the place in preparation to rob it. And, after my brush with a potential home invasion a couple of years back (March 21, 2009: Hi! I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d break in!) I wasn’t about to take any chances. So, I turned on all the lights and looked out the handy window that flanks my door.
Some stranger stood on the porch. Maybe mid-forties, dressed a little shabbily, he seemed to perk up at the sight of me peering out at him. “Yeah?”was my less-than-warm greeting.
“Hi,”he said, loudly enough to be heard through the closed door. “I’ve been doing some work for Miss Shelby down the road and I have a flat. I was wondering if I could borrow some cab fare to get home.”
It’s not that I was unsympathetic. Just extremely distrustful.
Mistake #1: If he was “doing some work for Miss Shelby”, why wasn’t SHE footing the cab fare?
Mistake #2: Since 95% of the homes in my neighborhood are Chinese-owned, the selection of “Shelby” as a possible run-of-the-mill-maybe-that-IS-my-neighbor’s-name was a poor choice on his part. If he’d gone with “I was doing some work for Mrs. Luang down the road and I have a flat”, I probably would have been more inclined to…well, not believe him, but certainly give him a little more credit for the effort.
“Sorry,”I told him. “I don’t open my doors to strangers after ten p.m.”. In truth, I rarely if ever open my doors to strangers unless I’m in a haranguing mood.
He looked down at his watch and seemed to think: “Shit. If I’d just come ten minutes earlier, I’d have cab fare right now!”, looked up and opened his mouth to say something, then thought better of it, turned around and headed back down the walk. He was considerate enough to close the front gate on his way out.
I actually considered checking his story out by hopping into my SUV and circling around the block in search of a car with a flat tire, but changed my mind after imagining that, if he was truly resourceful, he could have flattened some poor, unsuspecting shmo’s tire in the hope that someone would do just that. So, instead, I skipped the car ride and took the dogs out to the backyard as planned, one eye on the Jelly, Bubba, and Lulu, the other eye on the shadowy side of the house (which I imagined as the ideal area from which to launch an ambush).
Well, the rest of the night was uneventful. But that didn’t stop Akemi from suggesting we start locking the front gate after dark. I think she’s a little spooked because this incident comes on the heels of another incident that occurred in Japan. Apparently, a friend was alone one night when she heard someone trying to force the front door of the family home. She yelled and the would-be burglar abandoned his efforts and left. The next day, the police informed her that, since the intruder didn’t actually gain access to the house, there was no point in dusting for fingerprints. If, in the future, said intruder succeeded in gaining entry, then they would certainly dust for prints wherever he happened to leave them (ie. the inside of the doorjamb, the t.v., her throat).
Whenever the subject of home burglaries comes up, I’m always reminded of the Jason Momoa story. Back in his first year on Atlantis, Jason was living in a modest apartment in the downtown center. One night, he was awakened by whispers outside his front door, then the rattle of the doorknob. Someone – someONES! – was trying to break in. As the hushed conversation continued on the other side of the door, Jason crawled out of bed and grabbed the first things handy – a couple of ice axes he’d used on a recent mountain climbing outing. The doorknob rattled. Heart pounding, Jason quietly approached and then –
Threw open the door and jumped out, loosening a no-doubt horrific howl of rage. I’m sure that, to many of his fans, the prospect of having a half-dressed Jason Momoa towering over them would be the stuff of dreams – but in the case of these two fellows, a half-dressed, 6’4 raging over them with an ice axe in each hand was more the stuff of nightmares. They bolted like a couple of scared rabbits – and, I like to imagine, shit their pants as well.