Okay, I don’t know for sure that it was a burglar. Coulda been a car thief, an arsonist, a vagrant or some other wanted person. All I know is he was in my back yard. It was a couple of evenings ago just before dusk when I had the slightest inkling that something was amiss.
You know how you recognize every sound in your house? Most of the time you’re not even aware, but your subconscious registers it and checks it off. The refrigerator coming on — check; the water heater gugrling — check; the wind rattling the front door — check; the wind rattling the back door — Alert. The back door does not rattle. I listened for a moment and decided that I was hearing unfamiliar sounds. I trotted into the dining room and confirmed the patio door was locked and then the laundry room door — locked, but I ran the sliding bolt home. All secure. Nothing alarming, just something that did not sound right.
A few minutes later, back at my computer, I heard a loud voice commanding, “Show me your hands!” Well it for sure wasn’t the television, which was off, nor the radio which was playing Bach. A moment later the voice came again more intense: “Show me your hands!” It was right out my front window. I peeked out and sure enough there was a police officer with gun drawn shouting at a man who was sashaying away, apparently oblivious. At this point, I figured my best plan was to sit back down and stay out of sight — never a good idea to draw the attention of someone holding a gun.
Shortly after that I heard running feet and my gate being pulled open. What is going on? I tiptoed into the dining room and there was the policeman running across my back lawn — and right in front of him, my cat Lop Ear who took the fence in a huge flying leap. No mean feat for a cat who weighs 15 pounds; that’s a lot of blubber to hoist over a 6′ fence, but “need’s must when the devil drives.” Since I couldn’t put a fence between me and the cop, I decided to put some room between us, and slunk back to the computer and stayed out of the line of sight — and possible fire.
Disappointingly, I have no satisfying conclusion to the tale. While I expected to hear more police cars arriving, none did, and only a short time later, the one police car started up and drove away. I didn’t look to see if he had collard the perp — I was just glad whatever it was, was over. And it might have ended there and perhaps I would’ve thought I’d imagined it, except the next afternoon as I went into the yard I saw that part of my fence had been knocked over. Son of a Blacksmith! Damn! And not only that, the son of a b trampled the little rose bush I’d planted last fall. The thing is full of thorns and I hope some of them got him — his face, his hands — and tore his clothes. I managed to salvage the two roses that had just bloomed — my very first. I hope that bush scratched his eyes out!
Then this morning as I was sitting on the swing, I noticed that my lovely tall yellow snapdragon was drooping over. What’s that all about? I went over and discovered it wasn’t just the snapdragon. The SOB had been there, too, and ground the magenta cyclamen into the dirt, pulled away the sapling that had been hugging the fence, and trampled another half dozen plants. I was cursing as I cleaned up the damage and saw the heel marks deep in the ground where he had, probably tried to get over the fence.
I asked Lop Ear if he saw what happened, but he just gave me an eye squeeze and went back to sleep. Sigh. I guess I’ll never know. I’ll have to talk to my back-fence neighbor about putting the boards back and I’ll prop up the undamaged part of the rose and hope it recovers. And yes, I’ll continue keeping my doors locked and maybe put a lock on the gate, too.