The Suspect Slipup
I'm never awake at four in the morning unless there's something going on. Like if somebody barfed or peed in the bed or has a fever or there's a general fiasco of several horrible things combined (remember this one?).
But yesterday in the sleepy pre-dawn hours, I was awakened by my husband's stupid alarm. And then couldn't go back to sleep as he thumped and ran water and opened doors getting ready for work. I just laid there, irritated.
As is his usual custom right before leaving, he leashed up the dogs to take them outside for their morning pee. And about a minute after he'd gone out the door, a different alarm went off - our house alarm. You know, the one that would alert us to an intruder. Needless to say, I mildly flipped out. I turned it off - it appeared to be just a battery glitch - but when Curtis came in, I asked him to check downstairs just in case. He did. All was well.
Even though it was nothing, I couldn't help but feel a little edgy. I was definitely awake now. And it didn't make matters any better when Curtis said, "I think I'm going to call the cops."
"Over the alarm?" I asked, brow furrowed.
"No," he said, glancing out the front window. "There's a guy parked in front of the neighbors' house in a car I don't recognize. He's been out there for like twenty minutes now and he's acting really weird: sitting there with the door open, getting out and back in, stepping on the brakes and then letting off. It's bizarre. Not to mention it's four-thirty in the morning. What the hell could he be doing out there?"
I peeked out the window. I couldn't see the car through the branches of my neighbors' tree - but I did see the brake lights flashing on and off, on and off, and a slice of light across the pavement from the car door being open. Weird.
"That is suspicious," I murmured. Of course, ever since the weird incident at our creek over the summer, I've been a little overly paranoid. But Curtis isn't an alarmist - so if he wanted to call the cops, I figured there was definitely a good reason. So he did.
I was impressed at how quickly the police came. The cruiser came speeding up, lights flashing, spotlighting the weird car. I stood at the window watching, but Curtis - natural-born eavesdropper that he is - took his nosy self out onto the front porch for a closer view of the action.
Within a few seconds, he poked his head back in with a look of panic on his face.
"Oh my God," he hissed. "I think it's Ron!"
I clamped my hand over my mouth. "Ron?!"
Because Ron would be ...
... our neighbor.
So Curtis went out there. And sure enough, poor Ron was having to explain to the cop why he was sitting in front of his own house.
Come to find out, he had rented a car for a business trip (hence the unfamiliar vehicle), and was out there waiting for another person who was supposed to go along (hence the hanging around outside at 4:30 in the morning). In the process of waiting, he'd had some trouble with a sticky parking brake (hence the weird brake-light-flashing, getting-in-and-out-of-the-car behavior).
Perfectly plausible explanation. And we had freaked out and summoned the police. Ay-yay-yay.
Luckily, we have fantastic neighbors and Ron just laughed and said he was glad to know someone was looking out. And he told me later on Facebook, "This 'suspicious man' normally would not be awake at that time of the morning, much less be outside in the cold walking around dressed in black. I actually got needed assistance with the problem I was having with the rental car. Thanks neighbors."
Hey, just doing our jobs.
... But if there was a flaming bag of dog poop on our front porch, we'd probably deserve it. Just sayin'.