Before I begin, I have to tell you this quick tidbit from my childhood:
When I was a child and lived in the city, my parents took me on picnics in an old graveyard. They thought it was hilarious to tell me about the Hammer-Wielding Hobo who lived in the graveyard and would come “get me” if I took flowers off the graves.
Now to the story:
If I’m at home alone and someone knocks on the door, I don’t open it, unless I’m expecting someone. I peek through the curtains to see who it is, but if I don’t know them I hide until they go away.
And why, pray tell, are you like this when you live in a small town with a low crime rate?
Ah. Good question.
*Spooky voice* Come closer to the fire, children, and turn off your flashlights, while I tell you a tale of horror and woe. And every word of it is true.
Growing up, I lived in a city with a high crime rate. No one ever left their doors unlocked. My car was stolen when I was 19. A company where I worked hired a police officer to come to the office to teach us about personal safety. I didn’t live in fear, but being reasonably cautious was a way of life.
When I left home, my mother and father moved away from the city to a teeny-tiny town in the Midwest. A sleepy, boring little town where nothing ever happens. Once there, they got jobs. My mother worked in the kitchen of a restaurant.
The owners of the restaurant had a friend. A creepy friend. We’ll call him John Doe.
My mother never liked John Doe. She got a bad vibe from him.
One day, my father was late picking up my mother from her shift at the restaurant. But it’s a small town and my mother likes going for walks, so she headed out to walk home.
John Doe was visiting at the restaurant and offered her a ride home. Immediately, and rudely, my mother said, “No!” John Doe offered again. “No!” she said again. But when he offered the third time, she relented and said yes.
In the car, she felt a little silly and told John Doe, “I’m sorry I was so quick to say No to the ride. I’m from a city and we’re not as trusting in cities.” John Doe said it was ok and dropped her off at home.
The next week, the very next week, John Doe was arrested for being part of a ring of serial killers in the small town.
Police estimate that the ringleader killed anywhere between 14 and 60 people. John Doe admitted to, and was convicted of, killing one. Pretty hard to get out of his conviction, since the murder was taped by the ring leader.
So…no. I don’t answer the door when I’m home alone, even though I live in a town with a low crime rate. That story is too creepy and a little too close to home for me. I mean, my mother hitched a ride home with a serial killer, people!!
Someone knocked at my door today. I peeked out of the window, but couldn’t tell who it was. But there were county maintenance trucks outside the house, so I thought, “Oh! It must be them, needing me to move the car.”
No. When I opened the door, a wild-eyed man was standing there with a mud-splattered hammer raised at me!
It’s the Hammer-Wielding Hobo come to “get me” for those flowers I took when I was 10 years old!!!!
Nah…it was just my next door neighbor being goofy. He needed me to unlock the gate so he could get into my yard to fix a hole under his fence. (See the picture.)
But if I ever disappear, tell the police to look for the Hammer-Wielding Hobo. He lives in a small town…in the Twilight Zone. (No, not really. We just finished watching a Twilight Zone with the kids.)