A few minutes later, as we were walking up the road, a police cruiser pulled up next to us. The officer rolled down the window and said, “Could I have 30 seconds of your time?”
I nodded as I frantically tried to calculate when I’d last licensed my dogs. Visions of myself with Raven handcuffed to me, sitting in the back of the cruiser, filled my head.
“You live on this road?” the officer asked me.
Again I nodded, then gave him my address.
“Well, did you know that number 87 was broken into yesterday…in broad daylight?”
I shook my head, suddenly wishing I didn’t know.
“I just thought you should be aware. If you see anything suspicious, particularly a silver SUV slowly driving around, let us know. The guy might even knock on your door and ask you if you want your walkway shoveled – but it’s just an excuse to find out if anyone’s home.”
The cruiser then drove off, leaving me standing in a heavily wooded area, with the next house over a quarter-mile away. I decided to make an immediate U-turn and head back home. The only problem was that Raven knew our routine too well – two miles every day – and she wasn’t about to go back home until she’d walked her full two miles. She immediately turned into “mule dog,” firmly standing her ground as I tugged on her leash.
“Please, Raven, move!” I begged her. “I’ll give you a nice cookie when we get home!”
She didn’t budge.
“OK, I’ll give you two cookies!”
“How about a side of beef?”
My eyes nervously darted back and forth as we hurried back to the house. Every tree, every rock, every snow bank suddenly seemed like the perfect hiding place for the sinister guy in the silver SUV. I was positive he was watching me at that very moment and saying, “Aha! She’s not home right now!” and then he’d break all Olympic speed records getting to my house and looting it before I arrived.
In my panic, I’d completely forgotten that Willow, my other 100-plus-pound rottweiler, was still in the house, and that any burglar who did manage to get inside probably would end up with his pants looking as if they were made of fringe.
When I told my uncle about the burglary and the mysterious tire tracks in my driveway, he said he was going to bring over a few security items to protect the house. That was fine with me. In fact, I was hoping he’d arrive driving a flatbed truck carrying an eight-foot-high electrical fence with a couple hundred feet of razor wire coiled around the top.
Instead, he installed, among other things, something called a stealth camera – a motion-activated surveillance device that has infrared capabilities for taking both daytime and nighttime photos. My uncle said the camera would capture burglars and prowlers on film in crystal clarity in a “snap.” I secretly hoped it might even capture something more exciting…like a UFO…or Bigfoot – something I could sell to the National Enquirer for a couple million dollars.
The next day was trash pickup day, so at 5:30 a.m., I wheeled my trash containers out to the road. I threw on my coat over my flannel pajamas, and didn’t bother to put in my partial denture or take the curlers out of my hair. No one is ever around at that ungodly hour other than squirrels and birds anyway, so I wasn’t concerned about running into anyone...or scaring someone into instant blindness.
After I deposited the trash containers at the end of the driveway, I walked back toward the house. That’s when, because it was still pretty dark out, I noticed a pale orange light flickering in the trees.
It took a few seconds for me to realize it was the stealth camera! I’d forgotten all about it! So there I was, forever captured on film – half toothless, braless and with a head full of pink hair curlers. I bolted into the house before any more embarrassing photos could be snapped.
If, at that very moment, a gang of thugs had come up the driveway and burst into the house, and the police had to confiscate the photo footage (with me still on it) as evidence, I wouldn’t have reported the crime. Sacrificing my TV and jewelry would have been a small price to pay to save myself from eternal humiliation.
So from now on, I’m going to take out the trash only while I’m in full makeup, my hair is combed, and I’m wearing all of the appropriate undergarments…and teeth.
It might not hurt to throw on a dress and high heels, either.