Friday night here in Greensboro was a wet affair. It was exactly how fall nights should be: windy, occasionally rainy, the damp leaves shivering on the trees.
I was acutely aware of the night, because I was sitting silently in my house, catching up on some freelance editing. I’ve had freelance work almost every single day this year, a fact that is reflected in both my credit rating (yay) and cuticles (nay). My scores are up but my nails are shredded.
It’s not a stressful task, but you do have to give the work your total concentration, which is why I was so annoyed when I started to hear the singing.
“Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’.'”
I looked up from my papers.
“Don’t know where I’ll be tomORRRRRoowwww.”
Well. That was a drunk person. And it sounded like he was really close by. I figured it was some kid walking by. He sounded young. He sounded like a young white kid, probably went to a football game at the high school, maybe was walking back. I can assure you I never once left a high school football game sober, back in my day. Probably left singing Wheel in the Sky, as well.
“Carry on my wayward sonnnnn. There’ll be peace when you are done.”
I had just gotten back into my work when another song started up. Edsel lifted his head from his bed.
“Hrrrrr,” said Edsel, his neck getting all dinosaur-y. Whenever he’s pissed off, the first hackle to rise is the neck hackle-dy area. If he’s infuriated, a whole line of fur rises up along his spine, and he looks just like a
just like a
oh, that one kind of dinosaur. With the hackles.
Anyway, that bothered me. The hrrrrrr did. Usually Eds is indifferent to noises like that, unless said person making noise has the nerve to be singing with a dog, like if Mr. Bojangles walked by or what have you.
The guy was singing way, way off key, and as I said before, drunkenly. And he wasn’t moving from his spot right outside my house. I tried the peephole on my door, which somehow renders everything outside 10 times darker than it is anyway, and a rainy fall night isn’t what you’d call full of the light as it is.
So, annoyed, I decided to whip open my door and glare out of it. That’d show him.
“Don’t know where I’ll be tomorrrrroowwwwwww.”
I could hear him, but I couldn’t see him. He was close by, like maybe across the street.
“Wheel in the sky…”
Was he just walking toward me? Did it sound like he was coming closer, with this bad singing and his classic rock? Was he headed OVER HERE?
“Hrrrrrrr, wowww wow!” Edsel started to bark.
And that is when I called 9-1-1.
Look, I know it was a tad hysterical. But it was so fucking creepy. He’d been out there singing for at least 10 minutes, not moving, and then when I opened the door, it sounded like he’d started walking over.
“9-1-1, hello, June. Did you try that new curly girl product I told you about last time?”
“Heh. Yeah, hey, Edna. Listen, I know this sounds insane, but…”
I told the 9-1-1 operator my tale of woe. She sounded bored and said they’d send someone out as soon as they could. And see, once? I accidentally and wish I hadn’t? Listened to this terrible 9-1-1 call, where and old lady called because someone had come to her door asking for someone who didn’t live there, and it didn’t sit right with her, it seemed odd, and you’re listening to this thing thinking, Get a life, old lady, kind of like what you’re thinking reading this.
And then? There’s a clunk in the recording?
AND ALL YOU HEAR ARE THE OLD LADY’S SCREAMS. That guy at the door came in and murdered her. For no reason. As opposed to all the valid reasons to murder an old woman.
This is what I was thinking of when the bored operator hung up. “You’re just being silly,” I told myself, trying not to observe Edsel’s hackle sitch, over there.
“Hrrrrrrr,” said Edsel, jumping off the chair and running to the back door.
And that is when my back door opened.
CALL NED CALL NED CALL NED CALL NED, my innards were screeching at me. For years now, any time there’s been a major emergency, such as a cockroach on the wall, I have called Ned, who is literally four minutes away and who loved screaming over to rescue me.
I did not call Ned. Please see above references to strong black woman.
I did, however, call 9-1-1. I was already picturing my YouTube recordings, where the first time I sound fairly alarmed and the second one I am a screeching wet hen.
“SOMEONE JUST TRIED TO OPEN MY BACK DOOR!” I cackled at 9-1-1.
“Okay, ma’am, your address?”
Don’t they keep a LOG or something? The second operator had no idea I’d just called. I figured once my number came up it’d give a whole history.
Well, she was married to Marvin, and back then she called 9-1-1 when her dog had cornered a possum. But then they divorced, and…
The operator stayed on the line with me till the policeman came. I saw him wandering my yard before he knocked, shining his flashlight everywhere like at the beginning of Columbo. He was probably looking for my current cultural references.
My point is, he and I searched everywhere, and found nothing. “Did your motion sensor come on?” he wanted to know. I have no idea. I was too busy having ice needles in my anus to notice my lights.
We searched high and low, and there was no evidence anyone had been over, other than me hearing my fekking back door open. The cop clearly thought I was insane, which, come on.
He bid me a good night, and drove off into the wet fall night.
The singing had completely stopped.