The Night Visitor

My house has always been something of a hotbed for sleepovers. It’s an old, large house, with plenty of places to hide. Technically that means places for the kids to hide, but in practice, it also provides a lot of cover for me to hide out from the children. Seriously, this place would be a great venue for the world championships of hide-and-seek.

And I don’t know, maybe I’m a contrarian, but I really like it when my kids host sleepovers because it means they’re entirely occupied by someone other than me. I get more reading done when there are a handful of other people’s children ripping through every square inch of the place until 2 a.m. than I ever do when it’s just me and mine. During a sleepover, outside of ordering dinner, no one wants a damn thing from Dad.

Except, of course, when a random, presumably drunk stranger walks into your house in the middle of the night and plops down on your couch for a few minutes before wandering around, realizing she’s in the wrong place and then seeing herself out.

That’ll get you back in demand real quick.

First things first…I am not, nor have I ever been, one of those “Aw shucks, who needs to lock yer doors, this here’s the safest place on earth” type of people. I’m the opposite, actually — I go overboard on security. When I lived in Phoenix, I had security screens and double dead-bolts. When I moved to the country into a house on four acres, I still kept an ADT subscription on the house, which my rural neighbors thought was hilarious.

And here at our current house, I have two locks on the front door and three on the back door, and four security cameras that record directly into cloud storage. Anyone who comes into my house gets caught on at least two cameras. And they’re always on, and the doors are always locked at night.

Except…when you have three sleepover girls who want to spend the night on the trampoline in the front yard. Then, of course, you break protocol and leave it unlocked. And what’s the big deal, right, because this here’s the safest place on earth!

On Saturday night, as Lorenzo and I were headed to bed, he locked the front door deadbolt and was climbing up to lock the chain — and I stopped him. He was shocked. “WHAT? How can we leave the door unlocked? Someone might just come in our house!” I said Lorenzo, no one’s going to just walk past three girls on the trampoline and walk right into our house.

And off to sleep we went.

The next thing I remember is being shaken awake by Ezra at 7:30 a.m. “Sorry to wake you up, but this is important,” he said. “The girls said that a girl came into our house in the middle of the night.”

And I’m thinking whaaat…c’mon man, that’s not possible. The one night in a decade that we leave the front door unlocked, and someone comes in the house? And I didn’t wake up? And more importantly, Fernando didn’t wake up? No way.

So I crawl out of bed and hear the squawking of preteen girls downstairs, and pick up my phone off the charger. Sure enough, Mia had Facebook messaged me from the trampoline at 2:15 a.m. that “some girl just walked in our house.” (Mia has since been made aware that if you rank the top 10 ways to wake up her father, Facebook messaging does not make the list).

Down in the living room, everybody’s in one piece and nothing’s missing, so any reason to panic gives way to pure curiosity. Who the hell came in our house, and why?

I pull up the camera footage, and there she is (pictured above), a young-ish woman confidently striding up to our house and just walking right in (and the trampoline girls that escaped her notice over her right shoulder). Once inside, she plops right down on the couch. She sits motionless for about three minutes, then checks her phone. Then she gets up and walks up the stairs, presumably down the hall where the boys and I were sleeping.

About 30 seconds later, still upstairs, she’s talking on her phone and heads down the stairs, straight for the front door, and off she goes. The camera audio catches her asking her phone caller, “were we by a house with a trampoline?” and off-camera, the girls catch her telling the same friend “I WAS JUST LEGIT INSIDE SOMEONE’S HOUSE!”

Boy. Can’t wait to tell the other parents about this, especially the parents of the one trampoline girl who was a first-time guest at our house. “Went great! We ate at the Noodle Company, played some games, had a criminal trespass by a drunk stranger. Come back soon!”

I wasn’t even going to call the cops, but the kids wanted me to. They sent out a trainee officer who was relieved that I didn’t want to press charges after running down the paperwork that would be involved for both his folks and me. I didn’t want the kid to go to jail for being drunk and stupid; if that were always the case, I’d still be locked up for the time I drove my car backwards through a Taco Bell drive-thru while intoxicated so that we could still order food even though my driver’s window was broken and wouldn’t roll down.

No harm, no foul.

Fernando, however, has been dressed down for his lack of watchdogging. The new protocol for trampoline sleepovers is that I sleep on the couch downstairs instead of upstairs in my bed. Plans for a semi-permanent sign on the door reading “WRONG HOUSE, DUMBASS!” are still under consideration.

Night Visitor, if you’re out there and you read this, you were very lucky this time. Walking into a stranger’s house in the middle of the night in one of America’s reddest states is a good way to accidentally get dead.

And, in fairness, to make a very memorable sleepover.


One Comment

  1. Stephen Gygi
    May 30, 2017

    Great read. 😊

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