Things That Go Flash in the Night

I was so tired from all the yardwork that I didn’t sleep well. I had tried to heat up the cold beach house, first by opening the windows and letting in the warmer air, and then in the evening, by turning on the heat. The thermostat wasn’t working and indicated I needed to replace the batteries.

I rummaged through the junk drawer but found no triple A batteries. I doubled up my socks and my shirts and climbed in bed, under three quilts. Sleep was good until one unruly dog climbed into bed, disrupting the carefully tucked covers, exposing me to the cold air. I got up once (I never get up at night),  turned on my heating pad, rearranged the quilts and fell into a deep sleep, until . . .

Shadows and light bounced across the bedroom wall, waking me up. My window is 7 feet wide, so I have two roller shades, one that is six feet wide and one that is one foot wide. There is a sliver of light that comes through the crack between the two shades. The light bounced, unlike a car light coming up the shared driveway that would hold steady.

Someone walking up the driveway.

I pulled on the big shade and it rolled up. The sun hadn’t risen yet. The neighbor’s garage door was down, so she wasn’t the one walking around.

My car was sitting out on the driveway, unlocked.  I stumbled out of bed and went to the back door, pulling it open. The motion light overhead popped on. I hurried to the wooden gate, eight feet high, and opened it. I went to my car, opened the door, pushed the lock button that locked all the doors at once. While doing this, I noticed two people shining their flashlights into my neighbor’s car, parked in her back yard, about 60 feet away from me.

Then I shut the car door. It made a beeping sound. The two people took off through my neighbor’s yard and past her wire fence with holes in it, and continued up the hill to the next street.

I went inside, pulled out my mouthguard and called 9-1-1. MY heart was pounding.

I reported the guys with flashlights looking into car windows. I couldn’t say what colors they wore (it was dark) what race they were (it was dark) and if they had weapons (it was dark).

I think they were looking for easy theft in unlocked cars. Mine had nothing of value to anyone but me, a stack of CDs,  some Snapples in a cooler, and thrift store finds.

They weren’t even looking under the cars for catalytic converters. Did I mention that when I went inside, I let my dogs into the back yard, and they immediately started barking?

One neighbor later asked if I had a gun.

The neighbor whose car was being inspected said I was brave.

I wasn’t brave. I had adrenaline flowing, worried about my unlocked car. That will teach me. Just because it’s 100 feet off the street doesn’t mean it’s safe to leave my car open like that, even in a sleepy little beach town.

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