Getting the mail can be a dangerous undertaking in this, the 18th-most-dangerous city in America. Early this afternoon, I stepped out the door with Miriam to get the mail and say hello to the horses and cows. I didn't get very far, though - sitting on our neighbor's doorstep (our doors face each other) was a surly-looking stranger. I wasn't about to leave the house alone with that guy hanging out right outside, even if Jeremy was just inside (sleeping - it was an early morning with a sick Miriam). So I turned right around, went back in the house, and locked the door.
About an hour later, the guy was still sitting outside. I had seen him walk around the back of our neighbor's house and I was getting suspicious. I sent Jeremy out to see what was going on. He spoke to Mr. Surly and found out that his name was actually Professor Plum (it wasn't, but that's what I'll call him here). He was there to visit our neighbor Mr. Green (he volunteered the name himself) but he wasn't answering the door. Plum claimed that Green must be sleeping and couldn't hear him knocking. We gave him Green's brother's cell phone number and left him to his business. I was relieved that he seemed legitimate, after all.
Another hour or two later, we left to go to a church function. Plum was still sitting outside, waiting for Green to wake up, or whatever. I was a teensy bit nervous about leaving the house so obviously in front of him, but I knew all the doors were locked and also that we'd be back very soon.
Indeed, we were back within 30 minutes. Plum was no longer sitting on Green's doorstep, but his car was still there. We went inside and I started to fix a snack for Miriam. Jeremy worked on putting away some things in our carport storage closet.
I heard a few loud bangs that seemed to shake the very foundation of our house. At first I thought it was just Jeremy slamming the storage closet door, because sometimes it sticks. But a few minutes later, when Jeremy was inside, we heard the banging again. Jeremy stepped out our back patio door and we both immediately heard shouting, grunting, and more extremely heavy bangs coming from Green's back patio door. To me, it sounded like someone was beating somebody else up. To Jeremy, it sounded like someone was trying to break into Pablo's house. I looked at him and said, "I think we should call the police."
So we did. While Jeremy was on the phone with them, I looked out our window to get Plum's license plate number. While I was doing this, Plum himself reappeared from the back and got in his car to drive away. Obviously, he was involved in the ruckus we had just heard in the backyard.
Jeremy ran out to see which way the car turned out of our street. He didn't make it in time to see, but a few moments later, the police arrived.
I was worried that poor Mr. Green was hurt in his house. But the police did their work and said they thought it was as Jeremy said, that Plum was just trying to break in the house. There was damage to both the front and back entry areas. After they were done asking us questions, we went inside and unfortunately, I don't know the resolution to the situation. The cops stayed around for a couple of hours investigating things and then they left.
Now that several hours have passed, I find myself second-guessing the situation and wondering if maybe we just caused problems for our neighbors and a friend of theirs. But we did what seemed right at the time - I really thought someone was getting beat up in our neighbor's backyard, and calling the police was the wisest option available. And besides, if it wasn't what it appeared to be, our neighbors need to tell their friends not to lurk on their doorstep all day and then break into their house.