Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Should I Be Scared?

The strangest thing happened to me today.

Everything started out normally. After school, I took two of my kids' classmates home with us for play dates. They destroyed the house, of course, and argued over who could do what, and pitted the "big kids" against the "little kids" from time to time, but all in all everyone had a good time.

Then the mothers came to retrieve the playmates and I sighed a sigh of relief. It was time to clean up the mess. I gave my girls 10 minutes more to play, set the timer, and sat down to review a few blogs until it was time to tackle the mess.

Then there was a knock at the door.

I looked out the window and saw two men. I don't know about you but I grew up in Chicago and I don't just go answering the door for any old two men, that's for sure. They flashed badges and I slowly opened the door, knowing that my crazy dog would be growling at them the whole time.

They introduced themselves. "Hi," said the undercover cop-ish looking one. "I'm special agent [whatever] with the Drug Enforcement Agency and this is my partner [blah blah]." The partner looked like a drug dealer. He had long-ish hair and a hat. Plus a beard and an earring. And some sort of raggy looking coat.

Holy crap.

"Can we come in?" he asked.

"Uh, can I see your badges again, please?" I stammered.

"Sure," he said. He showed me his badge. It looked official, though I'm not really sure what I was expecting to see.

I let them in. But only because my dog, who I was holding by the collar, was still growling at them. They stepped inside and my curious girls, now dressed in pjs for no apparent reason, came downstairs to see who was at the door.

"Can we talk somewhere without the children?" he asked.

My heart was beating about 950 miles a minute. Was I about to be raped or worse?

"Girls, go upstairs," I said. For once in their lives, they listened, and headed up.

I still held the dog by his collar. He wanted to be released badly, but not to attack. He wanted to sniff and wag his tail. He's a Lab for crying out loud, but they didn't have to know that.

Then the man said, the one who looked like an undercover cop, not the one that looked liked a drug-dealer, he said, "Ma'am, we just arrested a man with 210 pounds of marijuana in his car. He had your address on a piece of paper in his car. The address had specific directions on how to get to your home. Do you have any idea why he would have had that?"

"Uh. No." Wait. What the hell did he just say?

"His name was [such and such]. Do you know him?" he asked.

"Uh. No."

"How about [so and so]? Do you know him?" he asked again, calmly.

"Uh. No." By now I'm completely freaking out. What the hell is this man talking about?

"Have you ever lived in California?"

"No."

"Have you ever lived in Washington or Oregon?"

"No."

"Where did you live before here?" he asked.

"Well, we lived across the street in that little green house. We rented it while we were building this house," I answered, stammering the whole time.

"And before that?" he asked.

"Uh, well, Tucson," I said.

"So you've lived in Arizona your whole life?" he asked.

"No. I'm from Chicago. My husband and I are both from Chicago originally. We moved here for me to attend graduate school, then we moved to Kansas City for him to go to medical school, then to Tucson for his residency, and then back here," I managed to say.

"So your husband's a doctor then?" he asked.

"Yes."

"And what do you do?"

"I stay home with my children full time," I said. Oh, and I deal drugs on the side. Ha ha.

"Can you think of any reason why this guy would have your address written down in his car?"

"Uh no. Well...." Then I started to think of anything fishy that's ever happened in my life. I recalled the time that my credit card number was stolen and how the criminals had a bunch of stuff shipped to them using my account, including cases of wine and wiring themselves money.

"That stuff is all cleared up now though," I explained.

Then I told him about the time, about last year, I remember it was winter because I was shoveling snow at the time, that a detective came up to me and asked if I knew the people in the green house across the street. The same house I rented while my house was being built. That detective had told me that the lady of the house was wanted on fraud charges and was currently evading the law, and that if I ever saw her white Bronco, er, white Explorer, I was to call the sheriff's office. A couple of days later, I did see her Explorer and called.

And then there was the time when we lived in Tucson and I kept getting calls for someone named [blank]. The calls sounded like bill collectors. They kept insinuating that I knew the person and that I was hiding his whereabouts. I didn't know him. Eventually they stopped calling.

"That's all I can think of," I said.

Then they presented me with their cards and said that I was to call them if I could think of anything. They also told me that they had no indication that there was anything I should be afraid of. That the man in question denied any ties to our town and claimed he had no intention of ever coming to our house.

"Specifically, if you see any suspicious looking vehicles outside, please call."

I immediately called my husband.

"Hi, the weirdest thing just happened and I'm kinda freaking out," I said when he answered. Then I explained the whole thing. "Do you have any patients who might be angry with you or anything?"

"Well, yes, actually, but I don't think that's it," he said. We talked about the situation in exhausting detail and then he thought of something. "You know all the landscapers we've had around here recently? and the Labor Express guys that we have coming to the house to do various things?"

Ah yes, the labor guys. We don't even know their names. That could explain why someone we don't know might have our address and directions to our home in their car.

So I called the Special Agent.

"Great," he said. "Can I come over and show you some pictures?"

Now I was starting to feel a bit like a witness on Law and Order. "Sure," I said. "Come after my husband is home. He'll recognize the men better than I would."

So they came again. The undercover cop and the silent drug dealer-ish looking guy. They showed us some pictures and asked a few more questions. We didn't recognize anyone. Is that fortunate or unfortunate? We couldn't decide.

Then they reiterated what they had said before. You're not in any danger that we know of, we're just trying to find this guy's connection to [our town]. Please be in touch if you notice anything suspicious.

Then they left.

"Hello? Brinks? Yes, I'd like a security system installed."

10 comments:

Crystal said...

Oh, I'd be totally freaked out too. How weird! What a strange thing to have happen to you. I would have totally made those guys wait outside and talk to me through the glass door, or maybe stepped outside with them. I hate when people come to my door when I am alone with the kids. And a badge, they should find some way to call you from police HQ before they just show up. Of course if you were a bad guy I guess assume you would run away. LOL I guess that wouldn't work so well.

painted maypole said...

eek. that would freak me out, too. The son of the family who lived here before us has clearly violated his parole, as in the months after we moved here the Sherrif's men came at least twice looking for him, and we get letters from the parole office from time to time, addressed to him. NO idea why he was on parole. It worried me when we first moved here, but it's been 3 years so now it's just a weird story.

Family Adventure said...

Spooky! You handled it so well, I think I would have been more scatterbrained, and would not have thought of all those possible connections. I would have been too worried about the kids and whether they thought I'd done something wrong!

And I think a security system - if you don't have one already - is definitely the way to go right now. Just in case.... (I'm sure it's not necessary, but I know I'd sleep better at night). And of course your lab! (cute!)

Heidi

Katrina said...

Holy crap! I think I would have peed my pants and then started crying. You handled that WAY WAY WAY better than I would, although I can tell you a story. ;o)

I'd get the security system ASAP, just to be on the safe side.

Mrs. G. said...

Yikes. I was on edge thoughout this whole story (great build up)!
Yes, get a security system. Very strange.

Mary Alice said...

I have the heebeegeebees. You haven't been in the process of selling something on craigs list? Could this guy be a friend or provided transportation for the landscape dude and it got left in there? Recently ordered digital TV? Needed a quote done on some other home service? I would keep those girls in sight at all times.....hubby doesn't have a cancer patient does he? Just joking.

Jen M. said...

If you don't get a system installed TODAY I am bringing Ella over and sleeping on your couch until Dan gets home.

Lisa said...

I have chills. I would have been scared to death to let them into the house, and even more so when they told you the story of what was going on. If someone comes to the door during the day I tell them through the window to come back in the evening...and that's if I even go to the door.
I'd teach your dog to bite :)

the dragonfly said...

That is so creepy!! I made my husband promise that if he ever deploys when we live off post I get to have a dog. A German shepherd, hopefully. Something watchdog-ish. Glad your dog was protecting you!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Holy Crap! My heart is beating a mile a minute! Oh, I hope that you get that security system soon.

And, I need to get a dog.