Today, I really wish I had something a little stronger than kool-ade.
This morning, around 4am, my neighbor's dogs were going nuts. I'm a pretty light sleeper under the best of circumstances. My neighbor usually works the night shift, but yesterday afternoon she left for a week of vacation in Cancun.
She has huge dogs. They have already mauled one intruder in the past. A very stupid intruder, apparently. There was damage to a window in that circumstance.
When her dogs hadn't shut up by the time I was dressed, I was a little concerned. My thoughts were running more along the lines of, "I should go retrieve any severed body parts from the dogs so the hospital can attempt to reattach them later," but I grabbed my shotgun & loaded it with a buckshot round in case there were multiple perps I needed to convince to leave the area quickly.
I also grabbed my cell & put my knife in my pocket. I always carry a knife. Not for self defense, per se, but because growing-up on a farm means you will need a knife 50 times a day and it is just an extension of me after all these years.
I walked next door, scanning her lower level windows for non-dog movement and breakage. Nothing. I walked around the front of the house & as I'm about to mount the steps I see what looks like a human head laying in the gloom to the side of the steps.
Immediately my heart stops. My first thought is, this can't be a person. No one lays out in the half-melted snow. This is some crap gnome in her planter and the gloom is playing tricks on my inner child's imagination. Remember being a kid & having every shadow morph into something ominous when the bedroom lights go out?
I take a step closer. It's definitely a man, laying on his back in the planter next to her front stairs! I call out to him loudly, but he doesn't move a muscle. His mouth is closed. His face doesn't even twitch. I turned & raced back to my house & woke Keegan up. He dressed in a flash, first time in his life!
We head back out there, me with more ammo - Keegan with a wicked-looking but fairly useless pellet gun & my phone on standby ready to call 911 if the asshole is agro. I prayed the whole way that the dude would have already bailed... but he was still there. I'm terrified; no drunk sleeps that calmly - no snoring, face placid, nothing.
I called-out to him again, standing at his head, and lighty rap his forehead wth the barrel of my shotgun. I'm waiting for him to make a grab for the gun, something, because he just doesn't look like he's really out of it. But his head hardly moved when I rapped it the first time, nor the 2nd time, harder. I thought maybe he was dead, but a third harder whack to his forehead had him groaning slightly and starting to roll over.
Great! I'm thinking this guy is totally faking it & he's gonna come at me any second, but he never does. I prod, poke, & nudge him until he gets to his feet and it's a few seconds of what I still believed may have been fake-drunk stumbling before he fully acnowledges the barrel of my gun trained on his crotch.
He sobered enough then to tell me he was just drunk, stumble out to water my tree next to the road (I'm still trained on his nether-bits when he turns round, in case he's armed himself), and thank me for not shooting him. He tells me his name (Nathaniel) and says he's freezing. I sent Keeg to start the coffee pot & we sent the bloke packing a minute later with a water bottle full of hot black coffee.
Someone pointed out that I may have saved his life by getting him out of the frozen planter he'd fallen into. Someone else said it was nice I didn't call the cops on the kid & get him charged & sent to jail. Frankly, it didn't occur to me to get the police involved in a non-violent encounter. Well, I guess not so non-violent since he was staring down the barrel of a gun at me the whole time... But I am more than a little spooked that someone scared me so shitless I found it necessary to arm myself right outside my front door.
And I don't know how I'll sleep tonight either, jumping at every noise or bark & wondering if a slightly-more-sober drunk young man comes back to challenge me for scaring the shit outta him last night.
Still, wish I had a little firewater to throw back myself, tonight. Watch out for yourselves & your neighbors - even the ones trying to sleep it off in your yard. Times are tough, and there are those who have a Hell of a lot less than us, just trying to get by for one more day. Usually it's easier to not think about them, because they're sleeping somewhere besides my yard...