I spent Easter at Beth's place in Visalia, which is surprisingly high-tech for such a quaint one story home. By "high-tech" I mean she has a keypad on her front door instead of a traditional key lock, which for me is one step away from the rapid vertical sliding doors from Star Wars. Considering my poor memory for anything involving numbers this also means I frequently have to wait outside until being let in. With that said it's comforting to be able to sleep in safety at night knowing that any intruder will curse all the time he spent learning to lock-pick after seeing the vast array of buttons and combinations on the front door.
The day after Easter I woke up to hear Beth in the living-room watching television. Seeing that it was nearly noon, I decided it would probably be a good time to wake up and get a shower. As I was standing under the running water I heard the front door open and someone call out loudly "Anybody home?!"
This, I thought, was a strange thing for her dad to yell when he came back for lunch, but I shrugged it off and continued to groom myself. Stepping out to dry I heard a strange tapping at the window above the toilet, which I assumed to be either a possum or a tree branch. Standing on my toes I slid open the small window to find Beth on the other side wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt displaying the words "Fear Not."
"Zack," she whispered, "I think there's a strange man in the house. He just wandered in."
As though in response to my scared expression she concluded with, "I think he might be crazy."
Naturally, when I wake up in a house I'm not used to there is a certain amount of confusion to my morning routine, however this was the first time I realized there was a distinct possibility that I was going to die.
"Can you get to the car?" I asked her.
"I left my keys in the house," she replied. "What should I do?"
Very confused by the sudden turn of events I suggested she try to get to the front of the house, and with the she moved away from the window.
I looked to the door and thought, "if I stay here I could be safe, but considering his ability to go through high-tech locked doors that might not be true. Am I going to go out the window?"
I looked outside the tiny opening and saw the splintered pile of wood on the ground.
"I'm not going to go out the window."
Then I looked at the pile of wooden sticks and noticed one was a bit pointed at the end.
"Am I going to grab one of the pointed sticks and use it as a spear for self defense?"
Realizing I was still only wearing a towel around my waist I decided hunting down an intruder with a crude wooden spear was a tad barbaric, even for me. It might be spring break but that doesn't justify killing somebody with a stick, no matter what MTV might say.
Newcott, Hunter from Beth's Bathroom
"I'm not going to use the spear," I decided.
Instead I opted to get dressed.
Then I heard the knocking at the door.
This is it, I thought. This is the moment I'm going to have to face a crazed, probably coked up intruder without even a spear at my side. Maybe I could grab the toothpaste and squeeze some in his eyes. No that won't work, I thought, after realizing that the only toothpaste I could find was a little sample bottle.
"Psst! It's me!" I heard on the other side.
I opened the door to find Beth standing bravely on the other side.
"I can't find him," she said.
"Let's get out of here."
We both stopped for a moment before entering her bedroom, keeping a close eye on the closet and the dark space underneath her bed. In our minds the intruder was lurking behind every door and dark corner. We grabbed the keys and ran outside.
"Look!" Beth said, pointing towards the side of the house.
The stranger had pulled his truck up to the garage.
I had seen this before on Oprah, I realized. Robbers pull up their vans to the garage to make hauling the goods even easier. The sick freak.
We huddled in a Ford Explorer until deciding to make a break for Beth's car.
Slowly we moved around the side of the house until we saw the intruder for ourselves. In a bizarre twist the man was on a ladder scraping the side of her home with paint materials.
Then we realized the guy was hired by Beth's parents to work on the house.
Wiping the sweat off my brow in relief that I didn't go after him with a spear, I relaxed. It was over, but for how long? After years of paranoia and repeated viewings of crazed zombie movies I thought I would be more prepared for this exact situation, yet I still fell short. With that realization I decided I needed to better prepare myself.
And that's why I have a pile of sharp sticks in my bathroom.