Steve: Y'all come with me to Arkansas
Me: What will we do while you're on the golf course?
Steve: They have walking trails. You and Rob could go for a walk through the state park.
Me: Is it safe?
Steve: I'm not sure if the trails are paved.
Me: No, is it safe?
Steve: Safe from what?
Me: Serial killers.
Steve: [silence] I'm pretty sure.
[we roll into the state park at 12:30 am. It's pitch dark, and nobody is around]
Steve: Y'all wait right here, I'll get us checked in to the lodge.
Me: [looking around] How will I defend myself in the event of an ambush?
Steve: [laughing] An ambush by who, park rangers?
Me: [gravely serious] No. Serial killers.
Steve: Where is this coming from?
Me: [sigh] A man killed some women in Yosemite.
Steve: There is no serial killer in this state park.
Me: I feel fairly certain there is somebody, somewhere in this state park, who would be willing to kill me. The question is, will they find me?
[Three days later]
Steve: I have a voicemail from Frisco Police. They say there were two noise complaints against us because the dogs were barking.
[I'm immediately overcome with guilt over leaving them, and anxiety that Laney and Libby have met with foul play].
Me: Laney has separation anxiety! What if she worked herself up into a frenzy and had a heart attack and died?
Steve: Laney isn't dead.
Me: What if the angry neighbor exacted revenge on the dogs because they wouldn't shut up?
Me: What if somebody hurled rat poison over the fence, and the dogs ate it?
Steve: Nobody does that.
Me: Yes they do. And the fence isn't locked. What if somebody shot or stabbed them?
Steve: You need to stop.
Me: I have a shooting pain in my side. Why do you have to tell me they're in trouble when we're three hours away?
Steve: Relax, it'll be fine.
That night, while Robinson and I are home alone and it's dark outside, I hear a knock at the door. I never answer the door at night. Or when I'm home alone. Or ever. The last time I answered the door, I met a Biggie Smalls look-alike. He was a recovering heroin addict who had turned his life around and was going door-to-door collecting donations for the nonprofit organization he credits with helping him. I realized that under different circumstances, my friendly exchange with the large, imposing man could have ended differently. I'm fairly certain that all recovering junkies are not so courteous as he.
Two nights later, 8:00 pm. I had just arrived home from Target. Another knock at the door. Convinced it's the disgruntled neighbor coming over to air his grievances, I refuse to answer. The visitor lingers for an uncomfortably long time. He or she finally leaves, and I do what anybody would have done in my situation: I called the police.
Me: I have a bitter neighbor with an ax to grind, who may be stalking me.
They send an officer to my house. He informs me that it was he who rang my doorbell. I inform him that I have seen way to many episodes of 48 Hours Mystery and Forensic Files to answer my door to an unknown visitor (I have no peep hole, and there are windows on either side of my door, making it impossible to see who is at the door without them seeing me. I hid in my laundry room until he left.) Anyway, he said that during the one hour I was at Target, my neighbors called the cops on me again to complain about my dogs barking. In the end, I was glad I called the police (something most people would have considered an overreaction) because:
- I got a little face time with one of Frisco's finest. He was super nice.
- I got a little education on city ordinances
- The officer told me my baby was pretty
- I am no longer concerned that the lady next door hates me and my dogs.
- I don't have to be scared, because nobody is stalking me.