LAST LAUGH

The crim­i­nal in the closet

Reminisce - - Contents -

Our daugh­ter Tina Ann was

12 when we moved into an older home in the Sun­nys­lope neigh­bor­hood of Phoenix. We’d warned her a few times not to slam the back door be­cause there was a crack in the win­dow glass.

One day when I was in the kitchen cut­ting up a large wa­ter­melon with a butcher knife, I heard the back door slam very hard. I hur­ried to the back room, in­tend­ing to scold Tina Ann, but she wasn’t there. I guessed she must have been go­ing out the door, not in. I was about to call her when I heard a noise in the washer/dryer closet. She knows she’s in

trouble and she’s hid­ing, I thought. Think­ing to sur­prise her, I tip­toed to the closet, yanked open the door and yelled, “What are you do­ing in there?”

Ex­cept it wasn’t Tina Ann. It was a man, a stranger, who pushed past me and es­caped out the back door. I dropped the knife and ran to my hus­band in the front room, yelling about the strange man I’d just seen in the laun­dry closet.

At that point we heard a com­mo­tion out­side and saw sev­eral po­lice­men com­ing up the street. We told them about our in­truder and, af­ter a quick search, the cops found him hid­ing in a neigh­bor’s yard.

Later we learned that our in­truder and an­other man had been shop­ping at a nearby book­store when the clerk saw them steal­ing and called the po­lice. Dur­ing the ar­rest, one of the men had bro­ken away and run off, end­ing up in our back­yard. When he found our door un­locked, he de­cided to hide in­side the house.

I don’t know who was more fright­ened that day, me at find­ing a stranger in the house or the in­truder at be­ing con­fronted by an an­gry woman with a butcher knife. The only one who thought it was funny was Tina Ann.

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