The criminal in the closet
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.