16 May 2016

Things That Go Bump or Scream in The Night

I'm  a notorious insomniac. It all started the night I was born. I didn't arrive until two am. I have no idea what my mother was doing out so late. She was barely eighteen. I think it was because she and my dad had a thing. But me sleep? No way. I was sliding naked into a brightly lit, cold room where some giant fellow slapped me on the butt and made me cry. Of course mother and I finally did get to sleep around four. Well, that was when I got to sleep.

First, this really sweet faced nurse cleaned me up and dressed me and I got to flirt with my dad. One look at him and I understood why mom married him. Tall, good looking, dark hair and blue eyes. Next I flirted with the boy baby next to me in the nursery. Must admit I've been making eyes with boys ever since. We did sleep a little while.  Mom went to asleep pretty soon after I arrived. I think that giant guy gave her some kind of knock out drops. Those bright lights and those darn nurses kept bothering me every few minutes. It all led to me having trouble going to sleep some sixty-seventeen years later.

The other night I was reading, Michael Connelly's latest book, The Crossing, featuring Harry Bosch and his half-brother Mickey Haller. A wonderful read by the way. If you like that sort of thing. Any way I heard this loud male voice say, "Get Out." or "You Get Out of Here." I wasn't sure of exactly what he said, it was something along those lines. Okay it's 2:30am and the house is really quiet that time of night. No television noise. The AC isn't running at that minute. I did notice the time.

Normally, I wouldn't exactly get scared. My little town is almost like a village and it's probably as safe as anyone can be. But, I do live here alone. And we do have full time police force. In fact, the police station is right up the street from me. A mile or less.

The loud male voice just hit me wrong that time of the night. I only heard that one remark. he didn't repeat it nor did I hear a response. I'm smart enough not to look out my windows or turn on the porch light to SEE what might be going on out in the street in front of my house. I didn't remember hearing any cars screeching or banging together, however I was involved in my book. And this book isn't like a Stephen King. If I'd been reading a King book I would have turned off my light, gone to bed and covered up my head. You know, just in case something was out there and could GET me.

I did pick up my phone and dial 911. The dispatcher said, "911 what's your emergency." I said, "It's not exactly an emergency. I want to report hearing a man's voice outside my home, yelling to someone." He asked for my phone number, I'm on my only phone, a cell phone. Then he asked to verify my address. And I started to give him my name about the time he was asking for it. He asked me again to detail what I had heard and assured me the police were rolling this way. I told him I was a 77 year old woman, widowed and lived alone. That this voice at this time of the night had scared me. He said "Did you look out?" I said, "No. I'm all locked up inside and didn't look out because if someone is out there I don't want them to see me. They might not be happy about that."

He kept me on the phone for a couple of minutes, I assumed until the police arrived. There wasn't a siren and I didn't even hear a car, but in a couple more minutes I heard someone walk up my front porch steps. Then someone said, "Mrs. Grape" and knock on the door. I said, "who is it." Then realized it must be police because they called my name. I got up, turned on the porch light and could see a police officer there. It was a very pretty female police officer. I opened the door.

My goodness, she was young, wearing an officer's uniform. Shorter than my five, three, she looked to be about five two and maybe a little more. Loaded down with belt and gun and all kinds of equipment that likely brought her weight up to maybe 110 lbs. She said, "I'm with the police." I said, " Come in." She stuck out her hand, shook mine firmly, and I said, my name is Jan. She said her name was Sara.

Police officer Sara said, "I walked up and down the street out here. I didn't see anything and all the houses around here looked dark. Have you heard anything else?"

I said, "No, only a dog barking."

She said she saw and heard a dog. Said it was an Alaskan Husky.  She said she wasn't too fond of big dogs. And she asked again to tell her what I heard.

I repeated it all again. This loud male voice and at 2:30 in the morning. I didn't know if a couple of guys were arguing or what? I didn't know if it was in front of my house or down the street. How noise travels this time of night. I said, "I didn't know if a couple of guys were arguing and could maybe start shooting one another."

The dog started barking again and that's when I realized that a man shouting, "Get Out." or "Get outta here" was probably yelling at that dog. Maybe the dog was in his yard and he was trying to chase him away. AND boy, did I feel dumb.

But Sara said,  "I'm glad you called. It could have been something dangerous and you and I are both glad it wasn't. Don't ever hesitate to call. I'm going to sit in the patrol car down here a little ways for a few minutes and be absolutely sure there's nothing to worry about.

I thanked her and apologized a couple more times. I asked her name again to be sure I had it right.

She said, "It's Sara."

I said, "I can remember that."

And then she said, "Just ask for the girl. I'm the only girl in the department. I get a little teasing about that."

I said, okay. I also made a mental note to tell her soon she should never put up with the guys just calling her a girl. She had to pass the same qualifying as the "boys" did.

I also didn't tell her that I write mysteries and that my imagination often goes wild especially with things that go bump or scream in the night.


  1. Great story, Jan. And glad it turned out to be nothing. But y'know...there just might a story in it for you to write there. -- And btw, I'm not an insomniac, but I am a night person, so I know about things that go bump in the night.

  2. A good piece- and sounds as if an interesting new character just walked into your writer's imagination.

  3. Nice that your police are so understanding! Love how you open this one- great wit.

  4. Glad you're safe! Unfortunately I would have looked out the window. I don't know how you were able to not do that! Of course, I could be dead from it, but.... Great article!

  5. Wow. Cool story. My mom was tiny like that. It's kind of prompted me to write about her!

  6. Brrrrrr! My house is wayyy close to the other houses to each side. I've heard some very close noises. Glad all is okay!

  7. Great blog! Glad all ended well.

  8. Great blog! Glad all ended well.

  9. "I also made a mental note to tell her soon she should never put up with the guys just calling her a girl. She had to pass the same qualifying as the "boys" did." All right, Jan!!!! :-D

  10. Please don't anyone take the first paragraphs of my blog too seriously. About 95% is fiction, in case you didn't guess.

    The man yelling and me calling 911 and police officer Sara and me realizing the dog was most likely who the man was yelling at and making me feel a little chagrined is all true. But I honestly wasn't afraid. I was a little concerned that some dang fools were outside getting ready to fight. My hope was that it was with fists and not guns.

    I'm still glad I call 911. Nice to meet Officer Sara and I likely will have to put her in a story soon. But change the name to protect the innocent. And I actually will call the police anytime I am concerned. I'd rather call them 50 times and it be nothing than for something to happen and me not call. Not so much as happen to me but happen to someone else.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. There were several comments on FB because I posted it there. I try to encourage people to come read our Sleuthsayer.org site.

    And I want to offer belated congratulations to all our authors who have been nominated for awards or have won awards. I'm proud and humble to be included in this outstanding group.


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