It's a good thing I didn't have plans last Friday night or I would have missed all the excitement. Stuff started happening around 4 p.m. I had picked Ian up at school and we made an emergency frozen yogurt run. As we're driving home and about to cross the main intersection in town, a car with flashing lights flew through the red light, headed in the same direction we were going. That car was followed by three unmarked-yet-official-looking SUVs. None of them did the polite (a.k.a. safe) emergency vehicle thing where they actually pause at the red light, taking into consideration the driver on their cell phone who's not paying attention. Nope. These drivers were flying. Anyone in the way was a goner. I swear one of them was practically on two wheels taking the turn.
I said to Ian, "Something's going on." I've always been very observant. I told him that that was no run of the mill police activity. We wondered, was there a political figure in town that had to be quickly moved to a safe location? Was there something happening at the mall? Were we dealing with terrorists?
Upon arriving home, I took note of an increasing number of sirens coming in our general direction. Ian, always the joker, said, "They're coming to our street." I wasn't amused, but he wasn't joking. Sure enough, a couple local cop cars made their way around our circle. Rather than speeding through, however, they were clearly taking their time. They were driving slowly in search of a bad guy who got away after a federal drug bust at a nearby seedy motel went badly. We locked the doors and watched the action from the living room. All told, over the next hour or two, at least a dozen cops paid a visit to the neighborhood. I called Rob who was in Florida at spring training. Of course, there was nothing he could do to help from that distance, even though he had easy access to a baseball bat, his weapon of choice.
As word began to spread around the neighborhood via email, we learned that one of our neighbors was driving home, and more than a little surprised when she turned the corner to find one cop in the road with his gun drawn, another cop canvassing the area, and a third officer in her driveway. The third officer was kind enough to tell her that her children were safe. Which made her wonder, "Why wouldn't my children be safe? Why do you know about my children??" He explained the scenario and told her to stay inside and lock the doors.
Being the calm and in control individual that I am, I wasn't particularly worked up about this situation. With everything locked up, the authorities on the scene, and my 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, I figured we were completely safe. But then the sun set and the bad guy still hadn't been found, and there were helicopters overhead, and I had to take Abby to softball practice. And suddenly I was pretty freaked out. The fact that our shed door was partially open did not ease my anxiety.
I hustled both Ian and Abby into the minivan, which I had parked in the garage so they wouldn't have to come out and face the cold-blooded killer still on the loose in our backyard (this is how those urban legends are formed). No longer calm and under control, my heart beating furiously, I quickly backed out of the garage to put some distance between us and this madman. Unfortunately, I was quicker on the gas pedal than the garage door was on its track. Now I could not fully open or fully close the door, meaning I could not get the van out of the garage, and the door was open just enough to allow the psychopath to come in, wielding his chainsaw.
At this point, I call Rob. He has a baseball bat. In Florida. I manically explain the situation. He cannot help me. I figure out how to disconnect the power to the door so that I can manually open it with my brute strength. I get the van out. Now I cannot close the door. Ian helps me with his brute strength. Filled with anxiety, I back out of the driveway, taking a section of the lawn with me when I fail to keep the steering wheel straight. We leave the house, knowing the garage door can be lifted and the fugitive from justice may be hiding in there when we get home. Rob texts me: "Don't go straight home after taking Abby to softball practice. Find a television somewhere and see what's going on before you head back." I don't listen.
By the time we return, all activity on the street has ceased. The helicopters are gone. My shed door is still ajar, but not widely enough to have allowed in what they tell us was a very big man. Still, three days later, Abby refuses to put the sleds away in the shed because that homicidal maniac could be hiding therein.
This whole situation was unnerving in how unnerved it made me feel. I always thought I'd be calm and cool in any dangerous situation. Figured worse comes to worst, I could put those eight years of martial arts to work and bust up the madman with a few swift kicks to the head. And if that didn't work, I could pull out the super cool and scary looking knife I was gifted with upon earning my 2nd degree belt. But alas, rather than allow my adrenaline to prepare me for a fight, I allowed my adrenaline to drive me into my garage door (which I later managed to fix with duct tape, by the way).
Naturally my dad's response to all this was to highly recommend a firearm safety training course (I would first need the firearm), but based on my sweaty palms, nervous stomach, and shaky legs, I'm pretty sure I'd be more likely to shoot myself in the foot, literally, than to scare off the bad guy.
Whom they still haven't found...