The Burglar

A few years ago there was a man who lived in my neighborhood, about 3 doors down from me. He had a wife who worked at the local convenience store, and they had a little boy who was about five years old. They weren’t the friendliest folks who’d ever lived here, but they’d occasionally wave hello if I saw them outside. I’m not sure that he had a job, I guessed that he stayed home and took care of his son. I was sort of right, and sort of wrong  about that.
As it turned out, he was a petty thief. What they used to call a ‘cat burglar’ back in the day. I can only assume that he plied his trade outside of our general area, because I don’t remember any hint of trouble with him. At least not until that day that he set his sights on my next door neighbor’s place.
He had been watching Don and Emmy’s place for a few weeks, keeping note of their patterns of home and away times. When they worked, when they got home from work, when they shopped, or went to the gym. I think he just became obsessed with their place, and I’m not even sure why. They weren’t flashy people, Don did drive a BMW, but Emmy had a Toyota. They had the usual amenities that middle class folks had, large flat screen TVs, a nice stereo, some are that I assume was valuable. Whatever it was, he wanted in there, and set his mind to making that happen. Then one day, just before noon, as I recall, he decided to make his move. I was home that day only because I’d had dental surgery the day before, and wasn’t up to going back to work yet.
In the interests of full disclosure; I wasn’t watching either him, or the place next door, so I am surmising some of the rest of this.
He must have cased the place from the outside, to look for an easy way in, but unfortunately the only open window in the house was a bathroom one. It was a fairly small window, almost exactly the same as the one in my guest bathroom. It’s not even a square foot in size, and it’s also about five feet off the ground. I’m sure he tried his best, but it was just too small for him to ever get through. I guess that’s when he had the worst idea in his entire life. He went and got his kid, to help him break into the house. He figured he could boost the kid up and into the window, then he could run through the place and open the back door, and viola, he’s in! From my open window on that side of the house I could hear him telling his boy that he really needed him to do this. He told him that the people who lived there had lost their keys, and had asked him to try to get the house open before they came home. After hearing all of that, it didn’t take me long to figure out what was what, and I called 911.
Well, he managed to convince the boy to do it, and boosted him up to the window, and pushed him through it. Then he ran to the back door and waited for him to come unlock it. But, the boy didn’t come. I heard him knock on the back door and tell the boy “This way, little buddy, come to this door.” After a few minutes he ran back to the bathroom window and shouted for the kid to ‘Go unlock the damn door!’. He ran back to the door again, but nothing happened.
When the cops finally arrived, the guy didn’t even try to run. I guess he was actually concerned for his kid, I respected that little part of him right then. After the cops gained entry to the house, they found the kid dead on the bathroom floor. He’d fallen in from the window, about a four foot drop, and had broken his neck when he hit the floor. The dad was arrested for burglary and homicide as well.The guy’s wife moved away even before he went to trial, I don’t have any idea what became of her. He got life in prison, no possibility of parole.


[[Scene: Madison, a woman in her early 30’s is having lunch in a restaurant with two of her closest friends. They’re in a booth, wine & salads, medium restaurant noises in the background.]]

Sarah: So I guess my mother heard the vibrator sounds and knocked on my bedroom door to tell me to get to sleep, it was a school night after all!


Sarah: Hey, at least she didn’t come in! I still don’t know if she knew exactly what I was up to, but I’m pretty sure she did.

Madison: Jesus, she was an adult Sarah, how could she not know?

Janice: Yeah, your mom didn’t strike me as an idiot Sarah, she knew. My mom sure knew.

Sarah: Did you get caught Janice?

Janice: Did I get caught?!? Oh, you could say that. My mom caught me on the night of my very first orgasm! I’m still surprised to this day that I ever masturbated again after that. She caught me riding my pillow like a mechanical bull. I guess I was in the zone and didn’t realize the noise my bed was making. She came right through my door like she was about to save a life!

Sarah: Oh. My. God. What did you do?

Janice: What could I do? My mom wasn’t an idiot either, she wouldn’t have believed some lame story about a bad dream, or a part in the school play as a cowgirl. I did what anyone my age would have done then, buried myself under the covers and screamed GET OUT!


Sarah: What about you, Madison? It was just you and your dad back then, wasn’t it? God I hope he didn’t catch you!

Madison: Oh no, never caught… But, still…

Both friends: What? What? Tell us!

Madison: My mom died when I was 12, so even at that age I was sure that I was up shit creek, being raised by just my father. Seriously, I remember thinking about how he was going to handle things in my life, like getting my period and having tampons on the grocery list. He was so funny too, he had one of his long-time friends, a woman he’d known for years, give me the ‘talk’ about menstruation. I about died of embarrassment.

Janice: Oh God, no! Really?

Madison: What I didn’t realize until so many years later, was that my dad was the coolest guy I’ve ever known. He raised me as his “kid”. Not as his fragile daughter, not as a pink-poofy girly-girl. Just as his “kid”, period.

Sarah: But, what about when you were getting into your sexuality? How does a single dad handle a daughter who’s starting to wake up sexually? Not that my having a mom helped out a lot in that area, but it had to be a degree worse with just a dad.

Madison: (Laughs) My dad, when I was about 15, brought home one of those jars of that coconut cooking oil, the kind that looks like shortening until it melts. He hands it to me and says ‘Hey, a friend of mine told me this stuff is really great to use on your skin. For dry places like your knees, or elbows.’ He had such a sincere look on his face too, completely parent-like. He totally sold me on it, and I was thinking, oh, okay, I guess I’ll try it. Well, of course it didn’t take me long to start rubbing that oil on many other places on my body, and the whole time I’m thinking how I am the smartest kid on the planet. I even asked him to get me more of it, about a month later, with a completely straight face!

(Laughter from all)

Janice: Oh God, do you think he knew?!?

Madison: Like I said, my dad was pretty cool. I’m convinced that he knew exactly what I’d end up doing with that oil, and yet he never flinched when I wanted more. We both played off the dry skin story for as long as I lived at home. That stuff was on the shopping list as often as tampons were, and he never reacted to either thing. I tried to ask him about it once, just to see if he really did know. He blushed! But, he wouldn’t say a thing, he just pointed to a bird, out the kitchen window and said something about how pretty it was. But, I knew it! And, I couldn’t have loved him more than I did right in that moment.

(Tears & laughter)