Monday, June 08, 2015

Into The Woods (Subtitle: What About Trish?)

You know what you don't want to hear at 3:30am while sleeping in a remote cabin in the woods? If you said, "a bear," or "dueling banjos," or even "someone blasting Nickelback" you get partial credit.

But I can state with absolute certainty that the scariest thing you can hear is a friend calling your name in a panicked whisper letting you know there's a guy in back of the house with his huge truck headlights shining into your living room. Especially when the back of the house is a heavily treed, sloping yard leading to a stream that should not be accessible by vehicles: 

Not something you ever want to see. 
And yet, that is exactly the situation in which I found myself early Saturday morning. 

You may recall that I'm not a big fan of the pastoral life. Where others see tranquility and relaxation, I see every horror movie ever released. And really, the only reason I even agreed to this setting was as part of a planned girls' weekend that included four women, two of whom I'm pretty sure I can outrun. But at the last minute, two of them had work emergencies and could not leave early Friday as planned. So I and the cabin owner headed there together, with plans for the other ladies to join us later in the weekend. 

When we arrived at the cabin and drove down the long, sloping driveway that led to her house, I realized how utterly peaceful it was. From her property, you cannot see a neighbor, access the Internet or use mobile phones (This is where I hit you over the head with foreshadowing. Thanks, high school English.) It is the perfect place to unwind. 

And unwind we did. We got settled into our rooms -- hers upstairs and mine on the main level. During the settling process, I saw Stephen King's book, "The Stand" on the nightstand (just realized how funny that is -- or would have been if there was a book titled, "The Bed" on the bed, and a book titled, "The Floor" on the floor -- but I digress...) and promptly flipped it over, because even thinking about Stephen King's tales would have guaranteed a sleepless night. I may have also taken my bear spray and placed it on the nightstand. You know, just in case:

This is my new favorite thing.
Then, we headed out and into town to pick up dinner and stop for a drink at a bar overlooking a lake. 

It's really a beautiful area.
When we got back home, we ate and chatted and turned in at about 10:00pm. And got in a solid four hours of sleep before the panicked whisper awakened me. And this is where the weekend truly began to resemble a horror movie.

We tried to assess what this person was doing in the backyard, while keeping all lights off so he would not know we were in the house and/or awake and fumbled for the landline, which exists for the express purpose of calling 911 in the event of an emergency. As my friend called the police, I stood guard with my bear spray, keeping an eye on the mysterious man who kept driving back and forth in the yard.

We knew it would take some time for the police to reach us, so while we waited, my friend suggested retrieving the .22 her family uses for target practice from a locked closet in the basement. I agreed we should get it, so we crept down the stairs into the pitch black basement when she realized she did not have the keys for the lock. We went back upstairs and found the keys, went back down, opened the closet and then she pulled on the light chain and ... nothing. The light was blown. So, using just my phone flashlight, we looked around the storage closet to where the gun was normally stored and again ... nothing. It was gone. She could not find it anywhere. We turned around to walk out of the closet, fully expecting to run into an ax-wielding murderer, seeing how all of this had followed the script to the letter. Fortunately, no one was there, so we slunk back upstairs, crouched in the corner where we could watch the trespasser, bear spray at the ready, and waited for the police.

Just as the police arrived, the guy hopped out of the truck, locked it, and then sat down at a picnic table in the yard. As the cops questioned him, he explained that he'd had "a few drinks" earlier in the evening and was "following "Trish" (no last name)" home from a bar when he took a wrong turn and ended up driving down a long driveway, between a parked car and shed, over a fire pit, between a bunch of trees, then got stuck in the mud behind the cabin. When the police clarified that he was following "Trish", he changed his story to "Trish was driving, then hopped out and walked home." The cop said, "I wouldn't walk alone in these woods in the middle of the night because of the bears and coyotes...I don't think "Trish" did that."
The perp. Getting cuffed.
We were worried there might have been other people with him who were still out in the woods, so while the police were questioning him, my friend and I walked out back with a flashlight to check things out and try to find his keys (which it became apparent he had tossed to avoid a DUI charge). As we opened the back door to walk outside, my friend turned around and screamed as though she had seen someone, because she thought it would be hi-larious to make my heart stop beating. Mission accomplished. Plus, it had the added benefit of causing the cops to leave the perp in the front yard and come running around the back of the house with their hands on their guns, thinking we were in grave danger.


After the perp was taken away and subsequently charged with a DUI and destruction of property, we waited for the tow truck to come and pull his vehicle out of the yard. The whole debacle took many hours and fortunately, the cops and tow truck were still there until the sun came up. We knew we could not go back to sleep, so we decided to spend the morning at a local farmers' market.

Calming our nerves with the Mennonites.
We headed back to the cabin after the farmer's market and started down the driveway when we noticed the truck that had been pulled from the muck just hours earlier was parked in her driveway and the perp and another person were walking around in the woods behind her house (looking for the car keys, we assumed). We pulled back up the driveway, drove a couple of miles until we could get cell reception and called the police again. The police got to the house, told the man he needed to leave the premises and then (kindly) waited while we set a world record for packing up a house and leaving.

The saga ends with tens of thousands of dollars in property damage, a court date, a huge nap Saturday afternoon and the discovery that my friend's husband had taken the .22 home so he could go beaver hunting (!?!)

Now if only we could find Trish...

AND AN IMPORTANT PSA: Don't drink and drive. Jesus Christ. This guy will probably lose his job and now has an arrest record. And I consider that lucky because he did not hurt or kill someone or himself. Just stop it, already. 

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