INCIDENT AT FIVE AM

Posted: December 12, 2007 in The Roper Files

1998…Don’t remember the month but it was late in the year, just a little chilly outside as I step outside the door of the duplex I was living in at the time. It’s early; four-thirty or so in the morning. I’m lugging a heavy plastic recycling bin full of newspapers to the curb when I first saw the guy. With his car leaning over at a funny angle, I could tell he was attempting to fix a flat. I look at him; he looks at me. We don’t say anything to each other. I put the bin down on the curb and walk back to my door. 

Now nothing was said, but something told me to lock the door behind myself as I entered. Had to be at work at six; had to get ready to go.Thats when I heard the knocking on the front door next door. Loud, demanding. Open the door motherfucker. Hmmm.The cute redhead next door had a boyfriend but I didn’t see his car out front so I knew Janet was over there by herself. I could hear her dog barking. It wasn’t that someones-at-the-door bark either. It was a somethings-really-wrong-here bark. Grabbed the two-foot miniature baseball bat with the wrist-strap I keep handy for these kind of special occasions and opened the door to the front porch.

When I opened the door he quit hammering on hers. Little scrawny guy, not much taller than me. Black hair, little scraggly beard. Meth eyes and alcohol wobbly.

I could tell this guy had been up for a few days; I know the look all too well.

“It’s five o’clock in the morning asshole! What the fuck do you want?”

He gives me the Larry David eye: “Gimme my wallet”

“Ain’t got your fuckin’ wallet…get the fuck outta here!”

“I know you got my wallet!”

That’s about the point he tried to get in. I don’t won’t to use the word lunge, it would be too complimentary. Lunge would be describing more of a graceful move than the one he made.

But I could see it coming; he was just too wasted to force his way in. Don’t remember how I got the door closed, but I did. He starts pounding on my door.

“I’m calling the police!”

“Call ’em!”

Good idea. Walk across the room, pick up the reciever. Dial 911.

“911.”

“Uh…yeah…uh…could you like send a patrol car over here? There’s some drunk asshole on my porch and…”

That’s when he started trying to kick in the door.

“Uh, operator…” I spit out my address.

“A patrol car is on the way. Be calm.”

He kicks the door again.

“Uh…operator, I’ll be right back.”

Put down the phone and grab my hog-leg 357.  Hollow-points every other round and “snake-loads” in between. Think this is close enough to an emergency? Close enough for my book.

Walk back over and pick up the phone just as drunk-boy kicks the door again.

“Hello, I’m back.”

“Please stay calm; a patrol car is on the way”.

BAM! He kicks the door again. I point the barrel at the door and cock the hammer. Point it about upper-torso level.

“Oh yeah…no problem.”

It was about here when I start thinking about actual implications of shooting this bozo. I picture myself attempting to explain the hole in the door to the landlord.

What if he was the District Attorneys three-time loser black-sheep-of-the-family nephew?

“Jim Bob may have had his problems, but he was a good boy and I’m gonna see you pay for this!”  I could hear it now. You may laugh, but far, far stranger things than that have happened in my town. What if he was some rich guys fucked-up stepson? Funny the things you think about in a situation like this; but hey, YOU try make this kind of a call at five in the morning sometime.

Fortunately Drunkie McFuck is too wasted to get the door open. Don’t really remember how many times he kicked the door, but eventually he stops and goes back out to his car. Looking through the blinds I could see him fumbling around in his trunk. Oh shit; what was he looking for in there? A crowbar? A gun of his own?

About then I could hear the sirens. Here comes the calvary. Four or five police cars all screech to a stop in front of my place. They grab this loser and fling him in the back of the patrol car like a bag of fertilizer. Good; I didn’t really want to have to shoot this jerk and spend all day downtown at the police station answering stupid questions.

Afterwards the cops are all shaking their heads at me and wanting to know why I didn’t just shoot the guy. Told ’em I wasn’t going to shoot him unless he got the door open. Evidence to back my side of the story up, you know? They seemed to find this very puzzling.

Consulted with an attorney friend of mine later who told me I did the right thing. Seems there actually is a law that forbids you from shooting through a door blindly.

You have to know they’re armed, as if you can see through the door or something. He tells me juries in Texas are slow to convict people for it, but did I really want to see it go as far as a trial?

Well, I’m still relieved I didn’t have to shoot that guy. Glad it turned out the way it did.

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