Little urban story, concurrent with the bogus study released last week about St. Louis being the most dangerous city in the U.S. 'Cause we're not... these guys didn't even get the current population numbers right. And they skewed statistics in a really irresponsible way having to do with city boundaries and whatever else... But I digress.
So, as I've said before, we live in what you might call the urban core of St. Louis. If we had to, we could easily walk downtown. We've lived in this house for 6 years and we lived about 2 blocks south of here for 10 years before that. The first house was on a busy corner and across the street from crack heads. After we'd had kids for awhile, we decided we'd have to give up that beautiful old house for a less active neighborhood and we moved onto the quiet, tree-lined street where we live now. And even though our house is just a hundred yards or so from a main thoroughfare, two blocks made all the difference. No more convenience store on the corner, in fact only homes on the whole street, so if someone doesn't belong, it's quickly evident.
Anyway, let's just say it's been awhile since I've been awakened in the middle of the night by rowdy behavior or the noisy commission of a felony.
Last night though, at about 3:20 a.m., our dog Sophie gave a low, warning growl. I heard her through the fog of sleep and rolled over... probably a possum or a raccoon or a cat crossing the yard -- I don't know how those things wake her up, but they do. Then, however, she gave one low, loud, warning bark. I still didn't rouse myself... we live on a quiet street, you know. Then all H - E - double hockey sticks broke loose - Rowfrowrowrowrowrowf! Rowf! Rowfrowrowrworowf! Scrabbling toenails on the kitchen floor, more barking, and the noise that made me get out of bed: the wind chimes I hang off of my mailbox all jangled together like they'd been hit. I sneaked through the house (hubby was still asleep) and as I got toward the back, between the dog's barks, I could hear someone bellowing. I looked through the chest-high window toward my back door and couldn't see anything, but the dog sure could. And I could make out the bellowing now: "Is anybody in there?! Is anybody home?!"
What? I peeked out the door and there was a woman (or maybe a womanish man, I don't know) in a wheelchair. She saw me and hoisted herself high in the chair for me to see that she obviously had no legs. Then she called out something about all the houses around here having too many steps and this was the only door she could get to and did I have a dollar and ten cents so she could catch the bus.
"You have got to be kidding me," I called back, through the door. "It is 3:30 in the morning!"
"Listen," she tells me, rolling into the flood light's circle at the door so I can see that she does indeed have a kind of wound across the bridge of her nose. "They jumped me and I need a dollar ten to get on the bus. Just open the door."
Wow. Wrong on so many levels. And now I was awake. "I'll call the police and they can help you," I offered.
Off she wheeled, down the driveway and, before I could get to the front window to see which direction she turned, out of sight. No kidding, just evaporated.
So, I did indeed call the police. They thought she must have been trying to scam me... Um, gee Officer, ya think?! No, the two young guys were lovely and walked around the entire house looking for the accomplice we were all sure was there with her at some point. To no avail. "You sure she didn't get up and run off or get into a car," one policeman asked. I really am positive that this person had no legs, scam or no scam. There was only vertical to her, no horizontal.
And, of course, it took me until 15 minutes before I had to be up this morning to get back to sleep. I'm really out of practice with this urban nuisance stuff.
The title of this piece should be "Why I love my dog", shouldn't it? 'Cause I'm pretty sure that all that gave this woman pause was my hundred pounds of black and white crazy-barking mutt. Who, by the way, has had 7 treats today and eggs and cheese for dinner. Good doggy.