when a stranger calls…

May 9, 12:24pm

It’s just about lunchtime & I’m about 88% of the way through 13 Reasons Why.  I’m at that point in the story where, if it were a book, it’d be so intensely gripping that I’d start skimming the pages, eyes glazing over anything even remotely resembling adjectives, thirsty for dialogue.  Unfortunately when you’re watching TV though, you can’t just skip through without running the risk of missing the very details you’re craving.  So I’m trapped, sitting through each episode waiting impatiently for one big reveal after the next.  Nothing tearing me away from this show (except the occasional reddit post).

And, oh yeah, this freaking car.


As previous posts may have alluded, “paranoid” is a fair word to describe me, (though I prefer to think of it as “always on the lookout,”) and as a result, my ears perk up at the slightest hint of anything sketchy.

So when a car rolled up in my peripheral vision, I was all eyes and ears.

Guys, we’re talking– I didn’t even pause the show.




A very 2018 version of Harry & Marv from Home Alone climb out of the car.  Except Harry seems to be the leader, and Marv appears to have gained about 250 lbs. following behind with a camera filming Harry.  They walk around the front of my next door neighbor’s house, and eventually go up to the door.

“Stop being nosy, go back to your show,” barked my inner monologue.

“Watch their every move and take pictures,” whispered my inner armchair detective.




Still sitting on my couch, I’m trying not to be too obviously eyeball-stalking the fake Wet Bandits as they roam around the front yard, all the while wondering if this is one of those moments where “if you see something, say something.”

I find myself wondering this a lot, and then I ultimately never decide to say anything, and assume someone else will.  I’m literally that person I judge on those shows where they set up fake scenarios to see how passersby react.  But, in my defense, the neighbors could know this person, so do I go make an ass of myself in the name of neighborhood watch when it could have a perfectly logical and rationa—- 

The internal smackdown of my conscience is interrupted by a loud “yoohoo!!” coming from down the street. 👵🏻👀

Oh!  Oh!  Okay, the neighbor on the other side saw something, and is saying something.  Yay!  Yes!  Yay!  I am free of responsibility and I can go forth being nosy without my pesky moral compass kicking my ass all the way to “f***ing say something!” and back.




So they’re back in front of my neighbor’s house.  Clearly if they were doing something sketchy, being called out by an elderly lady yelling “yoohoo!” would have surely scared them off, right?

I look away for 15 seconds and by the time I look back, they’re gone.  But the car is still there.  Did they go up the street?  Are they near my house now?  Ughhh what are they doing?? 😫

I needed to know.

At this point, I’m running up and down my stairs between my bedroom and living room, chasing different vantage points, wishing I hadn’t lost my Fitbit charger in the move.




I have almost given up at this point, resigning myself to just waiting to see what direction they came from whenever they decided to return to their car.   Then I hear voices coming from the backyard of my neighbor’s house.  I see these two chumps climbing along a retaining wall that lines the backyard (we are on a pretty steep hill), and soon they are in my yard pointing up at the neighbor’s house, and then making some hand gesture that, to me, looked like it was referring to the obnoxious hill our properties sit on.

I go over to our back porch (I had the doors open since it was one of two and a half warm days this month) and try to listen yet hear nothing but distorted chatter.  Followed by them and their apparently brass balls waltzing up my side yard and back to the road.  Seriously, these guys are lucky I don’t have brass balls of my own to deliver a not so friendly request to GTF off my lawn.

They point up at the house a couple more times, and I get one shitty photo through our strangely shitty window.  Naturally, the window they were in front of was the one window I hadn’t been able to pull the screen down into, so it was the only one not open that afternoon.


exhibit a. Harry’s arm pointing at the house and yammering on about one of the “gables” — literally the one word I heard clearly.

exhibit b. Harry skulking off toward the car followed by Marv’s camera and Marv whom I didn’t get a shot of.

exhibit c. my nail polish



My neighbor arrives home as I’m doing dishes & weighing the pros and cons of going over there and letting her know of the abnormal activity I witnessed.



I hear more chatter, this time female, and go to the window to see my neighbor and her daughter walking down around behind their yard and climbing up the exact same route Harry & Marv had taken earlier, including going through our yard.

Okay, this is starting to make more sense.  Clearly they hired someone to do some kind of work, and they are just following up and looking at it for themselves.  Okay.  Crisis averted.  Just call me Detective Olivia Benson. 😎




F*** it.  I’m going over there.  Maybe they knew the guys.  Maybe they didn’t.  My Snapchat maydays weren’t sending as fast as I needed them to, and so I put on my big girl pants and resolved to go over there and just let them know instead of being a socially paralyzed millennial.  Anthony swooped in with a text of reassurance reminding me that it would come off as neighborly even if they did know the guys, so it wouldn’t be a weird thing to do.  I gathered up my balls, reminded myself not to be weird, and headed next door.

Lol, JK, I put on makeup first.  But in my defense, I looked like the Hot Mess Express.  I was going there to inform her of sketchy characters at her house, not be one of them by looking like a sick, drug addict street urchin going door to door.




Turns out, my neighbor did not order a pair of thuggish men to wander around her property this early afternoon.  After I mentioned that the lady on the other side had spoken to them, she told me she would go talk to her and get the scoop.  I headed home, but not before giving her a piece of paper with the license plate of the car scribbled on it.



Later that evening the doorbell rang.  Our neighbor had come over to update us on the situation.  According to Cookie* (the neighbor) this guy had claimed to be a “Travis Smith,” the son of the previous owner, who was “filming a documentary of his life” and this included the house he grew up in.

* I typically don't use real names in stories, but since this one sounded fake anyway and had a particular storytelling feel to it, I opted to leave it as is.  Don't tell 🍪.

Erm… Eeeuuukay?  I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled for when this baby pops up on YouTube.  But seriously..  Even if you were someone whose life story was worth recording, wouldn’t you get permission before bumbling around someone else’s yard??  This sounded to me like prime alibi for someone looking to rob a house, and this was later confirmed by a friend of mine after my f***ing Snapchats had finally gone through.

🍪 had also revealed to “Travis Smith” the work schedule of my neighbors.

Why?  Honestly you’d have to ask 🍪 that..



Ding dong.

Neighbor comes back over and tells us she had called the previous owner and asked about Travis Smith coming over to film some docudrama about his life in the hills of Massachusetts, and was told a rather alarming detail:

Travis Smith is her brother who lives with her and happens to be disabled, so there’s no way he was poking around her house that day.


Needless to say, my neighbor called the police, and had come over to let me know that they may come over to ask me what I saw.

Fun Fact:  A life goal of mine is to be on Dateline.  Like, a person getting interviewed.  Not the one who is a psycho killer.  Honestly this is the closest I’ll probably ever get. 💃🏻



Ok when I say “life goal” I mean as long as it fits within my schedule. It was finally warm out and Anthony and I wanted to go for a walk while it was still light out and this Defender of the Neighborhood gig was starting to feel wicked inconvenient as I sat at waited for the po-po to arrive.

literally me.


Ding dong.

Officer Something conducts the most boring interview ever.  Like I almost nodded off.  I was so ready to reenact the entire event.  He asked for a description of the guys and what kind of car they drove.  What?  That’s it?  This is what I put off a walk for?  You have their license plate, this visit to my house was actually pointless. 😂

Just kidding. But is this not the best moment in SVU history? 😂



Officer Something leaves…  Leaves me feeling like my criminal justice balloon just had all the air sucked out of it! 😆

So we went for our walk, wondering if there would ever be a conclusion to this whole saga next door.

I’ll keep you posted.


your local neighborhood watch.

aka the nosy girl door neighbor.



8 thoughts on “when a stranger calls…

  1. That was fun to read. Also, here are a couple of links that help me feed my inner Gladys Kravitz.

    https://www.crimereports.com/ <- Handy crime map.

    http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/5163/web <- WPD dispatch.

    I work at home alone and the radio chatter is an okay way to simulate office banter. Plus, I usually get one good laugh out loud moment each day. The withering disdain which either an officer or a dispatcher can utter one simple word, "Okay," is priceless.

    Welcome to the hood.

    Liked by 2 people

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