I heard them.
Outside my house.
Preparing to come up my walk.
Six women, different shapes and sizes, all dressed in thin polyester pastel summer blouses and floral calf length skirts.
Much like the Mormons that had been stalking our house for several years obviously, there was news that the devil was rumored to be living somewhere in our home. There must have been an all points religious bulletin sent out that said we would need several different brands of religious zealots to eradicate him from the house.
I was in the back writing when I heard Lola begin to bark, annoyed, I went to the bedroom and told her to be quiet and then I saw them out the window. I ducked, hoping that the thin bamboo blinds camouflaged my Spongebob pajama bottoms and my braless breasts bouncing past the screen.
They had heard me scold Lola and now they were wondering why I had never answered the door. My mom still answers. She shuffles over, listens to them quietly with the door pressed tightly across her chest. Head nodding gently as she waits to pass them her $1.50 in change so that she can buy their newest edition of ‘The Watchtower’ before she can return to Regis and Kelly and highlights from Dancing with the Stars and American Idol.
I do not open the door. Today, I didn’t even hear them until Lola barked. Caught up in a new story idea related to Harvey Keitel’s penis, I was enthralled with pictures of H.K. in ‘The Piano’ and the ‘Bad Leuitant’, really, enough to make anyone deaf for a matter of minutes, not even realizing they had been at the front door.
Then, the herd of women moved away and all was quiet again. Lola stopped barking, mom went back to the blue chair, and I went back to Harvey’s penis.
5 minutes passed when Lola was at it again, this time, her bark was different, immediate, vicious, she was off the bed, out the dog door and tearing at the fence before I could even get to the window to see what was wrong.
Outside, I saw a police officer creeping passed my fence, tip toeing up to my neighbor’s back gate. Three cop cars were parked in strategic locations about the corner of my house. What the fuck had the Jehovah’s done now?
I snapped at Lola to come back in the house, she popped through the dog door, eyes up, ears back, as if protecting our house was a bad thing. I grabbed her collar and closed her in the bathroom.
I crept outside and now saw four different police officers tip toeing up to my neighbor Linda’s house. I ran back in the house, grabbed my cell phone and called her.
“Hello?” she said.
“Linda,” I said, “Are you in your house right now?”
“Why?” she asked, “What has Sophie done now?”
Linda is a big dog lover and I mean big as in BIG dogs. She has two Irish wolfhounds, Maggie and Sophie, and a greyhound named Joe, who are all taller than me when they stand with their paws on my shoulders. So I tell her what is going on.
“Can I talk with them?” she sounds concerned.
I run outside, “No, their guns are drawn.”
“I’ll call you back.” I say as I snap the phone shut and run outside to check on the police.
The cops are ready to make their raid to the backyard. They are signaling me to be quiet but I ignore the signal.
“She has big dogs,” I shout, “Really big dogs. Don’t go in there!”
I can see them peek through the front window to the backyard before they call off the raid and back up and over to my fence.
“Sorry,” I said, “but I knew it was just the dogs.”
Now there were four cop cars and I wondered how these cops ended up at Linda’s house. Did she have an alarm? I don’t remember one. I had been taking care of her house for the last few years while she was away on trips and she had never said anything about the alarm. So I asked.
“What made you guys come here? Did an alarm go off?”
The oldest cop said, “No the Jehovahs called us.”
Fucking Jehovahs. I should have known it had something to do with them.
I looked down the street and I could see them three houses away. Huddled up in a tight knit little group, hands securely tightened around their leather purses, ‘Watchtowers’ held tightly under each arm. They were looking at the commotion they had caused and I swear I wanted to step past the cops flip them the fucking bird and yell “I’m the DEVIL and I LIKE IT!”
The oldest cop continued, “They told us that they knocked on the door but no one answered. Then they heard a disturbance and knocked again but no one came to the door. So they called us.”
He ended this informative narrative with his hands on his leather gun belt, adjusting it in a manly manner and then shifting his weight from one hip to the other to add emphasis.
I thanked them for their time and then returned to the house. By this time the two younger cops were already ogling Lex. It isn’t often that you end up at a crime scene and find a six foot blonde with a body that can be seen in Playboy, wearing a t-shirt that reads “I’m six feet of heat”. I felt bad for them. I wished I could think of a reason for them to come in and search our house, get a closer look at Lex. Maybe they could look for the devil and report back to the Jehovah’s that all is well in the Grisham-Wood household.
By this time, Linda had called back on my cell and asked me to stop the cops and have them go into her house with me and just do a double check that there really isn’t anyone inside.
I pause for a moment, wondering if I should just have Lex take the two younger cops on an inside search of Linda’s home but then a bad porn movie comes to mind and I tell my daughter to go back inside as I approach the older officer in my Sponge bob’s and my braless t-shirted chest, with my arms crossed firmly over my cleavage and ask him if he will please come back with me and just do a quick check of the residence.
I can see after looking at me, no make-up, short boyish chopped black hair, chubby lump in my k-mart pajama combo that he is thinking of a bad porn movie as well but something more along the lines of “Big dykes bang cops” and is weighing the odds about going with me back into Linda’s home in case I have any ideas of taking him. I raise my eyebrow and cock my head and he sees that I am all business and not of the sexual kind.
We walk up the front steps and he gives me a demonstration of how an intruder could easily slit the screen and climb in the open front window. I nod slowly and seriously, trying to give off the effect that I understand the seriousness of this matter.
I open the door and step to the side. The two younger cops have followed behind us and when they see that Maggie, Sophie and Joe, look more like a herd of camels than a pack of dogs, the younger cop says, “Holy cow! Those are dogs?”
The dogs, wag lovingly hoping that the new group of people will stay and play until “mom” gets home but the cops start their search and I must leave the dogs to answer the cops questions.
“Has this window sill always been chipped up like this?
“No,” I reply, “Maggie ate that sill during the Winter of 07”
Maggie seems to smile from the back porch window.
“Has this mirror been broken like this?”
“No,” I reply again, “Maggie broke that when she rolled off the bed in Spring of 08.”
Sophie and Joe both seem to be looking at Maggie now, as if to say, “We would never do anything as bad as you do Maggie.”
I am not fooled.
The cops finish the search, I lock Linda’s house, and thank the officers once again for their time.
“Tell the Jehovah’s thanks for calling,” I say as I walk back to my gate.
In my mind I really want to tell the Jehovah’s that when they hear rustling going on inside of a house but no one comes to the door, to mind their own fucking business. It’s probably just people trying to hide from them and their stupid fucked up religion.
I mean, who would want to be a Jehovah? The chosen ones have already been giving a spot in heaven, the rest of the followers are fucked, and you can’t celebrate Christmas or your birthday any more.
If they think the draw of poorly made floral clothing, and copies of the ‘Watchtower’ are going to pull us in they are sadly mistaken.
I will write. I will live with the Devil. I will wear my Sponge bob pajamas and I will celebrate whatever heathen holiday comes to mind.
I will not however, ever stop Lola from barking at the Jehovah’s again. I will open the front door, let her run wildly to the fence, fierce pitbull teeth bared and blasting, and watch them all run, run down the street and off to a new location far from my world where Linda and my “hell hounds” are on their trail.
I heard them.