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February 18, 2008

Backyard Vigilante Justice (Literally)

The other day I wrote about a neighbor climbing the fence into our backyard without an invite, which could have turned very ugly had the wrong dog been unleashed. But it isn't the first time a gentleman caller has decided to enter my backyard unannounced.

After living in Tacoma a few months, Bob's Hogs and Weiner Pigs offered me a Pilot Position that included working from home. This was perfect for me, as I was tired of working in a store and ready to take on some new responsibilities. I happily packed up my digs and moved all my stuff into the home office, effectively rendering it useless to Frinklin and requiring him to purchase a laptop (but that's another story).

My office has a large window that looks out to the side of our house. I haven't bothered to put up any blinds or curtains up in this window as it's largely blocked by a huge butterfly bush. The butterfly bush allows enough sun to filter in to keep me warm in the winter, and shades the same hot sun in the summer. Since the bush keeps its leaves year-round, it provides a lot of privacy as well. Which is how I got to observe something completely unexpected one afternoon.

Sitting at my desk working diligently away on a price quote for a customer, I noticed movement outside the window from the corner of my eye. Looking up, I found myself a few feet away from a strange man who was slipping onto my property, working his way behind my house. Thinking he had seen me and would stop any moment, my heart began pounding, but the butterfly bush had kept me completely hidden, working like a one-way-mirror, although it appeared we were eye to eye.

As he passed out of sight behind the house, I leaped into action, calling The Jeffrey and running toward the back door. As I passed the hallway to the master bedroom with it's window facing the rear of the house I saw the man passing by and my heart sped even faster. With The Jeffrey's collar firmly in my grasp I unlocked the back door and stepped onto the rear deck, confident that the tall back fence would keep the intruder out. As an arm crept over the top of the barrier and began feeling around for the latch I spoke.

"What the HELL do you think you're DOING?!" I yelled, hoping I sounded much more authoritarian than I felt, and praying he didn't have a firearm of some sort. The arm whipped back over the fence. Footsteps began retreating. I slammed the back door and ran to the front where I threw open that door, still holding The Jeffrey's collar, him standing beside me, barking like mad. Two men stood in the alley beside my house, one brandishing a large 2x4, both looking pissed off. A glance to my left revealed the now-terrified-would-be prowler.

"Dude," I said to the man, "I don't know what you're thinking, "But I gotta whole lotta German Shepherd Pit Bull just waiting to eat your ass you if you got over that fence, so you're fucking lucky you DIDN'T get in MY BACKYARD!"

"That guy tried to get into my backyard too!" Yelled the man with the 2x4.

At this point, the prowler had turned quite pale and was just wanting to get the hell out of dodge. He had clearly underestimated the power of the Tacoma North Slope Historic District Neighborhood Watch Program. He chose the best course of action available to him when a woman with a raging 75 lb. dog and an angry man with a 2x4 are yelling at you - run like crazy. He took off down the alley with the 2x4 man hot on his heels screaming, "You think it's OK to walk into people's backyards? Huh? I'll show you!" The other neighbor began picking up rocks from the alley and throwing them at the prowler as he ran.

At this point I realized I had my phone in my hand. I must have picked it up automatically. I called 911 to report that a man was in danger of being beaten to death by two others with rocks and a board. I also mentioned the potential break-in. The operator informed me that an officer would come by my house to speak with me. I waited outside for a half hour, but no one came by. I also waited for the men to come back, but they never returned. Eventually a police car drove by, didn't stop, and turned the opposite way that they men had gone. Well done, Tacoma Police, well done.

I felt rattled by the experience for a couple of weeks. But we put locks on the gates to the backyard and make sure we keep the doors locked. And we still have the man-eating dog. And although I've never met those particular neighbors again, I assume they're still out there, keeping our North End backyards safe.

Posted by Ensie at February 18, 2008 12:26 PM

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