“If the plan works, I won’t even know if she comes back,” I said out loud to myself.
It had started raining outside. Odds are she wouldn’t revisit my house in the rain, despite her promise, but one never knows.
“Those people are crazy. They’ll come after you in any weather.”
After putting the kids to bed, I quickly let the dogs out to empty their bladders. I pinned them in my office so they’d stay quiet. The office is in the back of the house, away from views of the street and driveway. A place where they wouldn’t get excited about anyone approaching.
I removed one of the batteries from the doorbell and put it on the counter. I can’t do anything about dog barking if she pounds on the door, but at least she can’t ring the bell. That’s one less thing.
I turned off all the lights in the house – every lamp, the television, the porch light. Anything that emits a glow save for my office computer monitor. Near-pitch black was reached inside as I cracked open a beer and retreated in the office with the dogs.
“Now we wait,” I said to them, booting up the year-2000 PC game Deus Ex. I’d play it while waiting because it’s a classic, and also because it’s a dark game that would minimize monitor glow if she returned.
A few hours earlier, there was a knock at my front door. Luna barked insanely – her response to 100% of life’s experiences. I ignored it, but one minute later the doorbell rang on the side door. This time Betsy spotted someone, joining the barking chorus and moving the curtains out of the way with her face to be as threatening as possible. This curtain movement also revealed me standing in the family room, making accidental eye contact with someone outside, as they rang the bell again.
“Dammit, Betsy,” I scoffed. “Now I have to answer or I’ll look like a douche.”
I opened the door. It might as well have been evil incarnate.
“Hello. Are you the owner of this home?”
Before me stood a woman, small of stature, soft-spoken and sweet sounding, somewhat looking like Sally Field in the Mrs. Doubtfire years. Behind her stood a man, silent, not saying a word, looking bored and irritated, somwehat looking like Danny DeVito in any years.
I experienced a Six Feet Under-esque moment where my mouth opened to emit an outrageous scream that sent the people running in terror as I chased them with a machete, only to realize I was standing among barking dogs, noisy babies and the words “Yes, I am” were coming out of my mouth in a cheerful and welcoming manner. Damn damn damn my respectful upbringing!
She proceeded to tell me that my electric company had recently upped their rates, and were planning to do so again in 2015.
“You don’t want to pay that increase, do you?” she asked.
“I don’t suppose I do,” I said politely, despite my brain’s Jimminy Cricket shouting “TELL HER TO GO TO HELL!” at the top of its lungs.
“Well, I can show you how to not pay it,” she replied. “If you’ve got a copy of your electric statement I can show you what they’ve done and how to avoid paying it.”
Now, it was somewhere around this time that I realized this darling, sweet little lady never actually told me who she was working for or why she was trying to save me money on my electric bill. It also didn’t make sense to me that she’d need to see my bill in order to tell me how to save money, since all electric bills pretty much look the same. If she had information to present, she wouldn’t need to see my bill to tell me. Fishy. More importantly, I don’t really give a crap.
“I get it electronically, so I don’t have one to show you,” I said. This was the first good thing my brain had come up with since opening the door.
“Oh, well if you could pull it up on your phone or computer, I can show you. Take your time.” Danny DeVito still hadn’t said a word.
“I’m sort of busy with the kids and will be putting them down for bed in a bit. I don’t really want to get into that right now,” I said, politely trying to tell her to go suck a sawblade.
She thought about that for less than a second and, not surprisingly, came up with a solution.
“How about I come back in an hour after they are asleep? We can talk about it then.”
“Yeah… ok.” I said. Good one. Caught me off guard. I guess my brain was only good for one statement spoken from sincerity.
She scampered off with DeVito, who still had not uttered a sound, and made her way down the road. Darkness followed soon after, the babies were put to bed, and I enacted the plan above.
The idea is that if she comes back, the house will be so black and dark, she’ll just assume nobody is here. She won’t attempt to ring the bell, won’t knock, won’t bother. The place is dark. If she knocks, the dogs will still flip out, so I have to bank on the fact she’s going to walk back up to the door and say screw it.
That’s my hope. That would absolutely make my day.
Is this excessive? Is this crazy? No crazier than diving behind a couch when the FedEx man comes because I don’t want to open the door. Or peering out the corner of the bathroom window behind closed blinds at the trash collectors to see how they manhandle the garbage cans. I do both of those things. No, this is perfectly fine.
Nobody wants to talk to people like this, right? Nobody wants to stand in their home, their sanctuary, their private quarters, and succumb to some random jerk’s attempt at getting money or information or influence during what should be restful, family-oriented evening hours. This lady is Satan in a Sally Field skin, pretending to be sweet and caring so she can twist her swift knife of subterfuge into my ever-cordial spine and suck the marrow from my generous, quivering corpse.
I’ll teach her to come to my house and talk about electric rates.
And so I wait. In the dark. Like no-one is home.