Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Galloping Zebras

My imagination is so wild that it doesn't just gallop like a runaway horse. It gallops like a zebra across a savanna. I guess that's a main ingredient of a writer's personality, but honestly, sometimes I wish I could find the off-switch.

For instance, about a month ago, a young man with a foreign accent showed up at my front door with some lame tale about wanting to talk about cultural exchange. I'd opened the front door after a hasty glance had me thinking that his vehicle was my dad's.

I stood there, listening to him trying to inveigle his way into my living room, and all I could think was: strange man with a weird story, no local connections, no contact information and a knapsack. Presto-change-o, I had the guy transformed into a serial killer with a murder kit in hand on my doorstep.

It turned out that he was just a guy after a quick buck (that I found out after I'd reported the strange incident to my local sheriff), but still. I was on full-alert for weeks, and whenever I'm by myself at home, I make sure that all the doors and windows are locked. This in a town where nothing of any great import has happened for the 20 years I've been here.

It's not just on my front porch. I can find sinister danger anywhere. This past weekend, I took a family friend to the ER. Imagine the prickles up and down my spine when a pair of corrections officers escorted an orange-suited jailbird in shackles (handcuffs and leg irons) into the neighboring treatment bay. With only a polyester curtain -- and one that didn't even stretch to the floor -- between me and Mr. Jailbird, I was most interested in the outcome of the guards' debate over whether they should double-shackle him to the bed. (Eventually they did.)

In my poor beleaguered brain, I already had the guy picking the locks, waiting for the opportune moment and then grabbing the handiest hostage (that would be yours truly) by an ankle and charging out the double doors to freedom.

I'm sure the poor inmate was sick with the stomach flu or just needed a break from the ennui of confinement. Probably the last thing on his mind was playing the villain in the drama unfolding between my ears.

At least it's all grist for the mill. I've filed these scares away in my brain along with dozens of others (who else can see a Wells Fargo truck in front of Wal-Mart and worry about being caught in the crossfire of an imaginary gun battle?). Who knows? One day maybe one of them will wind up being the seed for a best-seller. Now that's a zebra I'd LOVE to imagine.


Matthew Rush said...

Well first of all your imagination is awesome, scary at times, sure, but still fun. Now. About this "cultural exchange" guy.

I'm pretty sure your were actually quite wise to be afraid of him. Have you not seen Hostel (don't see it, it's terrible, but Europeans are dangerous)?

Jessica Lemmon said...

yes, yes and YES!!! While sitting in a gas station parking lot waiting for the husband to pay or pick out a pack of gum, I always envision a robbery unfolding.

And, a recent bizarre follower creeped me out to no end so I blocked him... and then was afraid he'd track me down b/c I blocked him...

I blame the movies.

Patty Blount said...

Just last night, my youngest was removing the crumpled paper stuffing from his new backpack and discovered a slip of paper on which six numbers were written.

What is it? Who left it here? Why? It was too short to be a phone number.

We had such a fun time imagining different scenarios, trying to one - up each other.

I think we left off with the slip being the GPS coordinates to the money hidden by the accountant who double-crossed his client.

Lickety Splitter said...

About the only time my scary imagination gets the better of me is when I have been watching a marathon of "Criminal Minds," or when I'm watching those "real life" haunting shows. If I get spooked after watching those Criminal Minds, I think that I should dig up all those new shrubs the landscaper planted in the front yard, and if I am spooked by the haunting shows, I hear noises in the house I never heard before.

Kelly Breakey said...

I love learning these things about you. It is refreshing to know you are really as crazy as the rest of us.