I live on a corner lot and my house is fenced in on all four sides. I didn't plan it like this, the house had the fence when I moved in, but I like it. It's great for the dogs, and normally enough to keep unwanted solicitors and religious people wanting to spread the good word away from the front door.
Across the road from me lives a group of unsupervised teenagers. I think they might have an adult living there right now, but they've been alone a large part of the spring. They're sweet kids, but they're also teenagers, and from time to time strange things happen.
Like, one day when I came home to a yard filled with softballs.
For the longest time they didn't have anyone driving, so they would walk to the store, take a cart back, and leave it at my house. Annoying, and if someone dumps a cart a day outside your gate, you get a lot of them quickly.
I went to talk to the kids about it, and they were understanding.
A couple of days later, there was a stack of baskets instead.
Annoying, but also really, seriously funny!
Not so funny was the day when they played football on the road and ruined one of the rear lights on my car along with my mailbox, but that's another story.
This fine evening something else strange happened. I visited Mike in the hospital, went to the store, and came home right after eight. Here in Florida, that's late enough to be getting dark. I was preoccupied by a discussion at the hospital - they want to set up a hospice thing for him in my house and I really don't want that - so I didn't pay attention at first. I let the dogs out and put the groceries away.
When I went back outside to call the dogs, I decided to walk around the house. On a tree in the middle of the yard hung a long, white shoelace. In order to get there, someone must have jumped the fence.
Admittedly, it could have been dropped by a bird, but it was so neat.
Back home I wouldn't have paid much attention to it. I would have assumed the bird-theory was correct. After eight years in the USA, surrounded by gangs and dog fighting rings, and being fed conspiracy theories through the Internet, I'm significantly more paranoid.
And, in my defense, I'm a bit rattled after losing my Bonnie just days ago and Mike ending up in the hospital. The doctors say he's on the last stretch.
I called the dogs inside, muttering, "If you want to steal my dogs you'll have to deal with one armed and bad-ass momma," locked the door, went to get my gun, and called the Sheriff's office.
I said, "I feel like an idiot even saying this, but I have to ask... Is this a sign or something? You know, all the crap one reads on the Internet about dog thieves and such has made me paranoid."
We have the best deputies you can imagine, and none of the people I talked to laughed, even though I really felt like an idiot voicing my concern. They also knew nothing about a shoe-lace gang. We have many, many, many gangs in this city, but none is known for using shoe-laces. Haha.
I'm thinking, either it really was a bird, or the kids dared each other to enter the yard. I'll still keep an extra eye on things for a while. Just in case there are puppy-stealing, shoe-lace-wielding maniacs out there.