Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Alarming Response

Hello, WYMOP readers!

First, a little bit of shameless self-promotion. Hell, I have the blog, might as well use it, right?

Presenting the official Table of Contents for the upcoming (and soon to be named) Second Anthology from New England Horror Writers:

Introduction: Jeff Strand

Furious Demon by Addison Bowman
The Basement Legs by Robert DuPerre
Hungry For More by Michael Evans
The Secret Backs of Things by Christopher Golden
Blood Prophet by Scott Goudsward
Three Fat Guys Soap by Catherine Grant
Chuffers by Paul McMahon
Spirits by James A. Moore
Bleedthrough by Gregory Norris
Lycanthrobastards by Errick Nunnally
To Chance Tomorrow by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
A Night at the Show by Robert Smales
The Girl Who Wouldn't Break by Lucien Spelman
The Widow Mills by Trisha Wooldridge

Yup, that's me, third from the bottom. Yay me!

There. That's out of the way. So now...

...Here's the story:

It was a Friday, and I was in the mail truck working my way through my route. That’s important: It was Friday, not Saturday.

I pulled the truck into the small parking lot alongside the office of the Certified Public Accountant that I deliver to and gathered together the CPA’s mail as I hopped out of the truck. I was about an hour into my route, and I was moving along okay: I had hit my stride and had a certain amount of momentum going, both mental and physical. Besides all that I was in a terrific mood. I bounced my way up the three stairs to their front porch, laid a hand on the doorknob and, with a twist of the wrist and a little bit of flourish I stepped into the office—

—to the sound of the alarm going off, stridently woop-woop-wooping away. I stutter-stepped to a halt just inside the door and actually looked about the place for the first time that morning.

There was no one to be seen. There were no lights on. I turned to look through the big plate window fronting the establishment (through which I could have seen there were no lights on, had I but looked) and saw that I had booted my way through the parking lot without even noticing the complete lack of any vehicle in it but mine.

“Son of a bitch, I guess they’re closed,” I said. My only answer was the continued woop-woop-wooping of that siren coming from somewhere in the building.
I took two steps deeper into the apparently forbidden (and yet oh-so-inviting) business office and put the mail on the receptionist’s desk, the same place I put it every day during the week. I went back out onto the sunlit porch, closing the still unlocked door behind me. I looked at my truck, sitting lonely in the parking lot, then spun about and placed the top bar of the railing across my backside and leaned there, waiting for the police to come take me away. I was perched there, imagining two or even three police cruisers ripping around the bend and screeching to a halt in that nose-to-nose way they do in the movies, the doors flying open and then seeing nothing but gun barrels and mirrored shades pointing over those open doors while a bullhorn-enhanced voice ordered me to ‘Come out of the CPA with your hands up and lie face down on the ground, arms outstretched! Do it now, right now! Move!’

I was sure I’d wind up somewhere in the news, the local paper at least. I was just getting to the part of my daydream where, flashbulbs going off all around me as I left the local cop shop, I was quoted in the news as saying “I dunno what happened! I just turned the knob and walked right in!” when a sudden new sound jolted me from my smiling reverie. Somewhere inside, clearly audible through that big front window I mentioned, the telephone was ringing.

That’s probably the alarm company, calling to find out if the alarm was tripped in error, I thought. The door’s still unlocked — should I just go in there and answer it, tell them what happened?

Then I considered what might happen if the police really did see me come strolling out through the front door five minutes after the alarm was set off, and opted to stay right where I was, in plain sight. Besides, that railing was a lot more comfortable than it looked. I’d started looking at my watch by then, wondering what the police response time would look like. Granted, it’s a small town and I can’t imagine it seeing a lot of burglar alarm action, but its very size means they wouldn’t have to drive that far to respond…

The phone inside started ringing a second time. It had been about five minutes now, since I’d bee-bopped on into the closed office, so I figured maybe this time the alarm company was hoping the burglar might answer the phone himself so they could ask him to lock up when he left. I declined to answer, remaining where I was, perched on that railing like a 200 lb bird on a telephone wire. A very strong telephone wire. The phone stopped ringing, and I started looking at my watch with greater and greater frequency.

Eight minutes.

Nine minutes.

I heard a car engine, the slight squeal of tires coming around the corner, and looked up expectantly. A small sports car zoomed past, the reclining driver nothing more than mirrored shades and expensive hair. I waved, just to have something to do. He ignored me, far too busy working the gearshift like a conductor’s baton.

I sighed and remained on my perch.

Eleven minutes.


At fifteen minutes I figured I had had enough; I had done my duty. In fifteen minutes I could have walked to the police station from there. Backward. In my sleep. I got in my mail truck and slowly drove out of the parking lot and on to the rest of my route, on the lookout for any of the Boys in Blue who might suddenly spring into action and slap a ‘leaving the scene’ charge on me.


So, if there’s anyone out there who’s been just looking for somewhere the police have a terrible response time to start your out of control crime spree, drop me an email. I just might have a suggestion for you.

Talk to you later!


  1. Could have been worse:

  2. I saw that on FaceBook! Someone said it was for a car commercial. I thought it was for a movie. If it had been for real then it was TERRIBLE... and funny as hell!