We’re gonna share a story this morning that’ll make your toes curl.
This is the kind of situation no one ever wants to face.
When it happens, you might read a headline, but never a first-hand report – like this one.
Here’s what happened:
“Sunday night we went to bed at 10PM. At 1:30AM, the wife woke me saying she heard something in the house. I sleep with CPAP, so I sleep hard and deep.
I listened, and heard something. I got the gun, thumbed the safety off, and left the bedroom. I saw a man in my kitchen. He was just standing there, sort of staring. He had switched on the lights, and when I saw his face, he was someone I had met. I aimed the gun.
“Hey!” I said. He spun slowly, almost stumbling. He sort of looked through me.
“Where’s the dog food?” he asked calmly.
Then I noticed the leash on the floor, and a huge Rottweiler walked into view.
“What the f*ck are you doing in my house?” I asked firmly.
“What? This is Jean’s house and I need to get my stuff.” was his reply.
I walked closer, and smelled alcohol on him. I knew him from somewhere but couldn’t place him.
“You need to get out of my house, and NOW,” I said.
“OK.” he said. “But this is Jean’s house and I gotta get my stuff.”
I flicked the end of the gun at the door. “Let’s go outside now, so you can get your stuff.”
“Good idea, ” he said.
He went out the door, which I had forgotten to lock since there had been no need in 25 years to lock it.
When he stepped outside, the dog followed. The dog was dragging one of those self winding leashes behind him, with about 8 feet of line extended. When he got outside, I noticed there was blood all over his t-shirt, and he was barefooted.
“Why are you in my house?” I asked. He stared at me, eyes sort of blank. He wasn’t staggering, but he was very wobbly.
“I got to get my stuff,” came the repeated answer. I knew he was massively fucked up, and then finally placed him. I had met him at a fundraiser for a woman running for city council. He was a typical suburban boy, nothing weird I could recall. But this situation was very weird. I thumbed the safety on, and lowered the gun somewhat.
“Look, ” I said. “This isn’t your house and it’s not Jean’s house. Look around you. This is my house and you just walked in. It’s one in the morning, and I was ready to shoot you.”
Only then did he look at the gun. It seemed to finally register.
“OH! OK,” he said. Then he walked into my garage door, which was open.
“NO! Not that way. That’s my garage and you don’t need to go in there. You need to go out this gate and go home.” I indicated the gate to my backyard with the gun, and he changed directions.
“Is this your dog?” I asked.
“No, That’s Shelly’s dog, not mine,” he replied as he walked out the gate.
“Where do you live?” I asked.
“On Palm Drive,” he answered. “You know that. The house with the purply trim. I put in some vegetables too.”
I watched him sort of meander down my driveway, then took the leash and threw it after him and the dog.
I watched him walk away, glad I hadn’t shot him dead.
When I went in the house, the wife was hysterical, and had called the police. She handed me the phone.
“He is about 5’9″ tall, bald, glasses, wearing a white t-shirt with blood spots on it. He is barefooted and wearing plaid shorts or underwear. He is either very drunk or on something or having a mental break” Then I handed the phone back to her. She hung it up and was trembling.
“A strange man just walked into our house. The dog didn’t even bark!” she blurted.
“The dog is half-deaf, eleven years old and has cataracts. He was also probably asleep like we were. I know that guy from the shrimp boil we went to last month. I got no idea why he walked into our house, but I am glad I didn’t shoot first.”
The police showed up, with lights, looking for the guy. He wasn’t on our street any longer. I was just glad he was gone and that I didn’t have to shoot him.
I spent an hour calming her and showing her that everything was now locked up tight.
The next day, the police called and said they had escorted him home. He was clearly under some influence or having a mental break, so we didn’t press any charges. After lunch, the doorbell rang. It was the guy, with his wife, and my wife nervously answered the door, holding it half open. He had come to apologize for what happened, and thanked me repeatedly for not shooting him dead. His wife was crying and repeatedly apologized.
It turns out that his doctor prescribed Ambien for him because he wasn’t sleeping. Apparently, this triggered sleepwalking or else a couple glasses of wine plus Ambien equals incredible effects in some people. He was indeed trying to get to Jeans house, where he had left 3 coolers used for the shrimp boil a few weeks previously. He had no idea why he wound up at my house and only remembered snatches of what transpired the night before. But he remembered the gun. And it was, in fact, his dog that was with him.
This incident is such a great example of what is wrong with many doctors, what is wrong with the pharmacy industry and why shooting first and asking questions later is not always the best plan.
I would have widowed a woman, left her with 3 kids and traumatized my wife permanently. I may have been justified, but that doesn’t mean it would have been the best outcome. I had the gun, was ready and knew I could. At that point, I felt confident I had the upper hand. And the entire situation was so strange that it felt wrong to kill him because he wasn’t actually threatening me.
I live in an upper-middle class suburban home in a really safe neighborhood. We have good police (they were there within 5 minutes) and they aren’t trigger or taser happy – they are peace officers and toll collectors mostly. So this incident is way off in the weird end of the spectrum.
I relate it to you because it seems to have multiple things to discuss within it – drugs, guns, etc.
Took me a while to wrap my head around it, but several things gelled for me.
First, I feel very sorry for the guy who had the adverse drug reaction. He’s a stand-up guy and there’s a huge lesson for the community in all this.
Check out this Google search: Well over 20,000 articles with the keywords “ambien sleepwalk” popped up.
Second point is that OM2’s encounter happened in an area with fast response times and close neighbors. Talking about it later, had the event happened at his farm, or ours, the outcome might have been dramatically shorter.
If you’re not following, consider that walking uninvited into a farmhouse at night in rural Texas has very high potential to be the last stupid mistake a person will ever make. In the city? There’s options. Not so much out here.
Next point: Lock doors and close garage doors. Remote and armed as we may be, the house is always locked down at night, including the shop – which has a very LOUD alarm system.
There are lots of other lessons implied: Never take a new drug unless your doctor’s office is open is one of mine. But you’re welcome to write up your own procedure plans from this.
Oilman2 has remarkable restraint, but he did what all Texans are supposed to know: You don’t fire unless you fear for your life. He did it by the book and the guy with the rotty is one lucky guy. He ought to buy a Lotto ticket for this weekend with luck running so good.
OK, so much for the workweek…Peoplenomics tomorrow morning and have a great three-day weekend, though we will have a column Monday. Markets closed, or not, it’s not always about money.
No, wait…maybe it is.
Write when you get rich,