I was down at the pond, pulling excess pond weed out with an oversized rake when the pickup slowed down and turned into my drive. It wasn't a truck I recognized. My first thought was that this was someone looking for one of the scattered homes in this very rural area and that they were just using my entrance to turn around. Not this time.
The truck paused and then proceeded slowly...very slowly, up the long sandy drive towards the empty house. My crew had soccer games and I had stayed home to do some much needed chores.
I headed up the slope to intercept the driver before he could exit the truck. We get few visitors, and almost no strangers dropping in here, and the crawly slow way that this guy had crept up the driveway was tripping all my cop senses. (You've perhaps heard of spidey senses...this is better)
The driver had stopped and was still seated behind the wheel as I came up from behind the truck. White guy, 6 feet, 180 lbs, late 20's -mid 30's, stringy brown hair, unshaven with a moustache. He sat looking at the house and had not noticed me yet.
I eased up to the driver side, keeping some space, and holding the large landscape rake between us...casually defensive.
"Can I help you?" He jumped and turned in his seat at the sound of my voice.
"Yeah man, I'm almost out of gas and I've got to get out to Cedar Key"
He said he was home to see family. I asked him his name. It did match a Cedar Key family name. Hmmm.
Still, this guy just seemed way too jumpy...hinky if you will. Something just wasn't right. He was way too nervous and way too interested in the house before he knew I was there. I told him to stay there, I had a couple of bucks in my wallet that he could have. I gave it to him and gave him directions to the little corner store a few miles away. As an after thought, I remembered a a little 2 gallon gas can under the boat that had about a gallon in it.
I put it in the bed of his truck and told him he could keep the can.
Still seated in his truck, he thanked me. I stepped back and he backed up and drove away. I walked back to the pond to continue my task, but the mystery nervous guy stayed on my mind. I was still convinced he had been up to something and my mind raced with what ifs...how would that have gone if it had been just my kids home or if no one was here.
I also considered that Mr. Ex-Law Dog was being too suspicious as usual. Entirely possible.
A week goes by...
Our town is so small, we only have a weekly newspaper. It comes out on Thursdays. When it does I always turn to the inside of the front page to read the weekly arrest records. I usually find at least one of my ex -students pictured there.
On this particular Thursday, I get a shock when I open the paper. There in the weekly mugshots is a picture of my truck "visitor". The short write-up beneath his picture explains that he was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant from another state.
A few days after he visited me.