The Man With the Gun in My Yard

The year: I don’t remember but I would estimate 1987.

This is a true story. The characters are not fictional. If you think you are in this story, you probably are. I’m not here to protect anyone’s identity.

It was a dark and stormy night, not actually stormy but dark. I just always wanted to start a story that way.

It was about midnight and I had just gotten into bed when I heard a car coming down the main road really fast. Now keep in mind I am the neighborhood spy. My bed was by the window and I peeked out to see what was going on. The car took the corner down my street going about 80 mph.

catholicdrivingtoofast.jpgThis is definitely driving too fast.

I live on a small dirt road in the second house on the right. In the distance I could hear sirens so I got up to get my police scanner. No good spy would be would be without one.

I continued looking out the window and to my surprise the car careened across my front lawn barely making it between my two big trees and landed in the front yard of the house next door. I ran to my side door to see what was happening. As I am watching a person get out of the car heading toward my house, I hear the police dispatcher on the scanner telling the officer in pursuit that the guy has a gun.

gun.jpgMy imagination got carried away with the size of the gun I imagined the gunman to be toting.

Immediately I hit the floor, at the same time grabbing the phone to call my sister. My wasband who was my husband at the time was out. (and you wonder why we’re divorced? He should have been home protecting his family.). The kids were sound asleep and I am crawling on the floor, listening to the scanner and giving my sister a blow by blow description of what is happening.


I can see out my big living room picture window that a police car is pulling in my driveway.


Now I hadn’t put on any of the outside lights because I didn’t want to attract the gun wielding man to my door. The gunman is now in my backyard heading toward the house on the other side of me. The policeman is getting out of his car and running to the end of my driveway to get to the back yard. What the cop doesn’t know is there is a ten foot drop to the back yard at the end of the driveway and at the bottom of the drop is our coal pile for our stove. I want to yell out and warn him but I am still crawling on the floor. Fortunately for him, he’s not hurt after his fall into the coal pile. He also doesn’t know there is a fenced in garden in our backyard which he completely gets tangled up in. I know all this because I can hear him on the police scanner giving a blow by blow description of what is happening to the dispatcher as I describe it all to my sister.

My next door neighbor collects stuff from the dump, mostly metal, which he sells. His back yard is filled with odds and ends including a metal building about 10 feet by 12 feet. The gunman proceeds to enter this building and lock himself in. Meanwhile backup has arrived which includes every cop on duty that night. This is probably the most exciting thing to happen to any of them in a long time. The last exciting thing was probably when a policeman was driving to work for the second shift and gets shot in the face by a passing car and ends up coming down my street. This happened in 1979. I’ll tell that story another time.


Now that I feel safe, I’m back up off the floor and looking out my bedroom window onto the scene. I actually opened the window so I could hear what was going on. What I hear shocks me. I hear the gunman inside the locked little building shouting “Mommy, Mommy, help me”. I hear Mommy in the house trying to get to her son, who after all doesn’t have a gun. The police are holding her back and the culprit is in the building crying. He had a fight with his girlfriend and took her car. She got so mad at him, she called the police and told them he stole her car and had a gun.

By this time I had lived next door to these people for about thirteen years and they had always had some kind of trouble with their sons. This was the older one trapped in the building surrounded by every cop in town. His Dad convinced him to come out and the police took him away with the Dad following them in his car.

I have to say I was truly panicked when I saw him head towards the house. If I had known it was my neighbor’s son I would have gone out there and yelled at him for screwing up my front lawn. He was one up on the cop though, because he knew about the fenced in garden so he was able to go around it even in the dark backyard. I still wonder why the cop didn’t think to bring a flashlight.

My children never even woke up. If it happened now I don’t think either one of them would wake up. We were always noisy when they were little and sleeping, so they are used to loud noise at night.

Even the night I fell and broke my ass they didn’t wake up and the house shook on that one.

Actually I have a lot of cop stories and very few involve any of our family members. Though some involve my son. Actually 5 or 6 involve my son but fortunately it was mostly small stuff. No, that’s a lie. Some of it was big stuff, though I can say he doesn’t have a criminal record. Just a record of doing stupid things with stupid people. And a lot of it is just stuff that happens on my little dirt road which is only 2/10ths of a mile long. My street is like a magnet for weird stuff. They could film a whole season of “Cops” if they hung around my street long enough. I don’t even live in a city. I live in a small town on Cape Cod.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. moonbeammcqueen
    Jan 05, 2008 @ 12:07:54

    I can just picture you marching over to that shed, past the police, to shake your finger at that guy for messing up your lawn! I sort of feel sorry for him. I’m sure when he got into the fight with his girlfriend, he never imagined that it would turn out that way. I’d love to see an episode of “COPS” where the bad guy cries and says “Mommy, mommy.”


  2. joanharvest
    Jan 05, 2008 @ 13:13:31

    That boy is all grown up now and in his forties. He has bone cancer and they had a birthday party this summer for him. He was in a rock and roll band for most of his life. He turned out to be a really nice guy. It was a big party, with a few live bands all paying tribute to him. A few weeks later his younger brother had a heart attack. He survived but it was touch and go. He’s our town’s master karaoke guy. He runs his own Karaoke show. I feel bad for the parents to have both their son’s go through such ordeals. But they were both hellions when they were teens. The older one decided one day when he was about 12 or 13 to see if he could push my VW bug to the end of my driveway and watch it fall the ten feet to the ground. Fortunately he wasn’t strong enough and only moved it about 10 feet.


  3. CuriousC
    Jan 05, 2008 @ 18:47:50

    You tell a good story. Can’t wait for the next!


  4. romi41
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 12:42:38

    okay, I had NO idea the story would turn out like that…you took us readers on quite a ride (no pun intended), I loved it! 🙂

    “The last exciting thing was probably when a policeman was driving to work for the second shift and gets shot in the face by a passing car and ends up coming down my street. This happened in 1979. I’ll tell that story another time.”

    Okay, I am sooo waiting for that one 😉


  5. Wendy
    Jan 08, 2008 @ 00:47:13

    “Mommy, Mommy, help me”
    LOL LOL LOL Call me a jerk, but LOL LOL LOL That is so freaking funny. God, I can’t stop smiling now. Excellent story, Joan.

    When you’re figuring out your list of stories, please include the whole thing with your police scanner and how you and Barbara could hear everyone’s phone conversations.

    “Mommy, Mommy, help me” LOL LOL LOL


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