One evening hubby and I were sprawled on the sofa in our pyjamas. (His are the manly stripy kind, mine are covered in dainty birds, which to be fair are the only dainty thing about me these days.)
We were watching the American drama, Hostage, which had reached a particularly creepy part. Suddenly, there was a loud knock on our window.
BANG, BANG, BANG!
We both jumped and looked at each other in a startled manner.
"That's the police."
Let me explain there was a good reason for Mark stating the above. He does not have super powers which allow him to see through walls, and windows with blinds covering them. And we are not usually accustomed to police officers banging on our window late at night. The reason Mark assumed it was an officer from the police force, was due to the fact a flyer was posted through our letter box earlier that evening.
This flyer informed us the police had tried to call with regards to a nearby break in, and they were keen to know if we could assist with their enquiries. Unfortunately, they must have rung the door bell which is not working, again. The batteries were needed in Tommy's Winnie the Pooh light show and have yet to be replaced.
So Mark opened our front door, expecting to see the boys in blue, but was rather startled to see a young, slightly menacing (apparently at the time he appeared menacing) lad in a hoody, who rather abruptly said:
"Have you seen my cat?"
Mark had not seen his cat and replied appropriately.
The youth then asked Mark if he was sure, as he lives at the end of the alley and his cat often sits in the gardens of neighbouring houses.
I immediately worried about the safety of the missing animal and asked what number the young lad lived at, should we spot his cat and try to return it to him.
"Erm number 18, thanks anyway," said the hooded stranger.
Mark closed our front door and it was then we looked at each other suspiciously, both realising exactly the same thing at precisely the same time.
"But we're number 95, he can't live at 18 if he lives at the end of the alley!"
Feeling very uneasy my mind raced into overdrive. I decided and discussed with hubby this was part of a scam to check if we were at home and could be disturbed if he/they wanted to rob our property.
I pleaded with Mark to telephone the police, report this dodgy character, and never leave me home alone again.
Mark called the police, described our visitor, and left his details with the friendly voice at the other end of the line.
Our American television drama was now completely forgotten. We were living our own unexpected and uncomfortable real life nightmare.
Mark then decided to knock at our next door neighbour's house. Our nice neighbours whose names we STILL can't remember, to warn them of this scam and to check it was not their house which was burgled.
"Yeah," said our nice nameless neighbour (it's been a year, how can we now turn around and say we can't remember your name?), "he knocked at our door too. He's the young boy who lives in one of the streets at the back of the alley. I told him off the other day for riding his motorbike down the alley. There are notices about the missing cat all over the place."
We both silently cringed. We were convinced the lad was part of a terrifying gang and our house was under surveillance.
Damn you over active imagination and damn you American drama show.
Just as we were feeling especially guilty, the real police turned up with a patrol car. An officer stepped outside the car and rang the doorbell that doesn't work (we were standing by our window at this point and to our horror noticed the police car).
"We're going to scan the streets for this man, could you give us any more details please?"
Mark and I both looked sheepish and wondered who would explain the huge, massive, mix up.
A few days later, I was sitting over the park with Tommy. He was having a kip in his pram and I was staring into space and chomping crisps. Through my savoury daydreams I saw a young lad, in a hooded top, wheeling his motorbike on the pathway.
"Excuse me, " I said, wiping cheese and onion crumbs from my mouth, "are you the one whose cat went missing?"
"Yes, that's right," he said politely, "but luckily he's come back after 5 days missing!"
"I'm so glad," I said, smiling sweetly.
All's well that ends well.