humor · mental health

A Series of Unfortunate Visitors

Why do so many believe it is acceptable to go to a person’s home unannounced? Worse yet, why do so many people believe it is acceptable to go to a stranger’s home? Why do so many people engage with the ones who believe those things?

Thus far, I have freely admitted my faults and wrongdoings where they occur, but I am very passionate about this subject. If I sound horrible, so be it. These things happen to me so often, I always have a gun in the room, just in case.

It absolutely started with the church guys. I have only written about my first church experience, but it may be time to branch into others. Over the years, I had many friends drag me to church. The first two churches were Baptist, which turned out to be the most shamelessly intrusive of all denominations.

You thought Catholics, right? I know, it surprised me too.

They start each service in the same way. “If we have any first time visitors, please stand for us.”

Obviously, I wouldn’t have stood up, but Joan stood to point me out. Men walked down the isles to pass little cards to new people. They were for our information. Name, address, phone number, all the basic things you need to track someone down.

I said “I’m not allowed to give out our address. There’s such a thing as stranger danger, you know?”

Joan’s mom said I had to fill it out, “This is for God, he isn’t a stranger! You don’t think God is dangerous do you?”

Well actually, yes, if he exists, he’s extremely dangerous. Have you people read the Bible? Do you know how horribly he treated his people?

Unfortunately, when an adult said I had to do something, I took it literally. I wrote my information on the card, and when lightning didn’t strike me dead I forgot all about it.

Several months passed, and I found myself at a different church with a different friend. This church had video games instead of skating. It sounded safe enough, but I was fooled again. I spent several hours listening to people preach, then watched older kids play Mario Kart for an hour. There was one console with two controllers and almost 20 kids wanting a turn. I didn’t understand it at all. I didn’t put up with this crap when I played at home.

I thought I had learned my lesson. All churches were the same, they couldn’t be trusted. They would say anything to get you in those doors. They wanted to brainwash the masses at any cost, I wasn’t drinking their kool-aide, no sir.

One weekend, fresh out the shower, I was playing a video game, wet hair still wrapped in a towel. Suddenly, I heard Mom stomping down the hall. Those stomps only came before bad news. When she opened the door and I could see her crazy eyes, I knew it was really bad.

“You have visitors outside. Get your ass out there and get rid of them. Do not bring them into this house, you understand me?” She spit each word through gritted teeth.

I understood. “Yea… who is it?”

She stomped into the bathroom and waited for me to pass by. She wouldn’t even walk by the front door ahead of me. My stomach cramped with fear. I walked down the hall as if the funeral dirge were already playing. Mom followed behind. I had a second to think she may come outside after all, but I when I walked out, the door closed behind me. I heard the deadbolt slide into place.

Shock isn’t a strong enough word for the emotion I felt when I saw the kid I hated most standing there. I won’t torture you by listing the reasons here. Just know, of all the kids at school, I would have chosen any other kid. I would have chosen the boy that spit on me everyday before this kid. I’m going to call him Stinky.

*Reenactment* My view from the front door.

Stinky was flanked by two men. One was the man (Slim) who let Joan’s parents stop me from calling Dad when they broke my nose. I wasn’t sure about the other man (Fatso), but thought I saw him at that church as well. The conversation went something like this:

“Hey there, how you doing today?” Slim asked, sticking his hand out to shake.

I looked at his hand like it was a foreign object. “Ok.”

Not only am I terrified of what Mom will do when this is over, I’m angry and anxious at the same time in my own right. What the hell are these people doing here.

The man finally dropped his hand after an awkward pause. “Well, we were just going around today visiting some folks. I believe you know Stinky here..”

“Sure.” I hope my face is saying “drop dead.”

Stinky said a soft “Hey” but otherwise remained silent. That was something.

“Well, we haven’t seen you back at church for a while so we just wanted to stop by to see how you were doing.” Slim said.

It wasn’t a question. I didn’t feel a need to respond.

“Was there a reason you haven’t been back? Anything we can do to convince you to come by this sund’ee?” Fatso spoke for the first time.

“We don’t go to church.” How is that not obvious. You bastards broke my nose!

“Oh that’s ok you can start going to church any time. Would you like to go get your momma or daddy? Maybe we can all go in, set down, and see if we can work something out.” Fatso wasn’t shutting up. He took a step forward like we were really going to waltz in and have a family chat.

“No.” Short and simple. Never give them anything to build on. A hesitant Fatso stood back in place and took a moment to work a new strategy.

“Well we don’t have to go in, you wanna go ask your dad to come on out for a minute?” Slim tried to bargain with me.

“No, I’m locked out until you leave.” I’m going to have to start my game over by time these people go.

That threw them off a little. There was another long pause. “Honey, do you know about God and our savior, Jesus Christ.” Fatso bent down to talk to me at my eye level. That’s how you knew you were in real trouble. Adults only did that when they were determined to make you understand they’re right.

“Yes.” If I already know, there’s nothing for you to tell me.

“Well maybe you could tell us a little of what you know.” Fatso replied.

“No.” This is never going to end, is it?

It gets fuzzy after that. They tried once more to speak to my parents. Asking if I was sure I couldn’t go get one. I was very sure. I was so desperate for them to leave, I told them I had been “saved” and loved Jesus very much. I hated myself, I was chicken shit garbage. When they finally pulled out of the driveway, Mom unlocked the door.

Eventually I was allowed to speak long enough to tell her I didn’t know why they came, or how they found me. Dad made her stop. He said Joan’s parents were probably behind it, “That’s what church people do.”

It gave me the impression my parents and I felt the same toward these visitors, meaning, “If it happens again I can say anything I want!” Oh boy, did I.

It was the next day. Being an adult with more life experience, I can be fairly certain of what happened. The biggest Baptist church in town called the other big one and said “Hey we got a child’s soul in serious jeopardy, and we blew it. You need to get over there ASAP.”

This time, Dad comes into my room and tells me more church people are here. Calmly, he explained, “Whatever You’re doing has to stop. This is driving your mamma crazy, it isn’t a joke.”

I was mortified. How could they be back the next day? I was flummoxed, there’s no other word for it. I told Dad everything. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I made sure he understood I didn’t want to put our address on that card, but Joan’s parents made me.

I’m glad I told him. He understood what these people were doing now. He told me to never tell Mom and he would handle her, but I had to go out there and get these guys to go away once and for all. Why is this on the kid?

These people were making my only safe place very unsafe. It didn’t matter what they were selling, this was war. When I went outside, I heard the door lock behind me once again. My anger shot up even higher when I saw Stinky was here with two new men. Was this Stinky’s doing, what the ever loving fuck?

“Howdy. little lady!” New Fatso tipped his cowboy hat like they do in western movies. I hope my face showed proper disgust.

Stinky and New Slim echoed greetings while I concentrated on producing the angriest face possible. I didn’t reply with a greeting, only a cold gaze penetrating from the core of my icy soul.

“We’re from (church). We noticed you haven’t been to see us in a while.” New Slim was reading the old script, grinning ear to ear like he wanted me to think isn’t he just the nicest man.

Again, no question = no response. That’s how it works.

“We’s just wanted to stop by, say hullo and see if maybe you wanted to come on over Sund’ee mornin’. It wouldn’t be any trouble t’all to stop by and give you a ride, if you needed one.” Fatso, hat in hand, fiddles with the brim, waiting for my response.

I was surprised they didn’t ask for my parents again. I wanted to say something mean, but all that came out was “I don’t go to church.”

“Well, Stinky will be there. Maybe you could sit together!” New Slim offered.

I looked right at Stinky. “I already had to see him two days in a row outside of school, I suffered enough. Don’t you go to the other church? Why do you keep coming here?” I started off shakey, but I felt my temper oozing into each word thicker and thicker.

I was pleased at the stunned silence, but it evaporated quickly. New Fatso laughed it off as a joke. I wouldn’t smile, neither did Stinky.

New Slim tried again. “You never know, it could be fun. I bet you have a lot in common if you gave it a chance. You know, we have a couple new games since last time you came.”

“I wouldn’t fall for that if you told me you had 20 more controllers too. I have enough games. Bye.” I turned to walk in. I decided they couldn’t follow me if I locked the door really fast. The door was already locked. I couldn’t get in.

This is where awkwardness reached full capacity. They were finally feeling it too, not just me. “We won’t take much of your time, but do you mind telling us what it is exactly you don’t like?”

“Yes, I mind all of this. I don’t want to talk to you. I hate you, I hate him, and I don’t understand why you keep showing up here getting me in trouble. I didn’t do anything to you!”

I shrieked the last sentence. I was overwhelmed, my whole body was shaking like a vibrator. I hit full panic. I needed to get away from this, all bets were off.

Speech Filter: Deactivated

Common Sense: Deactivated

Safety Protocols: Deactivated

Self Destruct Sequence: Activated

Auto Pilot: Activated

Escape Pod: Malfunction

“We’re really sorry hun, we didn’t mean to get you in trouble. Would you like to get your parents so we can tell them it’s our fault? You shouldn’t be punished for our mistake.” New Fatso was on bended knee now. Why, why, why?

I couldn’t believe they were trying for my parents again. Had they learned nothing. “No, why do you keep making it worse? They won’t come out and won’t let me back in until you leave.” Cue the angry tears, my foot stomped with each word.

That did it. With a few more hesitant apologies and farewells, they left in such a hurry Slim tripped backing down the stairs. No one looked back as they piled into the car and sped away. Dad let me in.

He apologized, promising “Never again.”

He claimed he didn’t realize how upset it was making me, but I find that difficult to believe. I think they were more afraid than I was. They knew how taboo the position I took was. Mom took a few days to get over it, but no church people ever came back. I like to think we were blacklisted.

I wish this could be a freak incident of the past. One I could look back and laugh about now. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning to long series of unexpected visitors. I could never tell them in one sitting, but I would like to share the highlights.

One of the others I found particularly traumatizing at my parents house was with a boy who will eventually have his own post. Our relationship is difficult to explain or label, but think of him as a boyfriend for now.

He (Adam seems fitting) was another walking cliche, the home-schooled preacher’s son. He never developed a concept of boundaries. While far from his worst offense, he wanted to see my house. He had never seen it, but I had been to his dozens of times. I should have wrote his post first so I wouldn’t sound like the bad person. I’ll write it next, he was terrible I swear.

I would drop dead if anyone knew I lived in a trailer. There was no way Adam could see my house. We had a fight about it, but in the end he wasn’t coming over.

At home, as I’m getting out of my car, Adam is pulling in behind me. I went absolutely insane. I started thinking maybe I should work on that anger issue. Still, it gave me a complex about being followed. I was more aware of my surroundings after that.

While Hubby and I were living in our first apartment, we made sure not to engage with any neighbors. We didn’t want anyone to think they had an open invite like last time.

One Saturday, we hear a knock on the door. When I looked out the peephole and someone was covering it with red paper, we got a little scared. I quietly made sure both locks and chain were engaged and double checked the patio lock even though we lived on the second floor.

The people banged on the door for several minutes with no pause. We huddled in the kitchen with any weapons we could find. Nothing in this world was making us open that door.

The knocking came to a sudden stop and we could hear voices. Our neighbor came outside to determine what the hell was waking his kid up. We look out the peephole to see Hubby’s mother and sister standing there.

In hindsight, they should have been my first guess. It was the only logical explanation. “This is my son’s apartment. I know he’s in there but he don’t want to let us in!” She didn’t need to yell. We could hear her perfectly before the screaming began.

I couldn’t hear the neighbor very well, but he said something about his baby and went back inside. The body language seemed polite. The ladies stare at our door for another moment before going down the stairs. Silly us, we thought they were leaving.

Mother-in-law saw a janitor. We found out later she told him we were out of town and she needed feed our cat. After a short back and forth she gave up and left. We didn’t have a cat. This place required a separate pet deposit if you do. We had to let them in to prove we didn’t have any pets thanks to her.

We moved into a tiny apartment for the first few years after we moved away. One day I was home alone and there was a knock at the door. I saw a short, plump, balding man. I opened the door, but left the chain on.

He turned a weird shade of purple and stammered, “Oh.. oh no.. you aren’t really her are you?” He looked at the 69 on my apartment door and we both understood at the same time.

“Absolutely not, better luck next time.” I shut the door. I knew living in 69 was going to bite us in the ass. Thankfully, he was embarrassed enough to leave quickly.

When we could finally afford to move out of those apartments, we found a place in the country where thick lines of trees stood between us and our neighbors.

This didn’t stop the crackheads across the street from appearing on our doorstep asking for food and money. Our landlord had to tell them to stop several times. They started trying to sell us broken tools after that. The process repeated.

After we received our settlement money from the wreck that broke my arm, we had just enough to buy our own place. We were sick of living by renter rules. The home in the country had a strict “no indoor pets” policy, but the worst part was how he wanted to collect rent.

This guy wouldn’t let us take it to him. He made it so he came to the house to pick it up. I can understand wanting to keep an eye on your property, but he took it too far. If we didn’t want him letting himself in to collect the money, we had to make Landlord choose the pick up time.

If we said we would be home, he called last minute to reschedule. If we pretended we would be at work, we could run the money out to him when he showed up. He was annoying, but not the worst we had. The worst was when we had to live 8 weeks without running water.

Now that we owned our own double-wide and a couple acres in the middle of nowhere, I couldn’t let down my guard. We had to step up our game better than ever. We couldn’t just move away when an ex-coworker starts showing up for hand-outs.

We were doomed from the start. There was only one other driveway in a 10 mile stretch. It turns out, that one driveway was for Mom and Pop’s house, but branched off to Son’s house. With his wife and daughters, that made six people and a dozen dogs we saw the first day we came to stake the property for clearing.

They were the complete embodiment of every redneck we were running away from. They bragged for a suspiciously long time about how loud their trucks and music could get. I told them the sale was final, it was too late for us to back out.

This is on the wife’s truck, I am not joking.

I’m really not sure if they were joking when they said “At least you’re white folk.” It seemed like they wanted to be friends and that frightened me terribly.

The son’s wife was trying to form a friendship with me since the day we officially moved in. She was always riding her older kid down here on the 4-wheeler, trying to catch me outside. If she did, she stopped and talked about how lonely she was being a stay-at-home mom while everyone else worked all day. Red flags were flying.

The price we paid to get away from them was too high. We’re firm believers of don’t shit where you eat. We would have been polite and friendly to them even when the other two sons moved their campers in. They multiply like bunnies over there.

One day, this woman called while I was at work. I really can’t say why I answered, I never answer the phone. I have strong feelings about that too. When I did, she was crying. She spoke fast, desperately trying to convey she ran over one of my cats, she was sorry, and it wasn’t her fault, all in one breath.

I can’t handle that kind of news. I can hear about dying cancer kids all day, but it isn’t going to stir an emotional response. Sorry, but that’s just how I’m wired. Tell me an animal has a bo-bo? A mouse was killed by a trap? I break down hard. I can’t help it. I surely don’t like it. Tell me one of my animals, and you better get me to an isolated location and have sedation on hand.

It’s too upsetting even now, over 2 years later. I hung up and blocked her. Hubby had to call for details. Not only did she try to lie about how it happened, like we don’t see her flying down this road each day, they buried her on their property.

When Hubby explained we have our own wishes for her burial, they decided the solution was to dig her up, and re-bury her in a spot of their choosing. Right next to our house.

After we came home, this woman thought it would be a good idea to come over to apologize in person. I wasn’t sane. Hubby had to pick me up from work because I couldn’t get myself home. I embarrassed myself so badly at work it was making me feel even worse.

I screamed when I saw her. “The fuck you think you’re doing here? If your here when I come back I’ll shoot you in the fucking face.”

We didn’t even own a gun yet, I was just that upset. All I did was shut myself in the closet and cry myself to sleep. Hubby went outside to speak to her. He says she felt terrible and cried a lot. I would never actively seek her out to be mean, but I didn’t want to be her friend before this happened. If we had to lose one of our babies, I was at least taking this chance to be rid of her.

Again, karma would make me pay later, but I digress. When the universe ran out of ways to send people we barely know, it settled for complete strangers.

After a hurricane, a man in a camo truck pulled into our driveway. It was safe to assume we had another hunter. “Howdy ma’am, I’m from the hunting camp just up the road there. We have a little problem and I was wondering if you could help me out.”

He paused, expecting me to respond. I noticed he hasn’t said what kind of help he needed. I wasn’t going to blindly agree.

He finally broke the silence, but not with what I wanted to hear. “You folks got power over here.”

Assuming his favor involved using our electricity in some way and not caring he could see our lights on, I said “No.” I shut the front door the rest of the way to show I knew he knew I was lying, but didn’t care. Also to be sure he understood he would not be invited inside at any point.

He was taken aback. “Oh. You.. you said you don’t have power?”

“Correct. We’re just trying to get the damage cleaned up.” As in we are busy and you are in my way, please leave.

“Oh. We had it back for a few minutes, but it went back off. I was hoping maybe somebody might have heard a little about what was going on.”

I honestly had no information. We hadn’t been able to find anything out ourselves. It was a total surprise when our power came back. We expected to be on the generator for at least a few days. That was a big mouthful when “No.” conveyed the same sentiment.

I really had been in the middle of something so I took advantage of the next lull. “Well, gosh, that’s a shame. Sorry we couldn’t help you, have a nice day.”

He understood the hint that time. I saw it on his face. His friendly expression disappeared like a magic trick. “Oh, I understand now, alright.” And off he went. We never saw him again.

A few months later, two women pull in our driveway. They’re sloppy drunk and reek of whiskey. One woman falls down several times while explaining her husband abandoned her cat here. Have we seen it?

We have spent thousands in vet bills and cat food because assholes keep abandoning their pets here. I told her no, we haven’t seen it, but her husband was a piece of shit (she readily agreed). I asked her to pass along the message we put cameras up to catch people in the act.

When they leave, they back the huge truck straight into a ditch. They’re stuck. They’re front bumper is less than a foot from our back bumper. We had started blocking our driveway so people wouldn’t have room to pull in, but she squeezed in anyway.

We had no choice but to try to pull her out. Even if we were willing to have her here long enough to wait for someone, no one could possibly fit in to pull it. I wanted her gone now.

When they realized they were good and stuck she started walking back toward our house. I met her before she could get any closer. “Get your ass back in the truck. I know we have to pull your sorry ass out now, but you’re gonna stay the hell off my property while we do.”

She was slurring out apologies and excuses instead of moving. “I don’t care! Sorry doesn’t unfuck what you did. When you get out of that ditch you better never come down this road again.” I slammed the front door before she could respond.

Hubby pulled her out of the ditch with our barely running 06 Chevy. A few days later we would be paying almost $1500 to have something on the back end replaced. I don’t understand mechanics, but I understand money perfectly.

Last one, this has gotten much longer than I anticipated and I sound worse than expected. Luckily, we had a gun for this one.

I just happened to be looking out of a window one day when I saw something orange walking down the road. When it finally passed the tree line, I saw a hippy from Dazed and Confused. This man was meth-head skinny, had long blond hair that hadn’t been washed in at least a week, and he was walking down our long road.

That was enough red flags for me, I got the gun and came back to watch. He was pulling his shirt over his head, and spinning in circles out there. Hubby also began watching at this point.

When he made it to our driveway, he paused long enough to take a good look at the house and our private property sign on the fence. He took a few steps further down the road until he could see around the curve.

I guess he saw we were the only choice, and decided to take his chances. He didn’t like that private property sign, we knew that much. There was nothing about him that didn’t scream sketchy.

We opened the door before he could walk onto the porch. Hubby stood in the door and said a firm, loud “No.” before he could speak.

Sketchy opened his mouth like he was going to try anyway, but Hubby cut him off. “No.”

I was standing behind Hubby so far. When Sketchy looked like he was still trying to decide what to say, I stepped out where he could see the gun. I didn’t point it, but he saw it and knew why I had it.

Finally he said “Ok, sorry.” And walked back the way he came.

We never saw him again, but I was paranoid he would come back one day while we were at work and do something horrible. I woke up in the middle of the night with overwhelming urges to check outside, but being too afraid to look. This happened sometime last year, but it still makes me feel nervous. My brain never rests.

Gosh guys, I’m sorry the last two days have been so long. Even imaginary friends need a rest, I’ve treated you all unfairly. I should probably try to clean up what I’ve already written instead of dropping sloppy posts out one after the other. I’ll try to do better from now on.

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