So somebody got on my bad side last night…

I have so many flashlights I don’t know what to do. I have a really nice rechargeable I carried for years until quite recently, when I pruned down the stuff I keep on my belt. I have a sort-of-slightly-bigger-than-a-penlight that I carry currently. I have 2 old EDC flashlights here in my desk drawer, 3 or 4 cheap flashlights in my junk drawer, at least two more in my ammo drawer, 2 on or in my nightstand, seriously, I’m up to my ass in flashlights.

I only ever paid serious money for one of them, and I keep it on the business end of my bump-in-the-night rifle. Like the rifle itself it’s very seldom of any use because I’m not at all a night person but I keep it handy and in good repair because when I need it I need it right f’ing now and nothing else will do. Every now and then something goes bump in the night, and there’s nobody to call about it. Like last night, for example.

Around 8:30 last night Tobie got very excited and hostile about something outside. It’s his only real job, and to his credit he takes it seriously. I seldom know what he’s on about but I do at least look to see if I agree as to its importance, right? Turned out this time he was barking at something I could see and hear: It’s bedtime for sane people and some idiot is vrooming back and forth in the wash with an ATV. Made a couple of passes and then disappeared downstream. I figured that was that. A little while later I took off my leg and settled down on my bed with a book. Not quite ready for lights-out but pretty much done with the day. And about 9:30 Tobie started up again. And I didn’t have to look out the window to know why: That damned ATV was back! What’s more, judging from the sound it wasn’t just passing by.

Pro-tip: I don’t have any friends likely to do that, at least not without a warning phone call. And if you make me put my leg back on after I’ve taken it off for the night – well, I’ll willingly do it for a friend. For anybody else, I’m gonna be cranky.

So now I’m vertical and bipedal and out on my porch with my brightest flashlight but I didn’t need it to see where my intruder was because he had every light blazing – out at my rifle range, where he stopped, got out of the ATV, and walked around. And then that person got back in, did a u-turn in the sand, and drove away.

Okay: Now you’ve gotten me out of bed, made me put my leg on, and you’re screwing with my stuff. Now I’m pissed.

I had a fair idea who this was, though no proof. We few who live in the roughly four-square-mile little valley I call the Gulch used to say we’d gotten awfully lucky with our neighbors: Well, in the past couple of years the view hasn’t been quite that sunny. In particular there’s a guy sort of at the edge of the Gulch who has fallen really seriously into drinking and whose behavior has become peculiar to the point of concerning. And it’s not the first time he has taken it upon himself to cast his eyes upon my or Ian’s belongings uninvited. And among other vehicles he has an expensive ATV that sort of matches the silhouette that this one cast against the wall of the wash with its own several brilliant headlights.

I’m a retiring kinda guy. I’m not looking for trouble with anybody. But I live very alone in the frickin’ middle of frickin’ nowhere, there’s no cop I can call when things go sideways in the middle of the night, and for the record that’s why my brightest flashlight is coaxial to something with a 30-round magazine. And now my nocturnal visitor has me tossing it into my Jeep to go see for myself what mischief he’s been up to. After I checked out the range – nothing out of order – I knew I wouldn’t rest until I’d ensured that nobody had been screwing around halfway up the ridge at Ian’s place. Which I did, while I should have been asleep, because settling my mind about that was the only way I’d ever get to sleep now.

While poking around alone in the dark I was, at least, comforted by the fact that my only really bright flashlight was not only high in lumens but also in ammo capacity. Which is why I arranged it that way. Seriously, just don’t do that.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to So somebody got on my bad side last night…

  1. ka9vsz says:

    The downside of being a responsible adult is sometime being up and alert when you’d very much rather be asleep, dammit.
    Good for you, Joel. I hope you get to take a nap later.

  2. Speaking as someone who has some experience with home invasions, I applaud your response.

  3. doubletrouble says:

    Very restrained Joel. I would have let a couple rounds loose into the range berm just to let the intruder know his was not a welcome visit. And a ‘good boy’ to Tobie!

  4. bill says:

    If it was the guy from the edge of the Gulch, then he has to know you are there. You didn’t have to even use your light because he had lights. Still he would have to know he was being watched by man and dog. That guy doesn’t show much good sense. That’s a concern.

  5. Clyde says:

    Just a thought of no particular import, does the Gulch’s backhoe still run? And, if it does, is there, shall we say, “widespread awareness” of that?

    One of the – supposed – foundational concepts of Very Rural Living used to be that “Very Rural” goes both ways; it comes as no suprise that many in Modern Times have come to be ignorant of that.

  6. Mike says:

    I know from experience that things which go bump in the night are one of the few bad things about living a rural lifestyle. It’s why I have a 12G coach gun near to hand when I bed down for the night.

    I know that you will probably say no way, but you may want to consider letting the local LEOs know about this. It could help cover your ass if you find that you are forced into the situation where lethal force is required.

  7. Ben says:

    Given that he announced his presence with noise and lights, it doesn’t seem likely that he was on a thievery mission (this time) but Ian’s place probably should have at least a game camera or two.

  8. Joel says:

    Yeah, it does but only one. Lately I’ve been wishing for more.

  9. Tennessee Budd says:

    Great minds think alike. I have several weapons from which to choose, but the best trigger, best BCG, and especially the best light are on what I call my ‘night rifle’. It’s the one closest to the back door (which is in my bedroom). When I have to grab something in the dark, I want the best I have, and I sometimes have to, living out in the country. At least my area is quite a bit greener than yours, Joel.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it would have been better to show up an ask or confront him to see what he was doing on your property at night. Is that area on your property? Anyway, someone doing this could be him testing you to see what they can get away with. It may escalate if no boundaries are given. Littering does lead to very bad things. You may want to check the area around Ian’s place to look for tracks scoping it out and your area. If alcohol is involved and he has a problem because of it, that is a bad sign and may require. Depending on your views, you could notify LEO’s about it to cover you for the future or just use the backhoe to prep a proper location for his future internment, if needed. I used to live on a remote lot back east ( kinda wish we had stayed there) and we had issues start with kids on MC’s coming on my land usually at night because they thought that would cover them. One night I waited for them and stepped out in front of them all got away except one who laid down his bike in sand. I was carrying an old 30-30 because of coyotes of course. Anyway, I politely asked him if he could give me a hand for a minute. I led him over to a hole I had dug and just stood there looking at him and the hole. I just said yep looks about the right size to me and told him to tell his buddies to never come back, they never did. Never had any issues with anyone again.

  11. johnrourke says:

    I think you did a great job and hopefully they saw that you were responsive and learned it may not be a good idea to return. As someone else mentioned would’t be a bad idea to let the local police know what occurred. Might be good to have that on record incase some more serious transpired in the future.

    I live out in the woods in Maine and have been thinking about improving my set up to respond t such an event. Working on it.

To the stake with the heretic!