1. Garage sale creeper
Summer after fifth grade, around the end of June, I went garage saling with my mom and grandma in the neighboring town. Had a lot of good buys.
The last place we hit up was a housing addition the edge of town, where a lot of old people and empty-nesters lived. It was kind of boring, but I thought I would poke around just in case. My mom and gran let me go ahead of them while they browsed, so I went up to the next house.
It looked pretty normal. I mean, it looked the same as every other house in the addition. Maybe not as many frills, but nothing out of place really. There wasn’t a sign in the yard but the garage door was open and there were tables out. A guy was sitting in a lawn chair at the back of garage. So, legit, I suppose. I went in.
There wasn’t a lot of selection. And old coffee maker, throw pillows. There was a rack of plus-size womens’ clothing and shoes. No men’s clothes or shoes. Anything that suggested a man lived there.
The man at the back of the garage sat there smiling the whole time. He was maybe in his late 30s/early 40s, moustache, bald at the top and had a fringe of brown hair that tapered down his neck. He wore a wolf t-shirt and denim cut-offs. He kept crossing and un-crossing his very hairy legs, like with rhythm, and kind of swinging them.
Beneath another table was a huge box of naked Barbies priced .50 cents a piece. I bent down to inspect them. First of all, the Barbies’ hair was sticky and crusty. Like someone put glue in them. Second of all, they smelt terrible. Like rotten or something, body odor, just inconceivably foul.
I was pulling away when the man in the back of the garage started asking me questions, like how old was I, where did I go to school. He asked me if I liked the Barbies.
Not really interested, I said.
He started talking about his cockerspaniel named Spiffy or something and then let the dog out when it started scratching on the garage door. It started growling at him, like snarling, and it ran around to the back of the house. By then I decided I was done here. He hadn’t really done anything, but he gave me the creeps.
Leaving already? He sounded disappointed.
I told him to have a nice day.
Ran off to my mom and gran, but I didn’t tell my mom about the creeper. I just told her he had a crap selection. Nothing she would like anyway.
A week or so later we saw on the news a man broke into a woman’s house, tried on all her clothes, molested her daughter. . .and hosted a garage sale at their house, at that housing addition.
2. The man in the woods
I live in Chattanooga, TN. Every year we have a music festival called Riverbend on the Tennessee River. The end of the festival is celebrated with one of the best firework shows in the world. It is hell to get into or close to the festival on the last day. It’s like everyone in the southeast United States wants to come see the fireworks. My best friend, Tara, and I wanted to find a good vantage point that would overlook the river and watch the fireworks. We drove up a ridge near the river and pulled off into a gravel parking lot, where we found several other people with the same idea as us. Some trees were in the way, and we noticed a trail that went down the ridge. We walked about 40 yards down the trail and came to a clearing, where we could see the river perfectly. We were talking and waiting on the fireworks to start, when we started hearing some rustling on down the trail. I thought I saw a person’s silhoutte move between some trees on down the ridge. Tara had a small keychain flashlight, and she took it out and shined it down the trail. We didn’t see anything. We kept hearing rustling, and kept seeing nothing. We finally started thinking it was a really noisy squirrel.
The fireworks started and had been going on for about a minute, when I heard a stick break right by me. We turned around and looked, but couldn’t see anything. Tara turned on her light, and there was a man standing literally 5 feet away from me. It was so dark that we couldn’t see him at all until the light was on him. It was like a horror movie scene. We immediately started heading up trail, and the whole way up he was talking. Saying things like “Where are you going? What’s your name? What are two pretty things like you do here?” We ignored him and kept walking. Then he starts getting angry and saying “Aren’t you listening? You get back here! You know, nobody could hear your screams over the fireworks. I have a knife. You don’t even know my name. Nobody will ever catch me if I hurt you.” We started running, and we got to the top of the hill, where two kids were playing, and I saw their dad standing further back. I told the kids their dad wanted them so they would get close to their dad and safe from the creepy guy. I then walked over to their dad and told them about the man that followed us out of the trail, and asked if he cared if we stood with him until the man was gone. He said of course, and thanked us for sending his kids in his directions. The man stood at the beginning of the trail and watched us for a while, then finally went back into the woods.
He had been watching us in the woods for at least 20 minutes before he approached us. He waited until the noise of the fireworks began before coming out.