About 20 years ago I had planned a trip to Disney World and asked my friend Fred if he would like to do some house sitting. He agreed. At the time there was a young single woman of 22 who worked for him and who still lived at home with her over-protective parents. Her father was a minister. Never having much opportunity to spread her wings, the girl asked Fred if she could stay at our house for a night. She said that she and her cousin would be the only ones there, they would watch a movie and turn in early. She just had to get away from her parents, if only for a night. Fred said sure. After all, what could go wrong?
The next day when Fred came into the office at 8:00, the girl was not there. When nine rolled around he became concerned and began calling the house. No answer. Finally he decided to drive over and check it out. It was a rainy, cold day, and when he pulled up in front of the house it was coming down hard. His initial reaction when looking at the house was relief, because it was still there. But the girl’s car was parked in the circular driveway and the front door was wide open.
He ran from his car to the entrance but stopped before going in when he saw our black cat, Fritz, near the front door under a bush, and soaked to the bone. Fred’s detective mind wondered why a cat would rather stay outside in a cold rain than move into his own warm home. This worried him. Nevertheless, he moved ahead.
Inside, he called the girl’s name just as Fritz streaked past him and up the stairs. He called again but got no answer. He moved into the family room and saw lots of glasses on the table, some empty and some half-full, with an orange-colored drink. The TV was on and there was a movie in the VCR. It was The Exorcist. He walked into the kitchen and found some empty pints of peach schnapps next to a blender and some cartons of orange juice, the ingredients for Fuzzy Navels.
Fred warily walked up the stairs to the master bedroom. Fritz was lounging on the bed, licking himself dry. He ignored Fred as he passed. In the master bath the whirlpool tub was full. But the water was purple. There were women’s clothes and shoes on the floor.
Fred left the house and drove back to work hoping to find the girl. He arrived but she had still not shown up. He decided to call her parents. They didn’t know her whereabouts either. But her father knew something because he said, “I think you better meet me back at your friend’s house.”
When they met the father told Fred that his daughter had called him last night by mistake. She was obviously intoxicated and when he began to question her she quickly got off the phone. He knew where she was and immediately drove over. He said that both the front and back doors were open but no one was inside. He knew his daughter had sounded distraught on the phone and when he looked out past the back yard and saw the large pond he came to the conclusion she had thrown herself in.
He called 911 and a rescue unit showed up and began dragging the pond for a body. Our neighbors came out from their homes, gathered near the bank, and waited.
This went on for a while until a friend of the girl’s, who had been at the party, showed up and asked what was going on. When they told him he casually mentioned that she wasn’t in the pond at all, but was hiding out at his apartment because she was scared. He told her father that after the phone call with him she freaked out so bad that they all just ran from the house.
The rescue was called off and everyone went home. They were all so relieved that no one remembered to shut the front door.