With a half smile on my face, I thought to myself, my, aren't these city folk jumpy. Don't they know about barn swallows? I looked at Jane and saw that she was half crouched with a hand raised and ready to grab my arm.
I walked past Jane and toward the one step out of four that remained to get up on the trailer's entry way. Rotted as they were, the boards were solid under my weight. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see a very old and dirty refrigerator and several pairs of large sized boots and sneakers. When I turned to tell Jane about the shoes, I bumped into her. She had silently followed me up the stairs.
I knocked on the door with "Is anybody home?" Nothing. No sound from inside at all. I reached down for the door handle and it was unlocked, the door opening toward me.
The stench slapped me in the face. Putrid, sour and overwhelming, the smell made my eyes water. It was a bit lighter inside, but all I could see was junk. There was so much junk, piled from floor to ceiling, that it was hard to identify anything in particular. Looking down to see where I could step, I saw a huge jar of pickled eggs.
Looking to the left, my eyes picked out a small stove and a pile of dirty dishes. Turning to the right and taking a step, I noticed a hole in the ceiling of the trailer, the source of the brighter light. When I looked down and under where the light fell, there was a very large head.
Black Hefty garbage bags fell to each side as this very large face on top of this very large and tall body stood up in the little path through all the junk and garbage. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have the time to startle. An even stronger wave of stench hit my face.
I once dated a man that was 6'3, and I used to fit neatly under his armpit. Based on how far I had to tilt my head back, I'd say that this person standing before me had to be much taller than that. The large head was topped with spiked hair. The face was small, it seemed flattened, with just as much chin below as there was forehead above. A black spiked dog collar topped a black leather jacket over a stained and grimy shirt not tucked into stained and grimy jeans. When my eyes returned to the face, a big smile was on it.
"I'm looking for Becky. Do you know where she is?"
"I'm Becky." The voice was girlish, young sounding, and completely at odds with the figure it came out of.
"Would you sit back down, please? My neck hurts like this." When she sat down, she was still taller than me. I introduced myself.
"I'm here because it seems someone's been shooting a gun around here"
"Yeah, that was me. When I get bored, I shoot at rats all the time."
"Where's the gun?"
"Oh, I put it back with the other guns."
"Come outside," one of the officers yelled into the door. Becky followed me closely out the door, and jumped off the porch instead of navigating the one remaining stair. Jane pulled me away as the officers took control.
She fired off one question after another. What did you see? Were there any guns? What's in there? Is she alone? I was listening to the officers asking Becky whether there were any guns in the house, to which she answered that her father kept an old .22 pistol in his room, along with a huge military knife.
"They called her father," Jane said, "He works as a prison guard in a juvenile detention facility in another county. He should be here any minute."
My fury was immediate. How could anyone who lives like this, who makes his daughter live like this, work around kids? Who would be so stupid as to put him in charge there?
As if on cue, a little beat up white car comes crashing through the weeds and brush to stop right in front of the trailer porch.
To be continued...