Guest Post: A Life of Crime Doesn’t Suit Me

M* is pleased to share the following guest post from Marsha Ward.

Marsha is a multi-published freelance writer, editor, workshop presenter, mentor, and consultant, and the author of three novels as well as a contributor to two non-fiction books on writing and publishing. She is the Sacrament Meeting organist and Relief Society pianist in her small Central Arizona branch.

Recently I attended the LDStorymakers’ Writers Conference in Provo, at which I had a marvelous time hobnobbing with my fellow writers and associates. I live in Central Arizona, so going to Utah by car is a bit of a trip there and back. I got home about 10:15 on Sunday night after driving most of the day. (All right, I did take a lunch break where I could check my email.) I didn’t know I was about to have a new adventure.

I gassed up for the final time in Payson before the last half-hour stretch to home. However, I neglected to take heed of the primary rule for older folks: Never pass up the opportunity to use the restroom. I figured, “I’ll be home soon,” and left it at that. (Writerly note: I’m going to change to present tense, for the most part, for maximum impact.)

So. I drive up to my trailer. I park, note my mileage and time, and gather a few essentials to take into the house, since I decided to not haul all my stuff in that night. I climb the steps to the deck, then the stoop, then put my key in the lock.
The key won’t turn.

I need to further note that before I left home, I had a Great Idea: Take all the excess keys off the key ring I carry in my purse and rearrange them.

A tangential note here: I changed my front lock a few months ago. At the time, I checked both the two packaged keys plus two I had Wal*Mart make, and they all seemed to work fine.* Since then, I’ve been hauling around the old key in its blue-colored plastic key-topper, plus the two new originals on their little ring, which I slipped onto my main ring.

So. I took the excess keys off the ring, including the old blue-topped key. I extracted one of the new keys and put a red topper on it. This I put on my key ring, and put the blue topper on the other new key, which I put on the auxiliary key ring I grab when I go to get the mail. All the other new keys, and the ones to other people’s houses that I didn’t need at present, went on the key hook hanging in my kitchen.

Back to “the key won’t turn.” Really, it won’t turn at all, even though it will slip into the lock. This is one of the originals for the new lock, the manufacturer-provided key. And. It. Doesn’t. Work!

Remember the rule in Paragraph Three? I have to get into the house!

Okay, Marsha. Don’t panic, I tell myself. People get into locked houses all the time. They break a window and open the door from the inside.


It looks so easy on TV.

I get my huge MagLight flashlight from the car. I wrap it in a towel. I put on my sunglasses to protect my eyes. I grit my teeth. I take a swing.

There is a terrific noise that echoes both through my house and into the night. Wow! Who knew B&E was so noisy?

I examine the window. Whole and strong. Not even cracked.

I swing again, really hard this time.

POW! That noise again. The MagLight bounces off the glass. The glass is still intact.

I go in search of a rock. I stand back, throw the rock with all my might and main. I hit the door, but not the window. Sheesh! I retrieve the rock and try again. It hits the glass and bounces back.

I try again. This time it bounces off the glass and into the tree-well-where-I-will-not-follow.

The glass remains intact. I begin to wonder if double-pane windows are made of a special steel-reinforced glass.

I try the MagLight again. Over and Over, and the noise is horrific.

The glass doesn’t crack.

Do I have a signal on my cell? Yes, out in the street! Can I call a locksmith to make the 40-mile-round-trip-from-town-after-hours? No! The phone book is inside the house.

Maybe my neighbor has an idea. There is a light on, although they haven’t come to investigate the noise.

I go knock. Timidly, at first, then with the force of desperation. (See Paragraph Three.) After a long while “J” comes to the door. I explain my predicament, and he says he’ll get dressed and come help. (He is a really good neighbor to me.)

He takes a look at the lock and deadbolt on the front door. “Nobody’s going to get in there,” he declares. (It’s so nice to know I’m safe from burglars.)

To make this short(er), and to preserve my security, I’ll just say that “J” was able to get me into the house in a way that involved my Scary Room full of cobwebs and traps made of boxes, both empty and full. But I did get into the house in time to take care of the problem caused by my not observing the rule in Paragraph Three.

THANK YOU, “J”!!!!!

*Make sure the doorknob is locked when you test keys. That is my only explanation for not knowing one manufacturer key was defective after I tested them. I can’t believe I used the same key on the small ring time and time again in the months since I put them on my key ring, but evidently I chose one over the other identical key on every occasion.

10 thoughts on “Guest Post: A Life of Crime Doesn’t Suit Me

  1. Marsha, A very funny story indeed! As I mentioned in my email to you, I have the frequent opportunity to help people who lock keys in their car and enjoy helping them break into their cars. I’m glad you were able to get into your home.

    Btw, I realized that the title of the post did not show up, so I have corrected that. Sorry that your post had no title.

  2. Thanks for the comments, Ben, JA, and Brian. In retrospect, it is a very funny story. At the time, not so much. I have a hideout key now.

    I just noticed that somehow my original Paragraph Three became Paragraph Two as i edited. Oh well. Adjust.

    “J” is a good neighbor. Every time he sees me head out for church, he asks me to pray for him. He’s a lapsed Catholic, living with a lapsed Mormon. I assure him that I pray for everyone.

  3. Pingback: Twitted by marshaward

  4. Don’t you hate it when you:

    A) Ignore Life’s Most Important Motto: “Never Pass Up a Chance to Go” and
    B) Outsmart yourself in a quest for greater organizational brillance

    BTDT too sister!!

  5. Marsha, I could tell you some of my horrible “paragraph 3” stories, but that would definitely be Too Much Information. Just suffice to say you are not the only one out there on the lookout for bathrooms.

  6. Brian, thank you for putting the title on the post.

    CiCi, thanks for your comment. Yeah, life’s too complicated sometimes.

  7. Yes, it sure looks easy in the movies. My neighbors have keys to our house—several neighbors in case one isn’t home. I also hid one under a rock at another neighbor’s house. Works well.

  8. Geoff B., thanks for not sharing!

    Annegb, hiding a key in the neighbor’s yard is an excellent idea. As my mobile home park is seasonal, the trading keys bit doesn’t work so well, but I think I’ll give a set to “J” as well as finding a nice rock somewhere nearby.

Comments are closed.