Not In My Backyard

There are people who are supposed to be in my backyard. And then there are people who should not be there. By owning a resort on 45-acres of property with a sign on the main road directing traffic to it, I’m accustomed to keeping my eye on all who enter. Each time I spy a body, I ask myself, do they belong—i.e. are they registered guests? Are they visitors? Customers? Potential guests?

Or, are they trespassers?

We get our fair share of trespassers at Sandy Point Resort, particularly on hot summer days when the beach looks very inviting. Often I have neighbors call and ask if they or their kids can use our beach, and I explain that our facilities are for registered guests only. Mostly they understand—occasionally they are incredulous at my denial—and sometimes they don’t even bother to ask. They just show up with their beach towels.

Regardless, count “policing the property” one of many jobs of the resort owner.

I didn’t expect that to be part of my job in Tucson, however. But the other day I had a Halt-Who-Goes-There-Moment, and I’m still very uncomfortable about the whole thing and would appreciate some advice. Here’s what happened:

While working at my desk, which is located next to an enormous, blind-shaded picture window, I sensed movement—a body walking by. It was Friday around noon, so my first thought was that it was the pool lady. But I dismissed the idea because this was nowhere near the pool, or the gate she normally uses each Friday. So, I turned to the window and door behind me, and as the body rounded the corner I saw that it was no lady—pool or otherwise.

It was a very tall young man who was wearing nothing but green swim trunks and a pair of suede slippers. At a swift pace, he was moving toward the gate.

My instincts took over and I opened the door behind me, stepped outside and yelled, “Hey! What are you doing here?”

The green giant with wide-set eyes and close-cropped hair froze at the gate. “I heard a loud noise, ma’am—a bang—and I was just checking it out,” he said quickly. There was a hint of a southern accent.

“What?!” That made no sense to me. “Where?”

He reached across his tan, bare chest with his left arm and pointed to our guesthouse. “Right there,” he said.

I didn’t look in the direction he had pointed because my eyes already spied the red and yellow painted glass pipe and red Bic lighter in his right hand. I narrowed my eyes and seethed.

“Have you been smoking dope in my yard?”

“No, ma’am. No!” He cried. “I was over there in the abandoned house. He made a swirling motion.

“Right. Like I believe that,” I said with a scoff. “Listen to me, I know who you are.” And I called him by name.

“No! That’s not my name. That’s not me,” he said.

“Then what is your name?”

He gave me an alias—a name I’d never heard and frankly don’t remember. It didn’t matter to me. I knew who he was and am aware of his reputation. “Listen you,” I said, “get out of here right now and don’t come back. If I catch you here again, I’m calling the cops.”

“Yes, ma’am!” And then the half naked intruder on slipper-clad feet, fled into the desert. I exhaled with disgust, slammed the gate for effect and went back inside.

But it didn’t end there. Immediately I spotted him once again! He was in my backyard and dodging under the ramada of the guesthouse.

Now that really pissed me off. Not only did he lie to me about who he was, I had told him not to come back, and yet he was back in less than a minute. So, this time I went out a different door and yelled at him again.

“Hey! What did I say?”

He reached down and grabbed a dark blue shirt, pivoted and made his way back to the five-foot stucco wall near our pool equipment. As he scaled the wall, hurling his long limbs over the top, he called over his shoulder, “I’m sorry, Miss, I just needed to get my shit!”

Stunned, I stood there for a moment recalling the day I chased away a coyote from our yard who, moments earlier, had had my five-pound Chihuahua in its mouth, and it dawned on me that this time, he had called me “Miss” rather than “Ma’am.”

I went inside and called 9-1-1.

By the time the sheriff arrived, the stoner slipper-boy was, of course, long gone. I gave the sheriff his name and said he had denied that’s who he was. And since I’ve had virtually no prior interaction with this kid, I wasn’t 100% sure my identification was correct.

But then I checked Facebook, and I tell you, it was like looking at a mug shot.

Now I am 100% certain that I know who it was smoking in my yard and most likely, about to go for a swim. Also, our suspicions as to the responsible party for leaving a half a case of beer bottles and bottle tops littered on the grounds and just outside the gate before we returned from Wisconsin have been greatly narrowed.

I’m not sure what my next step will be or should be, but I’m open to opinion.

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