“When I was around 10, we lived way out in the country on a busy state route. People lost or with car trouble would stop by us often. My dad worked a swing shift, so if it was dark out, mom wouldn’t answer the door. One night, a guy that was walking with a big pack on his back knocked. For some reason, mom didn’t feel threatened and answered the door. He asked for some water and held up an old milk jug. She agreed and invited him in. She made him a cup of coffee, filled his jug, gave him a lunch meat sandwich, and packed him something for the road. The whole time he was sitting at our table, he was hugging that pack. He wouldn’t sit it down for a second. Odd.
He was super nice though and was asking me stuff like what my favorite subject in school was, all friendly and innocent. When he was done eating, my mom asked him where he was heading and he was vague. She offered to drive him to the next town over, which was about seven miles up the road.
He accepted with gratitude. The truck ride into town was pretty quiet, and he was still clutching that giant bag. He wouldn’t put it in the back. We dropped him off, he thanked us, and he told me to try my hardest in school because it’s important. Off he went.
We were watching the news about four months later, and there’s that same guy’s mugshot. He had killed a guy in another state and made his way through Ohio (where we were) and was arrested two states over. He had been camping in the woods when the cops found him. I can’t remember the whole story because this was almost 40 years ago, but he claimed it was self-defense. He was a perfect gentleman to my mom and me, but my mother was one awful judge of character. Anything could have happened to us that night. And who lets a strange man into their home at night when they have a 10-year-old daughter?”