My sister loves to send me words to the wise. You know, those e-mails you get full of household hints and home remedies. If they sound plausible I might try some of them. (I’m really going to give that vinegar wash on the fresh berries a try. Hate it when the strawberries get moldy within a day or two.)
I also save those lists for two other purposes. I never know when something novel like this might make a good detail in a novel. And I never know when I might draw a blank when it’s my turn to post.
So here are some tips I gleaned from several such just-looking-out-for-my-sister e-mails. Mind you, none of this is a personal recommendation. Just food for thought or grist for the mill.
10 THINGS A BURGLAR WON’T TELL YOU:
1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.
3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.
4. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house.. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway.
5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.
6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address.
7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it’s an invitation.
8. I always knock first. If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.) If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.
9. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.
10. Keep a can of wasp and hornet spray near your door or bed. It’s more effective than mace or pepper spray. The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet—you want to disable me at a distance—a lot more accurately. Go for the eyes. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until he gets medical attention. After he gets law enforcement attention.
THE LAST GOOD MAN is the first book in the 2-book series—does 2 make a series?—and that’s available now.