I was woken up before my alarm this morning by my dog barking her head off at the front door. I heard the door close and someone start shushing her urgently, whispering "It's okay, good dog! It's okay."

I live alone, and wasn't expecting anyone at 2:45am.

She barked a bit more, but calmed down at the person's shushing, so I initially thought my boyfriend Andrew, who lives in Boston, was surprising me with a visit. I settled back in and waited for him to come say hi. Then I realized it made no sense for him to arrive here two days before I was due to visit Boston, especially in the middle of the night. I briefly considered the fact that my downstairs neighbor was coming up to tell me about an emergency, but the whispering had sounded like a man and whoever it was was taking their sweet time in the kitchen. I grabbed my phone and turned on the flashlight, creeped to the door of my open bedroom, and heard it before my eyes registered what I was seeing.

"Ohh. Sh*!, sorry," said the man standing in my kitchen. He wore a baseball cap, jeans and a fleece, and was holding a jar of roasted red peppers in front of an open cabinet.

"You need to leave," I said in my stern voice, the one I developed from years of working with kids. I was holding Ilya by her collar and stood in the doorway of my bedroom, shining the blinding light from my phone straight at him, interrogation-style. "Who are you? You can't be here right now."

He raised his hands, looked briefly around and slowly walked toward the exit, located directly in front of me. His head was bowed and he mumbeld, "I'm just.. here... to.." He looked into the living room but I pointed to the door. "It's okay," I said. "You just need to leave. Open that door and go out of it."

He slowly turned the door knob, stepped down the stairs, and let the door swing shut. I let Ilya go and locked the knob and deadlock behind him. Heart pumping, I dialed 911 and relayed the story to dispatch. He stayed on the phone with me, asking questions about the interaction, what the man looked like, whether he got away with any possessions of mine.

"He took a small jar of roasted red peppers," I uttered, just then realizing the absurdity of the matter. "A jar... of peppers? And nothing else?" "Yeah. He was just here for a minute before I asked him to leave."

Mere minutes later and still on the phone, I peered out the front window to see three cruisers pulled over and a handful of police holding a man's hands behind his back.

"Whoa, I think they got him!" I said excitedly to my dispatch friend. "Does that look like the same man?" he said. He was wearing the same outfit, same build, same hat. It was three floors down and across the street, but it looked like my visitor and I told my dispatch operator as much.

With the man in custody, a couple of officers came up to talk to me and look around. As soon as we walked back into the kitchen, we saw a pair of men's shoes on the floor where he'd been standing when I caught him red-pepper-handed. "Well that makes sense," Officer John said. "Our guy's missing his shoes." He left to deliver this story's version of the glass slippers to the perp and I stayed upstairs talking to Officer John. They figured he must be under the influence of something, having left his shoes behind and judging by how his interrogation was going.

Our second officer came back a few minutes later with a slight smirk on his face. "So... it looks like we have a Bachelor Pad parody here," he said. "His friends are staying in a house a couple doors down and he's super drunk, sounds like he thought this was their house." My jaw dropped before I started laughing. "And the fact that a dog appeared overnight didn't phase him?" Apparently not. My officers later confirmed he was returned safely to his *actual* home a few doors down, and now I'm tempted to catch them for a hilarious follow-up interview.

I'll also be double checking all of the locks before I go to bed from here on out, as my dog clearly serves only as a noisy welcome committee.

Needless to say, I'm pretty awake this morning. How about you?


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