It was late, close to midnight and I was alone at home. I was quietly reading when the front door suddenly swung open and a man entered. I froze. He looked dishevelled and confused, and perhaps he was only drunk, but what did I know? He could be an axe murderer. I wanted him out. Now. But I didn’t know how.
“Please leave”, I said.
He looked in my general direction, and started back towards the door. Propelled forward by adrenaline and relief I shut and locked it behind him.
My whole body went limp and I slid down the wall onto the floor. But moments later my brain forced me to acknowledge a scratching noise coming from the door. I looked over and saw, to my horror, that a thin instrument, the size of a nail file, appeared to have been inserted through the gap at the bottom of the door.
He was trying to get back in.
The expression sheer terror does not come close to what I was feeling. I was verging on hysteria, which in retrospect was probably a little unnecessary; judging by the modestly sized tool, my life was probably not in immediate danger.
I had to call the police. But in order to reach the phone I had to pass the door. As I crept towards it I could see the instrument moving, and very odd sounds were coming from the other side. In my very over-active imagination I could see the ever widening gap, as he literally sawed his way into my home.
The police was very helpful, and someone stayed on the phone with me until a car arrived. Only minutes later the calm voice on the phone told me to relax, two officers were now outside and they had him.
“He is well-known in the area”, they said, and I shuddered.
Not long after the police knocked on the door, and as I went to open it I noticed that the “tool” was still there.
It was a shoelace.
The poor man (who was known to the police as a harmless drunk) had got caught in the door as I forced it shut, and had been trying to free himself until he eventually gave up, just as the police arrived, and simply removed the lace from the shoe.