The Day the Sheriff’s Department Opened My Package

I get about a dozen threats a year. Sometimes it is someone telling me they will kill me and sometimes it’s someone saying their going to hurt me. Sometimes, it’s because Zeke and Nadine are an interracial couple and sometimes, it’s because I am vocal about not being a fan of President Trump. I try to keep my physical address off the internet, but I do occasionally find it in cyberspace. I had to stop using my newsletter service because they kept putting my address in the newsletter.

So, March 25th, USPS Informed Delivery told me I had one package arriving today from PetMeds. Which I was expecting. I had two other packages out, but not set to arrive until Friday or Saturday.

I go out and get the mail. Inside are two packages. Both addressed to me. The second package is maybe 6 inches by 6 inches and it’s from some person I’ve never heard of in California and it has some weight to it. And it’s addressed to me or current resident. Well that’s weird. If it was advertisements it wouldn’t be heavy. I am suspicious of the package. I enter the number from the box into USPS tracking to see what it can tell me and it says invalid tracking number. Weirder. And weirder.

Now, the debate begins. Do I open the package or not? I mean, I’m not expecting anything from this person. What if someone unhinged has gotten my address and it’s a bomb or a body part or some disease infested dead rodent like what Ace got from her admirer in Butchered Dreams. Twenty minutes of texts with my best friend and conversation with my mom and it’s decided we will get the advice of the sheriff’s department. I call the non-emergency number. I explain and tell the dispatcher “I’m sure this is nothing and is ridiculous, but I’d just feel better if someone gave me some advice on this package.” She tells me it isn’t crazy or ridiculous and she has already dispatched Fire as well as a sheriff’s deputy. Oh, well, okay.

A deputy shows up. We discuss the package. He visually examines the package and we discuss how stupid I’m going to feel when it turns out to be nothing and he tells me “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and better safe than sorry.” Then he sniffed the package and told me to stand back and he opened it.

It was hair color I had ordered off Amazon. Apparently, it was a 3rd party seller and the tracking number they gave me was incorrect as were the expected shipping dates. I do in fact feel really stupid and I hope the sheriff’s have a good laugh about it. I spent a day trying to decide if I overreacted or not. I discuss it with my niece, who gets a good laugh, and my mom some more and my best friend some more and my friend who is a detective. The detective assured me I didn’t. If it was his wife or daughter he would hope they would do the same thing.

He ended the conversation with “The one time you decide it’s nothing, it will turn out to be something and you may not live to regret it.” Interesting. He knows that a “supposed” mobster has threatened “to get me” because of the title of a book I didn’t publish and a movie he hasn’t put out. Maybe I did overreact, maybe I didn’t. The deputy who checked it out was nonplussed by it being hair color I had indeed ordered and told me not to feel stupid, he would have been leery of opening it as well.

All I can say, is that at least the sheriff’s department had my back. They didn’t treat me like I was crazy or like it was me being paranoid, which I sort of am. I research so much crime that it’s hard not to see boogeymen in the shadows or under the flaps of unexpected packages from people I don’t know. Nadine’s world crossed over into mine.

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