We have become the semi-regular target of ding dong ditch.
And it's driving Jerry crazy.
Apparently it has been going on almost nightly for weeks, but because I work late, I'm never around to be bothered by it. Jerry, however, is ready to kill.
I didn't really believe him until it happened a few days ago when I had the night off and we were attempting to put together the strollers. All I heard was a muted mumble of laughter on the porch, a light pummel of multiple fists on the door and more laughter as the culprits retreated.
I don't know who got worked up more: Jerry or Toby.
"Ugh, I'm gonna KILL THOSE BASTARDS!" Jerry said, leaping to his feet, a set of rubber stroller wheels in hand, as Toby started barking frantically with fur raised at the base of the door.
Before I even understood what had happened, Jerry yelled, "C'MON TOBY!" and picked up the dog, stroller wheels still in hand, and ran outside to investigate.
I just sat there on the floor, still struggling with the stroller, shaking my head. Boys.
"THEY KNOCKED OVER OUR GARBAGE CANS!" Jerry yelled a few minutes later when he finally returned to the house. "I chased them into the alley, but then I lost 'em."
"And what exactly were you going to do?" I asked, trying not to laugh. "Chuck the stroller wheels at their heads? Maybe let Toby bite at their ankles?"
"It's every damn night with those bastards. ... I'm gonna sit outside and wait on the porch the next time you have to work. It's always before 9 because they probably have a curfew."
At that point, I couldn't contain my laughter. "And when they show up, will you waive your fists in the air screaming, 'You menacing kids!'"
"Frankly mister, I have very little sympathy for you because I know you pulled the same crap when you were their age," I said. "Don't you remember what it's like to be 15 and living in a small town with nothing to do? ... And if you think for one second that we're the only house they're hitting, you're crazy. But if you give them a reaction, they'll be even more inclined to show up. It'll become more fun for them. Just let it go."
"They still did it with the porch lights on and everything. And we were standing right inside the door!"
"WOULD YOU LISTEN TO YOURSELF OLD MAN?!"
"I'm just saying."
But as much as we joke around about it, I know he's completely obsessing over some sort of retribution. In fact, he even brought it up during his radio show the next morning, asking listeners for suggestions.
One caller had the brilliant idea of waiting on the porch in the dark with a giant supersoaker filled with red dye. Then Jerry would jump out and attack -- their clothes apparently.
Inviting more retribution.
Later that night, Jerry even mentioned it to our neighbor when he brought his dogs over to our yard for a play date. Dave works at a corrections facility, so he knows a lot about crime, charges and penalties.
"If they smash your pumpkins, it's a second-degree vandalism charge," he said.
I tried not to laugh as the two of them got all worked up about the possibility that our temporary $4 porch gourds might become untimely pavement pulp before they would rot on their own a few weeks later.
Oh the horror.
And what if we accidentally give those undeserving pests a piece of Halloween candy when the time comes? Gasp!
But I didn't dare bring that up. The mere thought would make Jerry's head explode.
Because apparently I'm the only one with the rational thinking capacity to realize that as soon as the weather gets colder and the bikes are put away for the winter, the prank knocking will come to an inevitable end.
I just have to deal with Jerry's neurosis until then.