“The DEMCO Man” by Reva Lachica Moore

I had just walked into the kitchen when I heard the doorbell ring. I turned my head toward the door and through the glass, I saw a man dressed in khaki overalls standing there. I could see him but he couldn’t see me. It is not unusual to see a person outside our Denham Springs door since we make online orders all the time. Often though, we would hear the doorbell when the Fed EX or UPS person would deliver. They would put the package by the door, ring the doorbell and leave.

But this man did not leave. After he rang the doorbell, he just stood there with his hand on the door knob. I thought it was strange that he did not leave. I also knew not to open the door to people I do not know, but I did. I was not thinking. With so much violence going on nowadays, nobody is safe anymore, even in your own home. And so I made the mistake of opening the door slightly. The creaking sound startled the man; he almost jumped and quickly walked away. He must have been expecting no one at home since there was no car in the garage. My husband JR went to the store, and my car was parked on the side yard and out of view.

“Can I help you?” I asked. At this time he was almost out of the garage.

“Ma’am, I’m from Demco (Demco is our local electric company). I’ve just checked your neighbor’s air conditioner and since I’m already here, I’m going to check your air conditioner also. I need to check the readings. I will be but just a few minutes.”

He was holding a clipboard and behind him, a tool box lay on the driveway. He had parked his white pickup closer to the street; I could only see the hood. I didn’t know what to say except, “Ahhhh…I guess so.” Soon, I saw him walk to the back of our house.

Suddenly, something horrifying gripped me. What if this man is not from Demco? Why was he startled when he saw me? I’ve never heard of the local electric company sending a service person to check air conditioners. I also knew that they no longer send people to read the meter. The readings automatically registers at Demco. I have heard in the local TV news about people dismantling air conditioners to steal copper wires.

Immediately, I called Demco to find out if they had sent a serviceman to check our air conditioner. Unfortunately, I had to wait for over 10 minutes because twenty other customers were on their caller queue. The longer I waited, the more terrified I got. The man was still out there by the air conditioner. I went to the back bedroom to see if I could see him, but was too terrified to lift the blinds. Ten minutes later, the man left.

Finally, I was talking to someone at Demco. I asked if they had sent a serviceman to check our air conditioner. I was asked to describe the man and his pickup truck, and if I saw a decal on the side of it. After my description of the man’s work uniform, Demco told me there was no work order for our house. The man was not wearing the right Demco uniform, and that Demco does not send service people to check air conditioners.

Right there and then, I froze in fear. I realized I was probably face to face with a very evil person. What did he do out there? I turned on the air conditioner to see if it is still working. It worked. I ran outside to check it but did not really know what to check for. Still panicking, I called my husband to come home immediately. A few months back, I heard in our local news about horrific home invasions and murders. Just maybe, that person had been checking out our house and with no visible cars, he came to our door. Gone are those days when our cul-de-sac was a safe place; we did not lock our doors during the daytime.

I remembered an incident two years ago. Two men in police uniforms knocked on our door at 10:00 p.m. I had just gotten back home from my Philippines trip two hours earlier. I did not open the door at that time. I talked to the men through a closed door. One of them said that they received a call from one of our neighbors about seeing a man running from our shed. The following day, we asked our neighbors if they were the ones who called the police. None of them called the cops. I am wondering now whether those two uniformed men were not cops because one was wearing a khaki uniform and the other one wore a navy uniform (khaki uniform was the local police and the navy uniform is the state police). Why are they working together? One of the men stood outside the garage as if looking at the street while the other cop was by the kitchen door talking to me. Mary Grace was at home alone for a whole month when I was in the Philippines, and my husband was in West Virginia. And those men came at our door on the night I had just come back home. During all these scary happenings, I praise and thank God for His protection always.

Psalms 34: 7… The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Written 2014)