Had a little excitement in the dark
I am at work today (24 hour shift). A little while ago I stepped outside to smoke a cigarette (Yes, yes, I know, Paramedics are supposed to know better...). We share our parking lot with a car repair shop. Our building goes back further than his, so from our side door we have a view of a wooded lot about 25 yards away that overlooks a river. It's after dark...
So I'm standing there under our little awning wondering when all this rain is going to turn to snow, and how many more cars are going to drift off the roadway before I get to go home in the morning.
My attention is drawn to something out of place by the woodline about five feet behind the car repair shop. The lighting is quite poor there, with a little orange lighting giving it that 'not quite pitch black' look. There appears to be something out of place. A thick vertical shape about three feet high, then another shadowy something about two or three feet above that. So I stare in an attempt to make out what I'm seeing. Cardboard box? Car headlights reflecting through the woods from the highway?
Remember the ending of "Harry and the Hendersons" when Harry goes off into the woods, then his family starts to follow him and suddenly you realize they have been standing there the whole time, and their camouflage is excellent?
The things I'm watching suddenly move in unison and a man shape walks briskly out of sight. Holy underwear! There was a dude giving me the staredown, trying his best to be a tree, standing out in the pouring rain! Dang! I reach up to my shoulder mike and advise dispatch that I have a prowler. When I unkey, she is toning us out for an unresponsive, so she didn't hear my transmission. I'm back inside now, locking up, so I repeat my transmission as my partner and I move to the medic.
Found out later that a Deputy came and spotted someone between the garage and the woodline, but they ran across the street, behind the laundromat, got in a car, and took off. By the time he got back to his car to give chase, they were out of sight.
So, my situational awareness is definitely going to be buzzing for awhile. I am kicking myself for not seeing the guy as soon as I walked out there, but he blended quite well, and I'm sure he was rock still, since any movement would have been obvious.
I have alerted the other shifts to be on the lookout. Since he was parked behind the laundromat, I think he was back there with a purpose. Definitely not using nature's urinal. He could have been looking to get into the car shop, our storage shack, our building, our cars, or to mess with our big Diesel tank and pump. If it hadn't been raining, I might have been doing a walkaround, and may have stumbled into him. Yikes!