You may remember my "Brush With the Law" from last summer---
That was more than enough crime for me, I thought. The universe disagreed, however. I'd been working on a manuscript that involved Villains and Criminals (as well as Good Guys, of course) and my Friendly Muse must have decided that I needed some first hand experience to make my story more convincing.
Thus: One night this past summer during my travels, I was rudely awakened from a deep sleep at 2 am by the glare of an intruder's flashlight shining into my eyes. Without thinking, and still half asleep, I leapt out of bed, yelling fiercely at the top of my voice, and chased the (equally startled) intruder out the back door. I called 911. By the time the police arrived, I had calmed down, and was able to observe---with great interest, actually---the procedures they followed. I made mental notes, and when daylight arrived, took photos for further back-up reference material.
The police pointed out to me how the intruder had first tried to pry off the screen to a guest room window.
When that didn't work, the intruder cut the screen---and climbed in through the window.
Next the police dusted black fingerprint powder all over doorknobs, windowsills, and door jambs. They also took my fingerprints---a first for me. I was impressed by how thoroughly the police---4 of them---worked for several hours, gathering clues.
But then my Friendly Muse must have remembered how I and my work tend to find the humor in any situation. The police had finished and gone, but the security guard for place was still bumbling around, trying to be helpful. Since the intruder had come in through a lock-less patio gate, I asked the security guard if he could provide the gate with a lock. He trundled off happily. After an absence of half an hour, he returned. He didn't have any locks that would fit the gate, he said. But he did have a solution. He had prepared this twig specially, he said. He jammed the twig into the latch. That will keep you safe, he said.
Needless to say, when daylight came, I took these photos, packed up my belongings, thanked my Muse, and left. I had enough research---and enough humor. I didn't need any more.