Woman tries fighting off burglar with lamp before realizing it’s her brother-in-law

Mary Duncan

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

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When I was in my twenties I lived in a small city and my apartment was robbed when I was out one evening.

I came home and my front door was open and my television was gone.

The burglar, or burglars, had come in through my (unfortunately) open kitchen window and walked out my front door with the TV.

I called the police but they didn’t do anything to help me.

In fact, they pretty much blamed and scolded me for leaving my window unlocked, suggesting I had deserved it.

Either way, I was terrified.

What if someone had broken into my apartment while I was home?

What if it happened when I was home alone with my daughter, or in the middle of the night when I would be woken up disoriented and defenseless?

I didn’t sleep well for months, and I still think about that time and get chills.

But that’s nothing compared to what happened to my friend Melanie.

Melanie lived alone in a small house that she rented in the same city where I had been robbed, but closer to downtown where the bars and restaurants are.

One night, to her horror, she was woken up by the sound of a crash in her living room and the sound of a man’s voice cursing and muttering.

Horrified, Melanie went into “fight” mode and ripped her lamp off of her nightstand and wielded it as a weapon as she quietly made her way down the hall and saw a large man’s figure in the darkness.

Without hesitating, Melanie rushed forward and started beating the man over the head with the lamp, screaming obscenities at him the whole time, trying to scare him off.

But it didn’t scare him off.

“Melanie, Melanie! It’s me, Greg!”

It took her a few moments to register who Greg was, and then she stopped beating him with the lamp.

Because Greg happened to be her brother-in-law.

After screaming at Greg that he had scared her to death, Melanie let him explain what he was doing at her house.

Apparently he’d gone out to one of the bars downtown with his friends and had too much to drink, so rather than driving home, he walked to Melanie’s house and used the key he knew she kept hidden under her doormat outside to let himself in in the hopes of crashing on the couch.

All would have been well had Greg not bumped into a table, ironically jostling the lamp that had woken Melanie.

After a few minutes of being livid and giving him the third degree for scaring her so badly, Melanie started laughing as she had to offer Greg ice for his eye that had begun to swell.

In the end, what are you going to do but laugh at a situation like that?

What would you have done?

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I write about relationships and parenting, life, society, people, and sometimes also beer.

Connecticut State
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