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January 5, 2012 / Maleesha Kovnesky

We don’t recommend knife fights

It was a Tuesday in 2003.  I was on the second day of my life in my new, blue, split level house…the ink on the closing paperwork was still drying.  I loved the new house.  It was shaped a little funky, two living areas, stairs everywhere, but very open.  Lots of windows to let the warm Colorado sun shine in.  I had just stepped out of the shower, and soon I would be heading north on Platte, on my way to work.  I was already looking forward to the weekend, so I could do all of those things that a person who just bought a house can do…unpack, put blinds on the windows, buy a new toothbrush holder.  I skipped downstairs to make some toast.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a shadow at the front door.  The front door, which was half-window, was the only glass in the house that had a curtain… a yellow thin cloth hanging from a cheap white curtain rod.  It wasn’t thin enough to totally obscure the man standing at the front door.

I froze, calculating the possibilities.  I was pretty new in town, and no one from work knew where I lived yet.  It was around 8 AM on a Tuesday, too early for something to get delivered.  Then I realized that whoever was standing there, was just standing.  No knocking, no ringing the doorbell.  Who the hell was standing at my door?

I slowly backed up the stairs, and suddenly the doorbell rang.  I had the feeling that if I could see the shadow of him through the flimsy curtain, he could see me too.  The doorbell rang again after a few seconds.

I went to the door and pulled back the curtain.  An Asian man stood on my porch, smoking a cigarette.

“Can I help you?” I asked, without opening the door (because only stupid blonde women in horror movies actually open the door).

“I need you to let me in,” he said in a heavily accented voice.

“Why? I asked.  The obvious question.

“Gonna s&#k and f&$k,” he said.  The hair on the back of my neck stood up in fear.  I’m not the type to scream and run in frantic circles, so I said the first thing that came to my mind…a stern “You need to get off my porch right now.”  He didn’t budge, instead he looked me in the eyes and took a long drag of his cigarette.  I dropped the curtain shut and slowly backed away, trying to think of a plan.  He rang the doorbell…not just once, but over and over.  BING BING BING BING BING

I darted up the stairs to grab my phone and my KA-BAR .  The doorbell kept ringing.  I came back down the stairs, still thinking, thinking.  The man was still standing on my porch.  I yelled “Go AWAY!” and then I turned to go down the stairs to the basement.  But I doubled back quickly, just in time to see him dashing off the porch.  I knew he was on the way to the back of the house to try to keep me in sight.  As he rounded the house, I dashed into the kitchen and slid behind the island (so convenient!) and I dialed 9-1-1.  The emergency dispatcher answered immediately.  “Someone’s trying to break into my house,” I said.  I peeked around the corner.  Sure enough, he was on the back deck…something glinted in the sun.  He was holding a knife.  The door into the house from the was one big window.

The green dot is me hiding behind the kitchen island. The red dot is the perp...everyone knows that red is the color of perps everywhere.

I gave the dispatcher my address.  “Do you have anything you can use as a weapon,” she asked me…she sounded afraid for me.  I thought of all the calls she might have taken in her career that ended badly.

“I’ve got a knife,” I said.

“Is it a big knife?”  She really did ask that.

“It’s a big knife,” I assured her.  She recommended that I find a place to hide until the police arrived, but I had to stay behind the island.  If I made a break for anywhere else in the house, the Bad Guy with the Knife would notice.  I peeked around the corner again.  He was furiously tinkering with the door lock.  It was surely only moments until he busted in.  I mentally pictured how I would hold the knife, how I would keep him from grabbing it, which door I would run to if I had a chance to escape.

BAM BAM BAM!  There was a serious knock at the door.  I was still on with the dispatcher.  She told me it was the police…I wasn’t sure whether or not to leave my hiding spot just yet or not.  But I looked to the back door, and no one was there.  I cautiously went to the front door and pulled back the curtain.  Two of Colorado Springs’ finest were on my porch.  I opened the door.

To summarize the story, it took three minutes for the po-po to get there.  One of the officers stayed with me, while the other went around the house looking for the Asian man.  Even though he was on the back deck seconds before they arrived, the police could find no sign of him.  They promised they would do regular patrols in the area for a couple of days.  They remarked how they hadn’t had a 9-1-1 call in this neighborhood for fifteen years.  One of the officers asked if I owned a gun.

“I don’t,” I said.

“Do you know how to use a gun?” he asked.

“Yes,” I told him.  “I had this in my hand the whole time though,” I said, and I pulled the KA-BAR out of my pants (heh).

“Oh man,” he said.  “You gotta get a gun.  They’re a whole lot easier than fighting someone off with a knife.”

“Yeah, we don’t recommend knife fights,” the other officer agreed.

***

I couldn’t sleep at my (just purchased) home for days.  My boss and his wife let me have their spare bedroom until I got curtains and replaced the windowed door with something more solid.  The following Saturday, a team of co-workers came over to help do some basic renovations, put wood blocks in all the sliding windows, and things like that.  Eventually I was able to sleep there, but there is nothing quite like the threat of violence to take the shine off of one’s new home.

Looking back, the guy must have been high.  If he wanted to get in, he need not bother trying to pop the lock with his weenie knife…he could have just broken the window and let himself in. I was prepared to fight, and since he was a little Asian dude, I think it would have been a good match.  Luckily for me, it didn’t come to that…but to this day, I still sleep with my KA-BAR tucked safely under my pillow.

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8 Comments

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  1. Stig / Jun 14 2012 4:41 pm

    I live in a safe neighbourhood but I still sleep with a KA-BAR in the nightstand and a live Armour Class arming sword by the bed. The KA-Bar is for little burglars and the historically constructed sword is for the big guys. Not knowing which I might face when things go bump in the night I reckon I’ll duel wield!

  2. bluesuit12 / Feb 5 2012 4:44 pm

    HO.LY. CRAP. What kind of stories don’t you have??

  3. David / Jan 6 2012 12:52 pm

    Now that’s a knife!

  4. Oregon Sunshine / Jan 5 2012 10:57 pm

    I was waiting for you to mention that you discovered your new house had been a brothel in the past. I had a much less scary experience like that when I lived in the seedy part of Anchorage years ago. Apparently my apartment building had been used as a brothel and all the military guys knew it. I was propositioned once as I came home with my young son in tow. I made it clear the the USAF guy that he’d best leave or his command would hear about it. Needless to say, he left.

    I’m sure I’d have handled the situation similar to the way you did. Only now, if I call 911, I have to remember to speak e-v-e-r s-o s-l-o-w-l-y as I speak WAY too fast for Southern brains to process the information given.

    Besides guns, large, loud, black dogs are good deterrents. Especially in Asian culture- they’re about the superstition equivalent of the Grimm.

    The brothel thing crossed my mind. What did the people who owned the house before me DO?

  5. Peter Parkour / Jan 5 2012 10:04 pm

    I was waiting for a funny translation correction due to the thick accent that would explain everything away. Wow, that’s just crazy spooky.

    It was very scary…lots of adrenaline that day.

  6. dvrobin / Jan 5 2012 9:50 pm

    Wow! That is a blast from the past for sure. I remember helping that weekend with the new door and everything. Scary situation for sure. I’m also realizing now that I’ve known you for almost 10 years now. Hard to believe!

    Yeah, we are old old friends, aren’t we? Thanks for your help that weekend, by the way.

  7. scotott / Jan 5 2012 8:18 pm

    Great story. CSPD ever catch anyone?

    No…to be honest I don’t think they ever tried.

  8. Katharine Coldiron / Jan 5 2012 8:15 pm

    Jeeee-zus. What hasn’t happened to you? That’s such an awful story.

    Also, if it had come to it, you would have OWNED that dude. I’m sure of it.

    Aw, thanks. I haven’t won the lottery…that can happen aaaaanytime now, please!!!

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