We have a “phantom” in the neighborhood. He is seven years old. I will not use his real name or picture for that reason, but instead, call him the “Phantom” because he is phantom-like. The Phantom has a habit of appearing in places where he should not appear—like other people’s houses. He has discovered doggie-doors, and he is still small enough to get through the larger ones. He will eventually outgrow that, but until then, the Phantom abides.
My first encounter with the Phantom’s propensity for “illegal” entry was my own chicken coop. One day I was cleaning out the coop, and the Phantom, ninja-like, appeared beside me. (I’m serious. This kid is destined for the SEALs or Special Forces; he is that good!) I become aware of the Phantom when he leaned into my peripheral vision and calmly stated, “I have been inside there.” The door I was using to clean the coop was too high for the Phantom to even reach the latch, much less climb in. The only other way inside the raised coop was up the little ramp the chickens use and through their little “doggie-door” (“chickie-door” in this case). “In there,” by the way, was littered with chicken poop.
Next, I hear the Phantom was caught in a neighbor’s house. Of course, he entered through their doggie-door. They came home and found him comfortably ensconced in their pantry munching on a bag of chips. That was not the first time nor the last.
His latest “illegal” entry tops them all. He has a friend down the street. The Phantom went in through—yes—the doggie-door early one Saturday morning. On the way to wake his buddy, he stops off in the kitchen to make himself a bowl of cereal. Finished breakfast, he proceeds to wake his bud, and the two of them check on his sleeping mother who is blissfully unaware all this is going on. The two boys were leaning over the bed looking at her. She says, in her partial wakefulness, she was only vaguely aware someone was in the room. That was confirmed when the Phantom asks, “Ya think she’s dead?”
Now fully awake, Mom loudly demands they GET OUT!
On the way out the door, the Phantom has the last word. He turns back and says, “You know you are out of milk?”