For me Friday the thirteenth is more than just some superstitious nonsense. It was on Friday, October 13, 2000 that I experienced one of the scariest moments of my life. My new wife and I, along with another couple, had rented a cabin in the mountains. We had planned on spending the weekend touring North Georgia, looking at leaves, buying apple products, and generally relaxing and enjoying all the things that make autumn so pleasant.
Our relaxing weekend came to an abrupt end when someone knocked on our door around 9:00 pm, Friday night. I had always been a very trusting individual, I grew up in house without looks on the doors, so I didn’t think anything of opening the door to see who was outside. The individual standing outside the door was wearing a Halloween mask, exactly like the one the villains from the “Scream” movies wear. I thought this was a bit weird, but then he asked if we had received our complementary bottle of champagne. I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about, and asked him to repeat himself, he again asked if we had received our complementary champagne. This all seemed very surreal, and I began to tell him we didn’t know anything about a complementary bottle of champagne, when he pulled a semi-automatic pistol from behind his back. Shoving the weapon in my face he ordered everyone on the floor. After collecting our wallets and purses, he made the four of us move into the bathroom.
At this point the guy starts trying to be funny, yelling at us from the rest of the cabin while he looks for things he can take. He had left the front door open when he entered, and a cat had come in behind him. He asked if the cat was our, and when we said no he asked if we wanted him to shoot it. Again we said no. Not knowing what his intentions were with us, the last thing we wanted was for him to start shooting at things.
He sticks his head in the bathroom where we are confined a couple of times during his search to check on us. At one point acting like he’s doing us a favor, he asked if we had anything that we wanted him to take, so we could claim it on insurance. It’s not something you think about often, but I can’t think of anything that I would want taken from me at gunpoint.
Finally, just before he left he hands us a piece of paper and a pen and tells everyone to write down their PIN numbers for ATM cards. It didn’t occur to me to make up a number, and even if it had, the risk of him deciding to take a hostage with him to verify we had given the right codes was too high. I didn’t want him shooting me or my wife because we didn’t want him to have access to our cash.
As he leaves, he tells us not to come out of the bathroom for 10 minutes, or he’d shoot us. We didn’t wait that long after we heard his car drive off. The cabin we were in didn’t have a phone, and there was no cell phone service, so we had to drive to the main house in order to call the police.
We called the police, they came, conducted their investigation, took our statements, and left. This was apparently the biggest crime this county had seen in 20 years. If it had been up to them the guy who robbed us would still be on the loose.
Fortunatley, though, this criminal was dumb enough to rob someone else and attempt his get away on a bicycle. When the police searched his house, or more precisely his parent’s house, because he was living with them, in a their gated community, they found our licenses, credit cards, and other personal information that he took during the robbery. This evidence was enough to make him accept a plea deal for 20 years in prison. He’s in jail now and will be for quite a while. Even though he’s locked away, I still relive the feelings of that night whenever there’s an unexpected knock on my door.
Beacuse of that night, Friday the 13th will forever be etched into my psyche.