Lock Your Doors!

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

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A woman tries to persuade her new boyfriend to lock his apartment doors, but the boyfriend constantly ignores her advice until he encounters an unusual situation.

Lock Your Doors!

First Edition

By Hong, Seung Geel

© 2020 by Hong, Seung Geel

Edited by Lulu LaRue

All rights reserved

ISBN:  978-1-387-60407-4


The following story was inspired by true experiences, but the names of persons, organizations, and locations were changed to protect the privacy of everyone involved.  Therefore, any similarity between any of the names in this story to any known individual, whether living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Hong, Seung Geel


Emily opened her mailbox and immediately noticed the letter from Pater Grove Senior Apartments.  Her heart rate picked up speed as she opened the letter with her car key and began to read the rental acceptance letter:

“Dear Emily Ferguson:


We have received the result of your background check, and we are happy to inform you that your application has been approved.

Please meet us at 10:00 a.m. on 08-11-2020 to finalize the rental agreement and to set up the move-in date.

If you cannot keep this appointment, please contact us at 810-***-****.



Leah Samson”

Emily quickly contacted her two children so that they could help her to move into her new home.  She soon would be living in a 12-story, 176-unit senior citizens high-rise building.

1.Emily’s New Home

Emily’s two children Jennifer and Tom could not take time off from work to help her to move into her new home, and therefore they hired a two-man moving crew.  The moving crew arrived at 8:00 a.m. on the last day of August, which was on a Monday.

Emily moved into apartment 611, which was located on the south side of the hall on the sixth floor.  Because Emily had so few things, the moving crew managed to set up her bed and furniture within three hours, and they were out of the building and into their truck by 11:20 a.m.

The apartment was ideal.  It was roomy, quiet, and almost odor free.  Emily felt that she could not have gotten a better apartment, and she was grateful that things had worked out so well for her.

Emily quickly became acquainted with her new surroundings and neighbors, and she soon became close friends with two women and one man.  June was three years younger than Emily, and Rosie was fourteen years older.  As for Emily’s friend Roy, who lived in apartment 916 on the north side of the hall on the ninth floor, he was a timid soul who was four years older than Emily.

Before long, Emily was routinely going to the stores, to the bank, and to the restaurants with June and Rosie.  Every weekend Roy would take Emily to the movies.

Emily felt very comfortable in her new home, and she was quite content with her new life.

2.Roy the Fearless

Roy was a 67-year-old retiree who had moved into the building two years before Emily did.  He had retired from a private college approximately 300 miles away, where he taught calculus.

Roy’s physical health was considerably better than the average man his age.  He would walk to wherever he needed to go, and he would ride the bus or the cab if he needed to go anywhere that was beyond normal walking distance.

Hence, because of his excellent mobility, there was no need for Roy to own a vehicle.  If he should need to go to a place where the buses and cabs did not travel, he would gladly pay someone to provide the ride.  Roy believed that it was less expensive for him to pay for occasional private transportation than to own a vehicle, even if someone were to give him a good vehicle.

Interestingly, because of his good health and mobility, Roy refused to lock his apartment doors.  He felt strong enough to defend himself against anyone in the building, and he reasoned that he had nothing that was worth stealing.  His television was nine years old, and his old full-size couch was too heavy to steal.

Emily would constantly warn Roy to lock his apartment:

“Roy!  Lock your doors:  One of these days, someone’s liable to enter your apartment uninvited.  Since someone might enter your apartment when you’re SLEEPING, please lock your doors.  Lock them before something unpleasant happens. . . .”

In response, Roy would simply press his lips together and shrug his shoulders; and then he would produce a weak, tight-lipped smile before saying:

“Eh, I can take care of myself; I was in the Marines when I was young. . . .”

3.The Rooftop Incident

Three months after moving into her apartment, the relationship between Emily and Roy became more serious.  They began to spend much more time together.  They shopped together, they went to the bank together, they went to the restaurants more frequently, and they attended church every week.

Moreover, Emily and Roy would spend much time together in their apartments eating meals and watching television.  All the while Emily would warn Roy to lock his apartment doors, and she would tell him some of the things that she had heard from June and Rosie.

For example, June had narrated to Emily:

“There was a woman named Barbara who lived in apartment 209, which is on the second floor above the covered entrance walkway -- she moved away to Jaken Halls in Danonville three years ago.

Anyway, around 9:15 one Saturday morning, she entered her apartment just in time to see a teenage boy walking toward her apartment on the roof of the entrance walkway,  and he was only a foot or two feet away from the screen of her opened balcony door when she happened to walk into the apartment.

She was TERRIFIED at the sight of a complete stranger approaching her balcony door, but she managed to scream out, ‘What are you DOING here!  Get out of here!’

The boy immediately turned around and ran to the midway pillar where he quickly lowered himself down onto the covered concrete waste receptacle and jumped off onto the cement walkway.  He ran toward the houses across the road and was never seen again.

The police searched the neighborhood for the boy and questioned some of the residents, but they had no luck.

That’s why the waste receptacle is now near the door on the opposite side of the walkway; they moved it away from the midway pillar.”

After listening to the story, Roy smiled and remarked:

“Well, since I live on the ninth floor, I don’t think I need to worry about anyone climbing up to my balcony door, . . . but . . .  just to make you happy, I’ll start locking my balcony door, okay?”

Emily was not happy with Roy’s reaction to the story, nevertheless, she answered begrudgingly:

“M-m-m, . . . okay, . . . it’s a start. . . .”

4.Talk with Rosie

One day Emily and Rosie happened to be in the laundry room at the same time, and Rosie commented:

“Emily, . . . you and Roy seem to be spending a lot of time together:  June and I don’t SEE you much anymore, so you and Roy must have a lot in common.”

Emily thought for a moment and slowly replied:

“Yes, . . . we HAVE been spending a lot of time together lately. . . .

Maybe, . . . maybe it’s because we were both in the field of education:  Roy taught calculus at a private college, while I taught geometry at a public high school.”

As soon as Emily had stopped speaking, Rosie responded:

“Oh!  I didn’t know that!  Maybe that’s why Roy is so polite and easygoing.  He probably developed that demeanor for the sake of his profession.”

Emily agreed, but she wanted to share something that seemed important to her:

“Yes, Roy is very polite and easygoing, . . . but sometimes he says things that are puzzling to me. . . .”

Rosie interrupted Emily’s smooth flow of information by asking:

“Oh?  Such as? . . .”

Emily took a deep breath and resumed her speech:

“Well, for example:  Two weeks ago, we viewed one of the earlier episodes of ‘The Patty Duke Show’ on YouTube.  And afterward, Roy said that you and I could almost pass as SISTERS, just as the cousins Patty Lane and Cathy Lane could on ‘The Patty Duke Show.’

Of course, I felt INSULTED and HURT by his comment.  But I didn’t say anything, because I was too upset to speak calmly at the time, and now I don’t want to bring up the subject.  But next time, I might say something.

He has said several OTHER similar things that have upset me.”

Rosie displayed a look of confusion, and she asked:

“Why did his comment upset you?  What’s wrong with our looking like sisters?”

Emily nonchalantly answered:

“Because you’re 14 years OLDER than I am:  You’re old enough to be my MOTHER.”

Rosie chuckled and said:

“ Well, actually, I didn’t even get MARRIED until I was 19 years old, so . . .”

Before Rosie could finish speaking, Emily interrupted and said:

“Okay, okay, I know what you’re going to say, . . . but I’m sure you know what I mean:  Biologically, you could have had me when you were 14 years old.”

Rosie tried to calm Emily’s irritated state.  She said:

“Emily, . . . maybe, . . . maybe he didn’t mean to hurt your feelings:  Instead of suggesting that you looked old enough to be MY age, maybe he meant that I looked YOUNG enough to be YOUR age, which would have been a compliment to me.  If so, maybe you shouldn’t be so hard on him.

To me, it just sounds like he simply used an unfortunate choice of  words; such things happen.”

Emily had to agree:

“Yeah, you’re right:  I’m just overly sensitive about my age.  I now feel relieved that I DIDN’T  say anything at the time. . . .”

5.Uninvited Guest

About a week after the conversation in the laundry room, Emily and Roy decided to go grocery shopping, and they waited anxiously for their “Meals on Wheels” to arrive.

The two-man delivery crew arrived at 1:13 p.m., and both Emily and Roy had received their meals by 1:32 p.m.  They put their meals in their refrigerators and met on the first floor by the elevator.

The delivery crew would begin their deliveries on the 12th floor and work their way down to the first floor.  Therefore, since Roy and Emily lived on the ninth floor and the sixth floor respectively, Roy was sitting on a wooden bench waiting for Emily when she got off the elevator.  They went to Emily’s blue minivan and headed for Walmart, which was three miles away.

As they were shopping, Emily asked:

“I presume that you didn’t lock your doors, but I’d feel s-o-o-o much better if you’d start locking them, especially when you’re SLEEPING.

Could you please try to remember to lock your doors – if not for your OWN sake, for MY ease of mind?  Your safety is IMPORTANT to me.”

As usual, Roy was completely unconcerned about his own safety.  While displaying a sense of humor, he said:

“I know, I know, I’m a big dummy. . . .  One of these day’s I’ll start locking the doors.

I haven’t opened the balcony door lately, so at least THAT door is locked.”

Emily was not satisfied with Roy’s response, but she believed that he was sincere.

“I believe you.  I know you won’t let me down:  I know you’ll try. . . .”

They finished their shopping and stopped at McDonald’s Drive-Thru for an “Angus Deluxe.”  They would share the meal after they had put away their groceries.

When they arrived at the apartment building, they entered the elevator together and got off separately at the floor where they each needed to get off.  Emily got off first and went to her apartment to put away her groceries, and Roy continued his way up to the ninth floor.

Emily went through her routine of entering her apartment and putting away the groceries; but ROY, on the other hand, had to break from his routine.  When he entered his apartment, he saw a woman sitting at the table eating a dish of fruit cocktail, and it was obvious that she already had eaten his “Meals on Wheels” that was delivered a couple of hours ago.

Normally, Roy would happily have given the fruit cocktail to whomever wanted it because he didn’t like it anyway.  He would have gladly given the “Meals on Wheels” to anyone who was hungry.  But a stranger entering his home uninvited was disturbing.

He said:

“Ah, . . . apparently you’ve made a mistake:  You’re in the wrong apartment.”

In response, the woman innocently replied:

“No, I didn’t make a mistake; this is my apartment.  I moved in two weeks ago.”

Roy asked:

“What’s your apartment number?”

The woman answered:

“Apartment 1016.”

Roy explained:

“Well, this is 916.  You’re on the wrong floor:  You need to get back on the elevator and go up one more floor, okay?  Get back on the elevator and get off on floor ten.”

The woman picked up her purse and walked out of Roy’s apartment without saying another word.  It appeared to Roy that perhaps the woman was too embarrassed to apologize for her mistake.

6.Call to Emily

As soon as the woman had exited his apartment, Roy called Emily and narrated his experience.  He explained that the woman was a new tenant who had gotten off on the wrong floor, and she seemed confused as if she had a memory problem.

Emily laughed and asked:

“Well, did she do anything else besides eat your fruit cocktail and the ‘Meals on Wheels?’”

Roy hesitated for a moment and answered:

“No, everything looks okay:  The couch and the television look to be undisturbed.”

Emily commented:

“You got off LUCKY this time.  The next time, you may not BE so lucky.  So maybe you should take this incident as a LEARNING experience, okay?  Remember:  Lock your doors!

Oh!  By the way, if the woman lives on the tenth floor, her name is Gretta.  I just met her and learned that she suffers from dementia so she gets confused.  She does okay if the people around her are patient with her.  I don’t think you’ll have any more trouble with her.”

Roy replied:

“Yeah, I don’t think it’ll happen again.  If it does, I’ll just tell her to get back on the elevator and get off on the tenth floor.  I’m not afraid of her.”

In response, Emily expressed her feelings before she hung up the phone:

“Please try to remember to lock your doors:  I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, okay?  I CARE about you.”

As usual, Roy was not concerned about his own safety, and he said:

“Yeah, yeah, I hear you.  I’ll start locking my doors one of these days.  It won’t be long before I start locking my doors, okay? . . .”

7.The Turnaround

Just as Emily was putting away the last of her groceries, the phone rang, and it was ROY calling again, which was a pleasant surprise.  Roy had made up his mind to take Emily’s advice.  He said:

“Emily, I’m taking your advice:  From this moment on, I’ll keep my doors locked at all times, especially when I’m away.”

Emily was extremely happy to hear Roy’s decision, but she was confused.  So she asked:

“Well, Roy, . . . I’m so happy to HEAR that, but what caused you to make the turnaround so QUICKLY?”

Without hesitation, Roy answered slowly yet excitedly:

“Ah, . . . well, . . . I didn’t mind Gretta eating my fruit cocktail and my ‘Meals on Wheels,’ but I reached my breaking point when I went into the bathroom and saw that she had used my toilet and had not FLUSHED it! . . .”

Submitted: August 06, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Seung Geel Hong. All rights reserved.

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