A love story about my town, in the form of a true real life mystery
Originally tweeted here, April 2021
I have actually been meaning to recount this real life mystery for a while. I could not make it up.
Picture the scene. 2-3 years ago, early spring, I go to visit @averixus in his city 200 miles away from my home. Part of the plan is to visit Elsie (he/they) in his nearby city.
While we are somewhere between the train station and Elsie's house I get a mysterious and concerning text message from my GP surgery back in Wales.
I don't want you to get the wrong idea here. The surgery is not technologically advanced or anything. After several months of formal complaints about accessibility they acquired a mobile phone that sits in reception, just for me. If they put it in the wrong place it loses signal.
So anyway, I get a text. It's confusing and concerning. It says that they've gotten word that there's an ambulance attending my flat but apparently no one is home. They ask if I am okay.
"I am in [city 200 miles away]," I reply. "Can you tell me anything about what's going on?"
I text my support worker, who is feeding my cat Rosa at least once a day while I am away. "Are you alright? The GP surgery just sent me a text saying there's an ambulance attending my flat, and you're the only person I can think of who would be there!"
She replies to say that she is fine, and she will head over to my flat ASAP to feed Rosa and find out what's up.
When she arrives, the flat is totally normal. It's locked up, there's no one there, nothing is out of place...
The cat has already been fed.
This is all very alarming, and I am a bit alarmed, but there is only so much I can do while I am 200 miles away, so I am also somehow quite Zen about it.
The walls are thin, maybe someone heard yelling or banging nearby and thought it was me? But then how did the cat get fed?
While Avery and I are picking up a few bits for Elsie I also text my friend Alice down the road, because she has spare keys to my house, so she is the only other person who could legally be there. She had no reason to go there, so unsurprisingly she is at home and totally fine, and now joining us in being concerned and mystified.
Between the shops and Elsie's house I get more texts.
The first to come through is from the GP surgery, who've managed to find out that the police had a call from the postman that morning. He'd seen my front door wide open, a man unconscious on the floor, and called 999.
I am starting to feel a little bit anxious at this point, because it sounds like some dude broke into my flat.
But also, let's go over the story so far. This is what Avery and I are able to piece together based on information available.
A guy breaks into my flat, passes out with the door wide open. The postman sees him, calls 999, but then LEAVES THE SCENE before paramedics arrive. The burglar wakes up, FEEDS THE CAT?? Then scarpers, leaving the door open. Paramedics arrive, find nothing, and call my GP surgery.
What kind of incredibly dedicated postman sees someone unconscious on the floor and responsibly calls 999 but also doesn't stick around to make sure the man is okay? "He might be dying but I have letters to post, sorry!!"
Also, why did the burglar leave without taking anything?
I then get another text from my support worker, who tried asking around in some nearby shops to find out more. I am forever grateful, because she totally doesn't have to do this, but she is curious, knows I can't phone neighbours, and can tell that I am troubled by it all.
She tells me the hairdresser opposite had seen paramedics arrive, and had been visited by the police (omg paramedics AND police?), who'd had reports that a WOMAN (not a man?) had been found lying in the hallway of my open flat, but by the time paramedics arrived they'd vanished.
The postman or the police not knowing if the unconscious person is a man or a woman kiiiind of makes sense, because the usual resident of the flat (me) is nonbinary.
However, I am not there. I am in [city 200 miles away].
My support worker did try to phone the police to find out what's going on, but I'm the only one the police are allowed speak to about this and I can't phone them due to disability. 🙄 (They could speak to my support worker with my consent, but I can't phone to provide it.)
We arrive at Elsie's house, and we've been keeping him updated. Elsie is an advocate by trade, so he basically opens the door and says "shall I just phone the police and pretend to be you to find out what happened?"
Me and Avery get comfy on the sofa, and Elsie makes the call.
The woman at the police station listens to the whole story and is as confused as we are. She goes to speak to the officers involved and gets back to us.
HERE WE GO. 👀
The postman turned up the day before and found the door open (not unusual) and left letters on the doormat.
He turned up the next day and the door was open again, but the letters he'd left the day before were still on the doormat (unusual). He was concerned, so he called the police. He reported MAIL on the floor in the hallway, and continued on his round.
You see what happened, right?
The police heard "MALE on the floor in the hallway" and sent some guys round, plus told paramedics, who arrived faster. Everyone found an open flat and no one in it.
The police then asked around in shops. They told the hairdresser they'd had reports of someone lying in the hallway of the open flat, and she assumed it was a woman.
It later transpired that she had seen the door of my flat open all day every day since I left for Avery's place, but had thought nothing of it, assuming I was leaving the door open 24/7 for my cat to come and go.
In early spring?? Who would do that!! Was she not concerned??
Elsie, on the phone to the police, asks, "my support worker said my cat had been fed, do you know anything about that?"
She has to go check with the police officers again. When she comes back:
"Basically, the cat was crying, and the officers are a bit soft, so... they fed her."
I love my town so much.*
My door clearly hadn't closed properly when I left for the train, the wind blew it open, my flat was wide open for days, but not only was I not burgled, the postman thoughtfully called the police, and the police fed my hungry cat before locking up.
* Except the hairdresser, who is clearly an alien posing as human in order to gather facts before a large-scale invasion.
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