It involved the SWAT team and frogmen searches in the lake. Here’s how it all began.
We pulled into the RV Resort in League City, Texas, (review to follow after we leave) following a long drive from Robertsdale, Alabama. It was dark and Mike had to search for our spot, which, of course, was not well marked. Mike got Margie (our RV) backed in and parked. He started with the hookups, and a lady from a neighboring fifth wheel started chatting with him. After the introductions, she whispered, “Watch that kid next to you. He’s a crack head or meth head or something.”
We surveyed the park in the daylight the next day. We met the ‘kid’ in question, but our neighbor turned out to be a grown man in his early 30s. He worked in the pipeline business locally and had recently bought his travel trailer. His conversation was rational and cohesive, so we thought the lady might have been exaggerating or simply gossiping. Over the next two weeks, he was fairly quiet, but he waved when we were out and was friendly.
I exited the RV a few days later to take Lexie for her morning constitution at sunrise, and the gentleman from next door was near the pet area nervously pacing beside the surrounding RVs. He was fidgety and took off behind the travel trailers near the lake as he heard me approach. After a few moments, he strolled back through the pet walk and did a little startled jump as he passed Lexie and me.
“Oh, wow, she’s a really big dog,” he commented, but was wide-eyed and fearful. He had seen Lexie several times over the last two weeks, so I thought it was strange he was suddenly scared of her. He walked to his trailer at a fast clip mumbling to himself. I walked Lexie along the side of the lake in front of our RV and our neighbor’s travel trailer. Our neighbor was furtively glancing out his door at me and would quickly hide when I glanced his way. He finally shut the door as Lexie and I headed back to our RV.
At noon, there was a desperate knock on the motorhome door. Mike answered it. Our neighbor was in an agitated state. “Man, can you please come out for a sec?”
Mike went outside to talk to him. Our neighbor was animated, swaying on his feet, and using wide hand gestures. He started the story, “Last night the SWAT team was out here and they had my trailer surrounded.”
“Really?” Mike asked. “Wow, I didn’t hear ’em. How in the world did I miss the excitement?”
“They were swarmed all around and were laying on the ground with their guns pointed at me. I only woke up to see them because someone was drilling the outside of my RV under my bed. When I came out to see who it was, they were all out here. The cop van was parked over by the pull-through lot and there were frogmen in waders searching the lake.”
“Did you ask them why they were here?”
“No. I was terrified. I went back inside. A few minutes later the cop cars left with sirens and lights. I went back outside and.” His conversation ended as one of League City’s officers drove up in his patrol car.
Our neighbor shook the policeman’s hand and said, “Thanks, Officer. You got here really fast. I gotta know what was going on last night and why SWAT was after me.”
The patrolman asked him to elaborate. The neighbor explained his encounter and the cop listened intently.
When he got to the part of the story he left off with Mike, the cop interrupted and said, “Sir, we did not have any calls out here last night. Not a patrol car and definitely not SWAT.”
“Officer, I saw them. When I came outside after all the cops left, there were still men out wading in the lake. They saw me looking at them, then they started watching the man in the giant hamburger suit walk by.”
At the mention of the hamburger man, the cop’s demeanor changed. “Sir, the police were not here last night.”
“I know it sounds like I’ve been smoking crack,” the neighbor said. He was making full eye contact and was sober as a judge.
“Have you been smoking crack? Or taking meth?” The cop asked the neighbor.
“No, man. Nothing like that. I haven’t taken anything.” Our neighbor’s eyes starting filling with tears.
At that point in the conversation, Mike bowed out and came back inside. The policeman walked with our neighbor along the lake and grounds continuing their conversation. Our neighbor then went inside his trailer and the cop returned to his patrol car. Mike flagged the officer down and asked him to come inside our RV so the neighbor would not overhear our conversation. I told the officer about the gentleman’s strange behavior that morning.
The officer commented, “I think he might be coming down off a pretty good high. He’s not a danger to himself or others at this point, so there isn’t really anything I can do. If you notice something disturbing, please call 911 and we’ll come back out.”
There were no strange incidents that afternoon, but things escalated when darkness hit. Mike was running an errand, and I could hear our neighbor pacing around his travel trailer talking loudly to himself.
When Mike got home a few moments later, the neighbor gestured, “Come see them, I’ll show you. You can see them clearly now.” He reached out for Mike’s arm, and I had my phone ready to dial 911. Mike walked the few steps to the lake. The neighbor pointed and whispered, “See? They’re right there. The frog guys are in the lake.” The lake was calm and the streetlights were reflecting off the undisturbed surface.
“I know it sounds like I’m crazy,” he told Mike. “I swear they are out there.”
“Maybe you should get some sleep and try to relax a bit,” Mike said. “If I hear or see anything strange while you’re resting, I’ll call the police. We’re neighbors, we’ll watch out for each other.” Mike shook his hand and our neighbor went inside his trailer.
We listened for the man next door over the next couple of hours, obviously now concerned about his mental health. Blue lights started flashing through the windows around midnight. Mike went outside and the officer was in the process of putting our neighbor in the patrol car with his hands cuffed in front of him. Mike inquired about the gentleman’s welfare.
“He’s having some sort of mental breakdown and we’re taking him to be evaluated. He’s not hurt, though, and neither was anyone else.”
Our neighbor has not returned and we haven’t had any updates. I can’t help but wonder his whereabouts and feel concerned about his welfare. Up until the hallucination incident, he was very pleasant and friendly. He was so sincere relaying what he was seeing, but it has been quiet since his departure.
We are careful going out in the dark–we don’t want to disturb SWAT, the frogmen, or run across a dangerous man in a hamburger suit.
What type of memorable characters have crossed your path lately?
With love, Dawn
UPDATE: Friends of our neighbor came to remove his travel trailer to storage. He did have a relapse of his mental illness. His meds were unavailable to him, which caused it to worsen with hallucinations and altered sense of reality. His friends thanked Mike for the calm way in which he handled the situation with encouragement and patience. We were thankful our neighbor was in a safe place and getting treated.
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