"Beware, beware, beware of the Naked Man."
- Randy Newman
Dateline: Denver, Colorado
My boyfriend Rob moved to Denver in November of 1986. Being that we were in love and could no longer bear to be apart, it was either that or getting me to move to California, and I wasn't about to do that.
You see, prior to his move, Rob lived in Hollywood. It's nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds. While "the strip" is chock full o'glamour, it's only one block wide. The rest of the town is a cesspool of tenement buildings and drug-fueled crime.
Overly tolerant person that he is, Rob had lived in one of those tenement buildings. He didn't mind, though. He spent as much time away from home as he could, and since his rent was relatively cheap in Los Angeles, it enabled him to save up a lot of money.
I, on the other hand, was living quite comfortably in a funky little apartment in a very quiet part of Denver. My place was close enough to downtown, but tucked back in an idyllic little side street off of Broadway where the most exciting thing to happen was the occasional passing of a freight train.
After the chaos of Los Angeles and the oppressive creepiness of Wholly-weird, Rob was truly grateful to be living cozily in the sleepy Mile High City.
That year, we spent Christmas day at the home of my parents. It was very ordinary. A nice get-together, an exchange of gifts, and then, family gatherings being what they are, a hearty "thank-God-that's-over-for-another-year" sigh in the car on the way home. Nothing unusual.
As this was our first holiday season as a couple, we looked forward to spending the rest of the evening by ourselves.
Life, being the side-splittingly funny bitch she can be, had other plans for us…
We snuggled on our tiny second-hand couch, looked at our presents, watched TV until our eyelids started to droop, and finally decided to settle our brains for a long winter's nap.
We went to bed around 1:30 a.m.
At some time shortly after 2:00 a.m., I began to struggle up through weighty layers of sleep. Though still very groggy, I found myself aware that something was wrong. Terribly wrong.
But fight though I might, I couldn't overcome my desire to drift back to sleep. In the hopes of resolving whatever was troubling me without having to expend too much effort, I rolled over toward my boyfriend and began to whine, "Something's wrohhhhng… Huhhhneeeeee!!! Something's wrohhhhhhng!!!"
[…roll, roll…punch, poke, prod…]
When I finally stirred him from his slumber, I heard him say, "What is it?"
"I don't know," I whined, (c'mon, kids, you know the words "Something's wrong!!!"
I felt his hand on my face.
Then his hand went away.
Then his hand returned.
Then he said something that one rarely hears "in real life." It's something that's been said in sitcoms more than once, I've no doubt, but it was something I'd never expected to hear from him on that Christmas night so many years ago:
"There's someone ELSE in bed with us!!!"
My brain completely seized up on me, the cerebral equivalent of vapor lock. All I could do was whimper "ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod…"
Rob was the first to overcome the initial shock of the situation and form a plan of action. He got to his knees and reached over me, grabbed the head of the intruder, shook it and shouted, "WHO ARE YOU??? WHO ARE YOU?!!!"
He got no response.
At this point, he struck upon a thought which he felt might make this insane situation be somehow more easy to explain. Oddly enough, it was this:
"Wait! Let me get up and turn on the light, and see if it's someone we know!"
This was not a time to argue, so I abandoned the thought of debating this decision and opted to cower under the covers while he fumbled around in the dark, donned his long underwear and tip-toed to the light switch.
To this day, however, I still insist that we wouldn't have felt any better about the situation, even if we had known who had invited themselves to join us in our bed unannounced.
CLICK! The bedroom light went on, flooding the room with 60 watts of pupil-piercing glare. For a moment, Rob squinted in pain until his eyes adjusted to the light. Then he cautiously bent down to see if he could identify our unwanted guest.
When he realized it was indeed a stranger in our bed, he quickly stood up, his face a mask of sheer panic, and in a harsh, tooth-clenched whisper began a rapid-fire chant: "GET UP! GET UP! WE DON'T KNOW HIM!!!" And, as if the words wouldn't be enough to spur me to get up, he also flailed his hands wildly in an upward lifting motion.
I rapidly crawled to the corner of the bed farthest from our new bunkmate, taking the quilt with me as I went. (I hope, dear reader, that you can appreciate it is no small feat to crawl across a king-size waterbed.)
Never before had I been so painfully aware of sleeping "au naturale". I hurriedly wrapped myself in the blanket and my boyfriend and I made a hasty retreat from the bedroom.
In what must have borne a striking resemblance to Lucille Ball's finer moments as "Lucy," we found ourselves panicking and hopping from foot to foot, hoarsely whispering "WHAT DO WE DO? WHAT DO WE DO?!?"
As the fog of sleep and initial shock of the situation began to fade, I found myself more capable of coherent thought. "Okay. First things first. We need to call the police." My boyfriend reached for the telephone. "No," I said. "Not from our apartment! We need to be as quiet as we possibly can in here. If he's crazy enough to get in bed with us, who knows what he'll do if we wake him up!"
Being that the intruder was male, we decided that my boyfriend would be left with the unsavory task of keeping watch over Rip Van Weirdo while I went to the apartment of our landlady to use her telephone.
Without a thought for the current climate, I dashed out the door. Bear in mind that this freakish scenario took place on the night after Christmas in Denver, Colorado, some time around 2 a.m. The temperature that night was a balmy 20° F.
I tore up the stairs to the landlady's apartment, an icy wind whirling up under the quilt, and pounded on the door.
"Toni! Toni!" I shouted.
For what seemed like an eternity, there was no activity in her darkened apartment. "Oh dear god," I thought to myself, "What if she doesn't come to the door?!?"
Finally, I saw a light go on inside the apartment. Toni stumbled toward the door as she tied the sash of her bathrobe. She approached the window of the door and squinted through the gap in the curtains at me with an expression that could be loosely translated to read: "What in Sam Hill's goin' on?!?"
It was then that I realized she didn't have her glasses on. From the look of it, I wasn't sure she'd be able to recognize me through that squint, so I tried to better my chances of getting her to let me in by confirming who in the hell I was.
"Toni, it's ME!" I said, "LINDA! I have to use your phone!!! Ya gotta let me in!!!"
I was hopping from foot to foot -- this time, not due to panic, but because of the unspeakable cold on my bare feet. It was a challenge just to not scream each time the exposed soles of my feet touched the ground.
And then… to my horror… Toni walked away from the door!
"Oh god. That's it. I'm screwed." I thought. "I can't get her to open the door, and there isn't another soul around for miles who'll let me in at this time of night to use their phone."
Fortunately, she returned to the door a few moments later, this time, wearing her glasses.
When she recognized my face, she immediately let me into her apartment.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"There's a man in our bed and we don't know who he is!!!" I explained. "I need to call the cops!"
At first, she looked quizzically shocked, but then she flashed the biggest grin at me that I'd ever seen; eyes almost closed, nose all crinkled up… "Ohhhh, my gohhhhd!" she giggled.
She pointed me toward the phone and I hurriedly made my call.
"Yes? Hello? I live at [blah, blah, blah] and there is a man in my bed and I don't know who he is!!! What? NO, I've never seen him before!!! Yes, that's right. He's there right now. My boyfriend is still in the apartment and I'll be there when you arrive. How long? Just a few minutes? Okay. Thank you!!!"
As I finished my call, Toni came back into the room carrying a pair of slippers. "Here," she said, "you can wear these to get you back to your apartment." Although they were about 4 sizes too small for me, I was eternally grateful to her for the loan. I felt like Cinderella's large-footed sisters when I tried to cram my feet into them. I thanked Toni and hobbled back to my apartment.
Upon entering, I noticed something I hadn't before. From the door of the apartment, and leading toward the bedroom, there was an unfamiliar trail of clothing, beginning with sneakers and jeans in the kitchen, a shirt in the living room, and ending, just before the bedroom door, with a pair of zebra print bikini briefs.
It wasn't until then that I realized that our guest was not only uninvited, but also stark naked.
I found Rob nervously peeking through the bedroom door at the prone figure in our bed.
"What's he been doing?" I asked.
"Nothing. He's sound asleep." Rob replied.
At that moment, I caught a glimpse of my bong out of the corner of my eye and in dazed horror realized that there were cops rushing to our apartment and would arrive any second. I also realized that our landlady would likely be paying a visit to get a peek at all the commotion.
When Rob moved in, we never paid a pet deposit for his cat, Fresno, so we didn't want Toni to find him wandering about.
The next few minutes were a blur of activity. Grab the bong. The bag of pot. The tray of seeds and stems. The cat. "Hurry, hurry, hurry!!! Hide all this shit!" "Where?" "Christ, I don't know, but hide it!!!"
Whew. Breathless, we'd stashed everything we could find that we felt should be stowed from prying eyes, and it was a good thing we did, because no sooner than we'd finished, Toni showed up at the door to investigate. She tiptoed into the apartment and peeked into the bedroom. She then gave Rob the same astounded grin she'd given me when I'd first told her about our visitor.
Within moments, the police arrived. "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" went the knock on the door. "POLICE!"
I ran to the door and opened it to find not one, not two, but perhaps ten cops waiting outside, some of whom were noticeably bemused.
The policeman closest to the door asked me if I'd called for help and what was going on. I explained the situation to him and asked him to come in. As he entered, he shone his flashlight in Rob's face. "That him?" he asked. "NO! That's my boyfriend!!!"
Rob ushered him into the bedroom while I paced nervously in the kitchen.
I wasn't there to see it, but Rob has told me that when he took the policeman into the bedroom, they found the intruder sprawled out, spread-eagle in the bed. The guy really knew how to make himself feel at home!
Several other policemen entered the apartment and were glancing around. I overheard one of them make a comment about all the empty beer cans on the coffee table. I couldn't help but wonder if the evidence of recent imbibing made them think we'd made this all up in our minds. But as they gravitated toward the bedroom and found the first officer shouting at the man in the bed, I'm sure they realized we weren't joking.
Although the police were able to roust the man enough to garner responses from him, the guy was more than a tad incoherent.
"Hey! HEY! Wake up! Do you know where you are?"
"Do you have any right to be here? Did anyone allow you in?"
"…because of the way that I am…"
"All right. Get up and get your clothes on. Guys, let's get him out of here."
One of the officers went through the apartment and gathered up the intruder's clothing. He hesitated slightly at the end of the trail. Gesturing toward the zebra print briefs, he looked at Rob and me and asked, rather sheepishly, "Are those yours?" "UNH-UNH!!!" we replied adamantly. He picked them up with his baton and went into the bedroom.
After the police got the man into his clothing, they hustled him out of our apartment. Assured that we were safe, Toni followed the group of officers outside.
Once the hubbub had died down, Rob and I sat at the kitchen table helping the remaining police officer complete an incident report. At one point, Fresno wandered out from the bathroom where we'd hidden him from our landlady. As he sauntered past the policeman, the cop looked down at him and dryly remarked, "He's not an attack cat, is he?"
That gave us a good laugh, which we sorely needed after the hectic pandemonium of the evening.
The following day, I was contacted by a reporter at The Rocky Mountain News. He politely asked me a few questions regarding the incident and thanked me for my time, explaining that the story would appear in the paper sometime in the next few days.
We bought a copy of the paper for posterity when the article was published. An aged photocopy of the article appears above this story.
A day later, our story was featured at the end of a local newscast in the "humorous story of the day" slot. There sat Bob Palmer, a Denver newscaster I'd grown up watching for so many years, getting a giggle out of that freakish evening we'd endured! I felt as though a trusted grandparent was laughing at me after watching me fall off the roof.
But, what the heck, even I could see the humor in it. I just wasn't ready to laugh about it at that point.
After all, Rob and I hadn't even had the nerve to return to sleeping in the bed at that point. We'd decided we'd get more rest if we slept on the floor in the living room -- at least until we could get over our collective case of heebie-jeebies from the event.
New Year's Eve
Well, time marches ever onward and life, she do go on…
A week after "Captain Nakey" paid us a visit, we found ourselves back at my parents' home for New Year's Eve.
We'd decided in advance to not share our little adventure with my folks because my father was always very strict on locking doors (we hadn't locked ours that fateful night) and he was also a "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" type, and we didn't want to prompt him to get on his soapbox and deliver a second amendment speech.
So it amused us to no end when, at one point, my mother said the following:
"You know, you kids have got to be really careful. I heard about this couple who live on your street, and they had a naked guy get in bed with them!"
After a bit of squirming and nudging each other with our elbows, we told her that indeed was something to be aware of and that we'd be sure to lock our doors.
At the first opportunity, we excused ourselves from the room and had a quick discussion. "Well, what do you think? Should we tell her?" "Hmm… I'm not sure. I don't want my Mom to worry about us, but she sure would get a kick out of this. Okay. Why not?"
We called Mom out to the garage under the pretense of joining us to have a cigarette. We did this so we could tell her out of earshot from my father.
I suppose I should explain why it was necessary to adjourn to the garage to smoke. My parents were goofballs. Even though they lived in a bitter cold climate, and even though both of them were smokers, they refused to smoke indoors, even in the dead of winter.
When Mom came out to join us, we told her, "You know that story you told us about - the one about the couple living on our street?" "Yes." she said. "Well… That was us."
Her reaction was one of hysterical laughter. When she composed herself, she asked us a question that would be asked by many who would later hear our story: "What did you do?!?" I replied, "Got the hell outta the BED! What would you do?!?"
Rob and I were always glad we told her that night. I think it really struck her funny.
One Year Later
Christmas the following year found Rob and me living in West Los Angeles on a very busy thoroughfare. That night, we had more than a few good laughs about how far we'd come since the bizarre Christmas before.
We turned off the lights and went to bed comfortable in the fact that the odds were slim to none that we'd be experiencing a repeat of the events of that evening a year earlier.
The next day, however, when Rob went to leave the house, he began a frantic snipe hunt around our apartment. When I noticed him anxiously picking up bits of wrapping paper yet to find their way to the trash can, couch cushions and the like, I asked him, "What's wrong?" "I can't find my car keys," he said.
Well, it turned out that his entire set of keys were outside, dangling in the lock of the front door to our apartment, right where he'd left them the night before.
I'm not saying I believe in God, but I do think that something or someone managed to keep those keys hidden from miscreants that night.
Since then, we double-, triple-, and quadruple-check the door locks...at least on the night of December 25.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
About The Author:
Linda Dobbins has been writing bizarre-but-true
autobiographical tales since 2006.
She now lives in Northern California,
where she is grateful to only see snow
on distant mountains and Christmas cards.
Since the time this story took place,
She has not encountered any burglars,
naked or otherwise. She has, however,
• battled a vehicle fire
• resurrected an expired goldfish
• had the strangest father/daughter telephone conversation in history
and will be publishing other freakish tales... as time permits.