Funny | Writings

The “White Shirt” Incident

Last Monday night I was suffering from a headache and insomnia, and so, while everybody else was sleeping, I was in the living room intermittently reading and watching TV. Presently I heard a banging sound coming from outside, indicating that our gate had not been properly shut. A light breeze was causing one metal door to hit the other. Dressed in shorts and socks, I padded outside and secured the gate.

In a little apartment behind our house, but within site of the gate, live two young ladies–sisters–from another town who are here studying in the university. While they stay in the apartment, they help Itacyara with the housework. The window was dark, and all appeared normal.
Back inside, I was just about to turn off the light and make another attempt at sleep, when the phone rang. Wondering who would be calling me at this hour, I picked up the receiver. It was a collect call. Here in Brazil, they do not identify who is calling you before they begin charging, so I hung up before the musical introduction stopped playing. Almost immediately the phone rang again. Again it was collect. Again I hung up. The third time it rang it was not collect. The voice on the other end was of a man from our church.

“Pastor André” he said. “The girls just called me. They say there is a prowler on your property. Be careful!”

I thanked him and hung up. Heart beating wildly, I quickly turned on all the outside lights. Then I slowly opened the door and walked out.

Nobody was there. I searched all the places where someone could hide, and found nothing. The gate was as closed, just as I had left it minutes earlier.

I called out to the girls to see if they were ok. Slowly they emerged from their apartment, obviously shaken. Both were physically trembling, one was in tears.

“It was terrible, Pastor André!” they exclaimed. “We looked out our window, and there was a man at the gate, wearing a white shirt.”

“It might have been me.” I said. “I was just out a few minutes ago shutting the gate.”
At this point my wife, who had come out to see what the fuss was about, piped up helpfully.

“And you probably didn’t think anybody could be THAT white, which is why you assumed he was wearing a white t-shirt.”

I get it. I’m white. No need to rub it in.


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