"Who can that be?" asked the husband, not getting up from his desk.
I scrambled up from mine and down the stairs. I hoped it wasn't another salesperson from the carpet cleaning or bug zapping service. I also didn't want to get down there and find someone clutching slick campaign material to give me. I doubt it was religious people. They rarely show up around dinner time. Aw, gee. I hoped it wasn't anyone we knew. The husband and I bought hot dogs at the Farmers Market for dinner. There was only enough for the mama and us.
Our front door was open. I saw a young man on the other side of the security gate. "Hello," I called, as I walked down the last few steps.
"Hello," he said, pressing his face into the gate. I love that security gate. I can see the people on the other side of it, but they can't see me. I'm just a voice behind it.
"What do you want?"
He stepped back quickly. "I couldn't tell where you were."
I laughed. I almost opened the door. Less gruffly, I asked again, "What do you want?"
"I'm not selling anything."
"Okay. What do you want?"
"Uhm, my name is Danny. I live down the street," he said, pointing to the north. I didn't recognize him from any of the houses on my block.
"This is going to sound odd, but I need an ingredient." I finally noticed an empty glass jar in his hand. "I'm cooking a special meal for my mom's birthday and I ran out of an ingredient."
He paused. "What do you need?" I asked.
"Would you happen to have some vodka or gin?"
I paused. Do I really want to give someone I don't know some liqour? "Sorry. Can't help you."
Upstairs, the husband asked, "What did he want?"
After repeating the tale, the husband asked, "Why can't he go down to the liquor store?"
We heard our next door neighbor saying, "Sorry, we don't have any."
"I've never heard of a neighbor asking for an ingredient," said the husband.
"I've had neighbors do that, but I knew them."
"What's he going to make anyway? A martini?"
I wonder if the kid ever did get his jar filled with vodka or gin.