The Wrong House  – A Pauline Niblick Misadventure

I am Mashie Niblick.  I am presently employed as the greenskeeper of the Hoity Toity Golf and Monopoly Club in the big city of Tracy.  I struck out the Monopoly part as they have suspended playing Monopoly due to rampant cheating, and high stakes gambling.  They are unsure what might take Monopoly’s place.  But these people are all rich.  They could fly to Atlantic City, New Jersey and play their own brand of Monopoly, or they could fly to Bari, Italy and drive down the Adriatic coast to Monopoli.  But this was all a Perils of Pauline misadventure when she did not need me, I am writing it in third person.  Until various people filled me in, I knew none of this was happening.  All I knew was that Pauline was going to a middle-class neighborhood to help a grandmother with her open-heart surgery recovery and rehab.  Then I got a call from Lt. Deviled Yeggs to say she would be late getting home, and I might have to cook supper.  Yep, Pauline and I were going to have another long talk, once she got home.  Worse yet, Baffy, our little girl, not five months old yet, was with her.

I will simply let the story unfold as I pieced it together:

Pauline was on her way to 79 Homeward Circle in a new subdivision of Tracy, on the Northeast side of town.  The patient was a middle-aged grandmother, Jamie Black.  Jamie had open-heart surgery.  She passed the physical tests necessary to go to an inpatient rehab center.  She passed all the tests at the rehab center to be released back home. But as the nurses and therapists arrived to do at-home therapy, she was not responding well.  She said there was too much pain, and she could not do most of the exercises.  Since the therapists determined that her mental state was the problem more than the physical, they called Dr. TNT Yeggs.  The Kinesiological Psychology department had never made house calls for good reason.  Since they were developing the discipline, they wanted to record everything that was appropriate to be recorded.  They had to prove that their techniques worked.

So, this was a first-ever house call.  To complicate things, Jamie Black’s daughter had been divorced, and she had a little girl, born one week prior to Baffy, our New Year First Baby, at T.R.U.S.T.  The little boy had newborn jaundice.  Pauline, although a professor at the university, was in a semi-private room, and Jamie, her daughter, and grandson came to the other bed in Pauline’s room to feed the baby during the day.  With Baffy being healthy, Pauline left the hospital with Baffy in her arms about the time Jamie’s family left with their little boy.

Pauline knew the family, but it required the navigation system to find their home.  She spoke the address into the system, and it started giving her directions.  She brought Baffy along so that the infants could socialize, well, as much as infants can socialize at roughly five months.

With a huge diaper bag in one hand and the baby carrier in the other, she approached the door to the house.  She rang the doorbell.  She was confused when a man answered through the closed door.  Jamie was a widow, but maybe the daughter had reconciled with her estranged husband or maybe the daughter already had a boyfriend.

Pauline said, “I am here for Jamie’s therapy, and I thought we could start with a good, all-over massage before we get down to business.”

Pauline set the baby carrier on the welcome mat so that she could shake the hand of whoever opened the door.

When the door opened, a man with rage in his eyes leveled a 38-caliber automatic pistol, aiming at her chest.  She saw a slight flinch in his hand, and Pauline’s instincts kicked in.  The diaper bag was on that shoulder; she jammed the diaper bag against the pistol and lifted the man’s arm.  As he fired, the diaper bag muffled the sound, but the bullet went through the bag into the door frame over their heads.  Pauline continued the motion, pulling the man off balance.  Pauline was smaller, but the man was caught off guard.  He was probably thinking, ‘She should be dead, not fighting back.’  Pauline quickly reached for the spot she had used before.  Rather than pretending to massage his shoulders and upper back, she pressed hard in the right spot, and he slumped to the floor, unconscious.

She dragged the man to his recliner.  With the man being dead weight, she leaned him against the cushions.  She quickly ran to the car and got some rope out of the trunk.  I keep rope there when we have tournaments at the golf club, to separate the patrons from the players.  Pauline had the man secured by the time he started to wake up.

She ignored his obscenities that he spoke while she dialed a number she rarely used.

In Lt. Deviled Yeggs’ office, the office phone rang.  It was Gisele, “Lt. Yeggs, you have a call on line two.  It is Agent Bad-A**.  I think she is up to her tricks again.”

Deviled asked after the click, “Who have you rendered unconscious this time?  Are you out making deliveries again?”

Pauline purred, “If you listen carefully, you can hear him cussing in the background.  I am afraid that Baffy will wake up.  I seem to have made a house call to the wrong house.  I was supposed to go to 79 Homeward Circle to a home owned by Jamie Black.  This place looks like one guy lives here.”

The homeowner yelled, “You idiot broad, this is 79 Homewood Circle and my name is Jimmy Block.  Homeward Circle is two blocks over!”

Pauline said, “Oh, dear, that explains it.  I need to call Jamie and explain that I am running late while you run over here.  This is a job for you, kinda.”

Deviled replied, “I work homicide, Pauline.  Are there any dead bodies?  With you being Agent Bad-A**, we never know what we may find.”

Pauline huffed, “I could explain, but after you get here.  Mr. Jimmy Block…  This is too funny!  Jamie Black on Homeward and Jimmy Block on Homewood?!  Who would have ever thought that was possible?  But Mr. Block tried to kill me.  He fired his 38-caliber, but I redirected the shot.  I rendered him unconscious long enough to tie him up.  And you know that I have a disarming personality.  I am holding his pistol until you get here.  If he breaks free from the ropes, he could attack and get his precious pistol back.  This is a chance for your team to prevent a murder.”

Deviled said, “Okay, since this might get complicated, I will bring reinforcements, but you have to explain what happened.”

Pauline said, “Please, Deviled, I do not know how long the ropes will hold this guy, and … oh dear, Baffy just woke up.”

Deviled yelled, “Don’t hang up!” But he was talking to a dead phone line.  Deviled got Jim Wednesday, Poached Yeggs, and Guy Weiss, who had been on office duty, and they all drove to 79 Homewood Circle.  Deviled was scratching his head over the nearly identical street names.  At least the developer could have used different numbers.  These people were going to get the other person’s mail forever.

When they arrived, the front door was open, and they heard so much profanity coming from the living room that they knew they were in the right place.

Jimmy Block screamed, “Great, the cops!  Arrest this woman for home invasion!  I heard her say something about giving Jimmy a massage before she got down to business, so I decided to prevent that from happening.

Pauline giggled, “Now that I hear what he thought he heard, it is kind of funny.”

Deviled rolled his eyes, “Mr. Block, someone says they are going to give you a massage and that sounds like a home invasion?”

Jimmy screamed, “But that’s what she did!  She went all ninja on me.  Threw me against the wall, and the next thing I know, she has me tied up.  She even walked all over the house, casing the joint.”

Poached said, “No, she was making sure you were alone.  There might be other people here with guns.”

Jimmy cursed a bit.  The only part that I will repeat is “Can’t you see I live alone?!  Get me out of these ropes!  She is the menace that needs to be arrested!”

Poached asked, “Did you use your Dea…”

Pauline snapped, “Po!  No talking about death.  I have never killed anyone with that technique.  It just puts them to sleep.”

Deviled grumbled, “Just like my bear hugs never put anyone to sleep, but Blaise does the same thing, and his girlfriend is out like a lightbulb.”

Pauline said, “I assure you it is safe.  Ask this Wise Guy here.”

Guy Weiss turned red.  “Okay, I was inappropriate in what I said to you.  Sleeping for a little while in the delivery truck was probably called for, but after the other officers left, you didn’t have to come back and take all my clothes off and tape a note to my face, giving me directions to the delivery company’s distribution center.  At least you packed my clothing in a box in the back of the truck.  But that was uncalled for.”

Pauline laughed, “I thought it was funny.”

Poached laughed.

Pauline said, “Watch it, Po!  You’re next and from what I hear, you will show more.”

Both Guy and Poached turned red.  Jimmy Block was red with anger.

“Get me outta these ropes!  She’s the criminal!  She illegally entered my house!”

Deviled Yeggs said, “Sir, be quiet.  You voluntarily opened the door with the intent to cause bodily harm to a woman who is my wife’s assistant at T.R.U.S.T.”

Pauline laughed, “That is so rich, Dev!  She invented the field of study.  I am the first to get my doctorate in the subject.  She calls me the assistant head of the department because all others are graduate assistants or professors from other departments.”

Jimmy asked, “This crazy lady is a doctor?  Does she dispense medicines?”

Poached said, “Not that kind of doctor, but death grips, sure!”

Pauline whined, “Please, Po, do not call my special thing a death grip.  I have never killed anyone with it!”

Jim Wednesday finally said something constructive.  “The pistol is registered to Jimmy Block, but the address is different.  If he has been living here more than 90 days, he’s in violation.”

Jimmy groaned, but Jim Wednesday was not finished, “Since there was a discharge of the firearm, I will have to get the crime scene guys over here and dig out the bullet.  We might screw it up if we did that.  I am printing out a receipt for the weapon.  Jimmy does not have a license for concealed carry.  Mr. Block, we will return the weapon to you when we have evidence that the weapon has not been used in a crime.”

Jimmy growled, “You can’t do that!  I paid good money for that pistol!”

Deviled said, “You should have never fired the weapon toward another human being, sir.  We have the right under those circumstances to rule out this weapon as a weapon involved in a crime.  You might have it back in a couple of weeks.  It depends on whether the crime scene lab is backed up or not.  If we have a few murders or shootouts at a robbery, then it may be a month.  You might want to pray for people to calm down, as you should have before you fired a weapon at the wrong woman carrying both a baby and a diaper bag.”

Jimmy retorted, “That diaper bag coulda had a bomb!”

Jim Wednesday suggested, “Pauline, could you check out Jimmy Block for paranoia?”

Jimmy asked, “She’s that kinda doctor?!”

Pauline nodded, “Yeah, and I got mad skillz.”

Poached asked, “Did you just say that with a ‘Z’?”

Pauline laughed, “You got it, Po!”

Deviled yelled, “Why am I the only one who is not in on this Po thing?!”

Poached shrugged, “It seems to be a female thing that Callie started.  No one at the precinct would dare call me Po!”

Pauline looked at her phone, “I think I have Gisele’s cellphone in my contacts!”  But before she could call, her phone rang.  “Oh, hi, Huey!  How are Dewey and Louie?  …  Yep, I am at it again with the Agent Bad A** stuff.  Someone tried to kill me, but your instructors equipped me well.  I not only disarmed him with my charm and special sleep grip method.  See, Po, no death stuff!  … No worries about Baffy’s hearing.  When the assailant’s weapon went off, I had used the diaper bag to deflect the round, and it luckily acted as a silencer.  That reminds me.  Deviled, Sweetie, could you bill Mr. Jimmy Block here for a new diaper bag and a dozen diapers?”

Poached, who had turned to Baffy when she started crying, interrupted, “Agent Bad A**, please, are any of those diapers worthy for a diaper change?”

Pauline said that there was one in the side pocket, and only that one.  Since Poached had a girl himself, he ought to know how to change the diaper.

Pauline was still on the phone with “Huey”, otherwise known as Hugh McAdoo, spy master extraordinaire.  “And yes, Huey, I know that I do not have a license to operate in the USA, but he attacked me because my car’s map thingy directed me to his house.  Please say hello to Dewey and Louie.  I am over an hour late getting to the correct house.  Bye-bye.”

Deviled asked, “Who are Dewey and Louie?”

Pauline shrugged, “Knowing Hugh, I would say the next two people that come by his office will become Dewey and Louie and Hugh will never explain why.  You know, Top Secret, need to know, and all that stuff.”

Jimmy asked, “I thought you were a doctor at T.R.U.S.T.”

Deviled said, “By day, a college professor, by night, a mommy, and on an occasional weekend, she’d have to shoot you if you knew what she had been doing or even what country in the world she was doing it.”

Poached said, “Why do you think we have been calling her Agent Bad A**?  They have officially changed her code name to that.”

And Pauline winked at Jimmy and pantomimed pointing a gun at Jimmy and firing.  Then she grabbed her diaper bag and Baffy and walked out the door.

Guy Weiss said, “Can we untie him now?  We have his weapon and Pauline is already gone.”

Jimmy only groaned and shook his head.  Of all the times to get paranoid, he had to run into a secret agent with mad skillz.


The Perils of Pauline was a movie serial started in 1914. It defined many serials that followed, including the Perils of Pauline “moment,” the cliffhanger that caused you to return to the theater for the next installment.

The theme of this story is the increasing number of shootings, not all fatal, that have occurred when people innocently walked up to the wrong address and knocked on the door.  People have the right to protect themselves and their property, but this far exceeds reasonable means of protection, and especially when none of the people knocking acted with aggression nor were they armed.  Some states allow a homeowner to fire a weapon if the person has broken into the home, but these are people standing on the horribly misnamed “welcome” mat.  I am interested into how the court cases decide on this.

And as for the flinch, most people who get a weapon for defense fail to get training, and even with training, they do not know how they will respond in a high stress situation.  Often, the weapon used to defend the home injures the resident instead of the person who broke into the home.

And knowing Pauline’s mad skills, or is it skillz?  She could have used her therapy technique to eliminate the flinch, but she would never have made it easier for the guy to kill an innocent person.

As far as two addresses that are nearly identical, we have gotten mail for a house that is about 2-3 blocks away.  The number is the same, but the two street names are quite different.  The other street almost runs parallel, but with hills and valleys, that’s nearly impossible.  The names are each 6 letters, and the middle two letters are a double letter and not the same letter, but beyond that point, it is different.  We always pin the missent mail on our mailbox the next day (pinned with an old-style clothespin).  But I wonder how much mail that was supposed to come to us never got delivered.  Hmmm.  Something to ponder.

And Huey, Dewey, and Louie are the nephews of Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck is their great-uncle.  You can only tell them apart by their caps: red, blue, and green.  But as mentioned when Hugh McAdoo was first introduced, besides the rhyme, his name was derived from the Roger Miller hit song, Do-Wacka-Do.

And yes, Monopoli is south of Bari and considered part of the Bari metropolitan area, but I turned and went inland, to Martina Franca, Italy, near the ankle area of the boot on top of the mountain.  I only worked in the area, at a steel mill in Taranto, Italy for a week.

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  1. 💖💖💖💖💖💖

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