The person at the front door was no more than a teenager herself. She was insisting herself in the door while chanting in an unrecognizable language. I pushed her down onto the concrete steps. Her head hit the cement with a crack. I was sure she was dead. Rain pelted her face. Her feet were still inside the door. I moved them with my own and shut the door. I knew as soon as I'd done that it was a mistake. I turned to find my living room had filled with young people, their faces stricken with blank stares, all of them muttering the same chant as the girl had who now lay dead on my front steps. I caught sight of a few older people in their 30s and 40s. It occurred to me the TV had gone off and there was light classical music playing. The girls and I shuddered to see these people engaged in some sort of deranged cocktail party.
I kept the girls close as I made my way to the phone. I attempted to call the police but I couldn't remember the number. In a bizarre flashback, I recalled every home we'd ever had — my mother's house in Wichita, the trailer in New Bern, the military housing units at Cherry Point, and the logistics base in Barstow, the house in Jacksonville, the house aboard Camp Lejeune, and finally, this apartment here in Stuttgart. Every detail of these homes rapidly filled my mind, one after the other: the front doors and living rooms, the windows and curtains, the patios and porches, the walkways and carports. But how do I call for help? Then I remembered all the different numbers I'd had to dial on every base to get the MPs or the police. One began with a 450, the next with 252, the next with 353. But what was the number to the police here? Was it 911? No, that was for calling the police in the states when out in town. Was it 112? 113? Was I supposed to call the MPs (military police) or the Polizei (German police)? I started to dial 0711 for the Polizei, but the line went dead. I banged the phone against the bookshelf. I got a dial tone and dialed 115, thinking that was the number for the MPs. A man answered, but not in a way that would indicate it was the MPs. "Damn it," I thought, "I've dialed the Fire department." I heard my husband's voice. He'd called just as I'd hung up and I’d inadvertently answered before it could ring. "What's going on there?" he shouted. I thought it was odd that he was shouting. I told him I was trying to call for help. I told him to hang up and call the MPs here and send them over, that we had intruders.