Creepy Stalker Dude’s Tye-Dyed Pillow

So then…I open the mailbox and find a little pillow – too big for a doll, but too small for a child. It is tye-dyed in dark swirly colors. It is misshapen and a little dirty. It has the word Chloe written on it in awkward handwriting – not quite a child’s writing – more like that of a mental patient.

I look up and down the street. I see no one. Who put this pillow in my mailbox? How do they know my child’s name?

I ask Chloe, age 5, if she knows anything about it. Nope. Husband or brother? Nope.

This doesn’t look like Chloe’s handwriting. And if she made it at school, it would have come home in her backpack – not wind up inside our mailbox.

So did someone make this for her? There’s no note. No one is taking credit for this spooky little dark gothic pillow.

I am totally freaked out. My husband David, of course, is blithely nonchalant.

I think his exact words are “Huh.  Ahh.” with a shrug.

“But don’t you want to know where this came from? What creepy person gave her this weird gift? It must be someone who knows where we live and what her name is – maybe a former babysitter? Or a repairman? What if she’s in danger?” I ask, my voice rising with hysteria.

“She’s not in danger. We live in a guard-gated community,” he says reassuringly. “No one’s gonna get past the guard to come and get her.”

“Well, they got past the guard to put the pillow in the mailbox, DIDN’T THEY?”

I give him the wild-eyed look that indicates I’m about to go off the deep end.

“Good point,” he concedes, “but maybe it was someone inside the neighborhood that put it in the mailbox.”

“Inside or outside — I think whoever left it is going to kidnap her,” I say firmly.

“Really? And they left the pillow because…why?” he asks. “If they’re planning to kidnap her, wouldn’t they keep the pillow for her to sleep on?”

“You’re not taking this seriously! I think we should call the police,” I say.

“Darcy, you do not need to call the police. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this pillow. Just throw it away and don’t worry about it,” he says.

“Oh, no,” I say. “I am not throwing it away. I am putting it in a plastic bag and keeping it in the file cabinet. If she gets kidnapped, I will have the evidence and fingerprints all ready for the police to investigate.”

“OK, you do that,” he says, in the tone of voice he uses when speaking to a small child or to – well, me when I’m being paranoid.

So I slip the weird mini pillow into a big plastic baggie and write the date on it in Sharpie and put it in my garage filing cabinet.

From that day forward, I am hyper vigilant whenever we are out and about with Chloe – at the park, the mall, the zoo — I am constantly looking over my shoulder for some weirdo in a dark swirly tye-dyed shirt.


So then…we’re sipping drinks and snacking on appetizers at a friend’s backyard party when another neighborhood family approaches us and re-introduces themselves and their kids since we haven’t seen them in so long.

The mom says to me, “Omigosh, how old are your kids now? They must be so big!”

I say, “Oh, yeah, Chloe’s 8 and Tucker’s 11. Your kids are so grown now too!” I smile at them.

The mom says to her kids, “Hey, do you remember when her daughter Chloe used to come over to our house for art classes when she was about 4?” She looks up at me. “Your daughter had such a fun time. Hey, did you ever get that last art project she made? I’m sorry it took me almost a year to drop it off — it was a little pillow – I put it in your mailbox.”

David about spits out his beer. He looks at me, grinning and triumphant. I want to kill him.

He is about to spill the whole story about how I was certain an eerie stalker was sending my kindergartener ominous gifts – when in reality, both Chloe and I forgot that she used to take art classes from the neighbor lady who innocently dropped off the last project as a kindness.

I send him such a withering glare, it practically singes his eyebrows. He does not tell the story. But he is grinning from ear to ear for the rest of the party, shooting me meaningful glances and nodding toward that art teacher mom.

I know as soon as we get home, he is going to tease me mercilessly, congratulate me on finding the dastardly would-be kidnapper, and ridicule my paranoia.

But honestly, how are we supposed to remember what Chloe made in a neighborhood art class a whole year previous? And the mom could have avoided the whole mystery by simply writing a note with the pillow like, “Here’s your daughter’s art project, signed Nice Neighborhood Mom (not a Raving Lunatic Stalker Dude).”

Of course I am overwhelming relieved to have the mystery solved so innocently.

But now that I know my daughter did make this hideous pillow with the horrendous handwriting and dreadful dye job, I start to worry about her artistic skills.

So I guess she wasn’t in danger of being kidnapped – (or of winning any art contests!)

— Darcy Perdu

(Tell us about your suspicions and paranoia – or any embarrassing misunderstandings. Any art projects gone terribly awry? Share your Comments and Stories.)

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13 replies on “Creepy Stalker Dude’s Tye-Dyed Pillow

  1. Steve J. said:

    I didn’t know you had any filing cabinets in your garage. Oh, wait…………

  2. Katherine said:

    Oh you poor thing! As a mom too I understand that terror. Your hubby is so lucky you are understanding and it was very wise of him to keep his mouth shut!

  3. Judy said:

    This story cracks me up. I can’t imagine what it’s like to find a creepy pillow with your daughter’s name on it in your mailbox, but then to find out the story behind it is priceless. I confess I love reading parenting stories by Moms Who Care. My mom might have noticed an actual kidnapper in my room, but then it would have been more like this, “Hey! Young man! If that ski mask has special washing instructions, you’d better not just throw it in the hamper if you care about it!”

  4. Mark said:

    Of course, you realize you not only critiqued your daughter’s artistic skills, but also indicated that she has the handwriting of a mental patient. (which, I’m sure your husband would say, the mental nut doesn’t fall from the mother tree).

  5. Ellie said:

    So then….3 year old Alina and I are grocery shopping at our neighborhood market. The cashiers know her and give her balloons with lollipops on most visits. Alina knows where to find the lettuce, the chicken and the turkey cotto salami. She doesn’t love running errands like I find out our next child does, but she’s grudgingly helpful and polite. As we stroll by an end cap filled with 500 different flavors of potato chip, I hear a man’s voice say, “Hi, Alina! How are you?”

    Oh no, I think. Even our local Safeway has become a haven for child predators. Why is this man coming on to my 3 year old? And wait! How does he know her name? He’s been to our house, looked at our mail, found us on-line, sneaked a peek at….what? Oh — my –God — this guy is a stalker. And he’s stalking my child! Where is the closest exit?

    I grab Alina’s hand to head for the sliding glass doors, accidentally twirling her with my mother bear force. In doing so, I see “ALINA” on her peel n’ press name tag from Gymboree, from whence we had just come, plastered to her back to prevent her from peeling it off mid-“Gymbo The Clown Goes Up and Down” to encourage her gross motor skills while simultaneously fostering increased social awareness through verbal/facial recognition.

    “Oh,” I say kindly to the grey haired gentleman, “She’s good.”

  6. I can’t top that but my wife would have surely reacted the same way. Probably would have taken off from work to stand at the mailbox and interview every person who came by as well.

    Better safe than sorry though!!!!

  7. Every ounce of paranoia I have stems from my house being broken into once. And only once. Years ago. Now whenever I hear the smallest pop of the fridge settling I lose it. And I mean all of it. My troll of a cat doesn’t help the situation either. She’s constantly testing my sanity by throwing things off shelves in the other room and hiding under things to jump out and give me yet another epic anxiety attack.

  8. Ha! Did you give her the pillow when you got home? My mom was – I think – pretty unafraid of us getting kidnapped. We ran wild when we were kids, but then that was 25 or 30 years ago.

  9. Jessica said:

    Sometimes, my hunny works at night. Usually, I am able to feel safe because I know that my doors are locked and I know where the gun is. Anyhoo, I wanted to take a bath and read a book, which is one of my favorite things to do. I get in, start reading and hear some thumps. It sounded like someone was walking in the living area. I thought it might be Shawn, coming home early and that’s when the cats look like they are scared. Zed had huge eyes, his fur was starting to stand up. Nettle ran out of the bathroom; Eris was nowhere to be found.

    The walking sound started getting closer to the bathroom, so I started ducking deeper into the water, thinking I should stay calm so I don’t look like Skeletor when Shawn comes around the corner. Things got quiet again and I made my plan. I thought someone had broken into my house, so I was going to grab that gun and get out of the house.

    I turned the bath water on to mask the sound of me getting out, wrapped a towel around me and crept into the bedroom to get the gun. I got it out, crept out of my bedroom and scurried around, second guessing myself and thinking if I did see someone, I could still be able to get out. That or decide to redecorate in red. I was shaking, deciding which neighbor to run to, nekkid, when I found my cats, running around like there was an axe murderer in the house. Yes, they had just decided to start fighting and wrestling, which was the thumping sound.

    Now, I am out of hot water, I have a sour stomach, I think Nettle is going into heat and I have just gotten my heart rate down to normal.

    • Good Lord, Jessica, I was scared to death reading your story! Everyone KNOWS the chick’s about to get murdered as soon as she gets in the BATHTUB! So glad your story ended up safely — and the funny image of you frantically scurrying about looking for villains while naked and armed!
      Darcy recently posted..Complete Invasion of Privacy!My Profile

  10. Kristin Dewey said:

    What’s funnier is the fact that if you had involved the police, the postal service would have been part of it too….since it’s a FEDERAL OFFENSE to put stuff in the mailbox that is not mail to be picked up by the USPS.

    Now THAT would’ve been funny if your neighbor lady got in trouble for that!