I bought a $12 container of popcorn because I was afraid of a Boy Scout

Yes, it’s true. But there’s more to it than that. I’m not scared of all Boy Scouts. Just this one. And I’m not convinced that he was a Boy Scout at all. More like a Man Walkabout, without a uniform.

It wasn’t Halloween yet, so I wasn’t expecting anyone in a costume when the doorbell rang. Strange timing, I thought. About 8 pm, not terribly late but later than UPS usually delivers and it was already pitch dark.

Not knowing whether I wanted to answer, I peered through the living room window, where I could see the profile of a person standing on the front steps. Not a neighbor, not one of my kids’ friends, but also not someone with a clipboard or a stack of pamphlets. So I flicked on the overhead light and opened the door a few inches.

“Hello ma’am, I’m with the Boy Scouts,” this obviously grown man person without a costume or a Boy Scout-related chaperone said. Come to think of it, I didn’t even see a car, or bike, or any other mode of transportation. Did he walk here? And if so, from where?

“I visited yesterday and your husband said he was interested in buying popcorn, but he didn’t have the cash at the time.”

Then I saw the container of popcorn he was holding up. Yes, it had a picture of a Boy Scout on it. Ok, that’s promising. But wait. He walked here from wherever he came from, carrying only this one order for a single customer? That didn’t seem right.

“Um, ok.” I said. “How much is it?”

“Twelve dollars, ma’am.” Shut the front door! I mean, I didn’t actually shut the front door. At least not yet. Twelve dollars for what would cost a couple bucks at the grocery store? That’s crazy talk.

“Just a second,” I said. And then I did shut the front door, long enough to yell up the stairs to my husband:

“Hey, did you agree to pay twelve dollars for Boy Scout popcorn?”

A moment of silence.

“Oh yeah, but I didn’t have enough money.” Some rummaging ensued, and my husband came down the stairs with his wallet.

“Oh, I still only have two dollars. Do you have ten?”

“Hang on another second,” I told the Man Cub waiting on our steps, and got my wallet. Thank god, I had a ten dollar bill.

“Here you go!” I said cheerfully, shoving the money out the front door and grabbing the popcorn.

He said thank you very much, and I watched him walk away to . . . wherever he had come from. I almost expected him to disappear into the evening mist.

On one hand, I wanted to be annoyed that my husband had summoned this person back to our house with the sole intent to take my money. But then I remembered the time I ordered four years’ worth of magazines from an adorable young woman with a very sad back story and photos to prove it, only to find out a year later that I only had a year’s subscription.

Gullible, much? Or just afraid to say no? A little of both, I think.

It’s probably best if we just stop answering the door.

I wonder if the popcorn is any good?