Being a parole officer in rural Louisiana back in the early '80s had its challenges. Generally, the radio system sucked, so we cobbled on to the statewide network that covered the state, but even the old Motorola 39.5 Mhz system couldn't reach everywhere. Many times we were out of radio range from anything, so we relied on our wits and our humor to keep us safe. There were no cell phones.
I recall one parolee who live way out near The Lake. Hilly country, he had wedged a new (used) 14 X 70 mobile home into a pine thicket and called it home. The only problem was, once he got the trailer leveled, the main entrance door was about eight feet above ground level, while the other end of the trailer was stuck in the side of the hill.
So, doing what he had to do. He cobbled together a stairs and small porch out of whatever lumber he could find. Custom made, to fit his trailer. It was rickety, tall, not well engineered, but it suited him. He could get in and out of the trailer.
This fellow had gone to the pen over a simple burglary charge, served one year of three and came out on parole. His family were pulp-wooders. Folks who cut short pulpwood and sold it to the local paper mills. On a good day, a fellow with a chain saw and a strong back could make a hundred dollars. It was a living. And, he was a big ol' boy. About 6'4", 260 lbs, and all muscle.
We had to see our parolees in the field, which meant NOT IN THE OFFICE, and we had to make home visits. The best time to see a pulpwood-hauler is when it's raining. So, one morning after an all-night soaking rain, I drove out to The Lake to see this fellow. As I drove up his gravel drive into the pine thicket and entered the clearing where he had wedged the trailer, I noticed two things immediately. First, his truck was there, which meant he was there. And second, his porch was missing. Gone, Vanished.
I figured it had collapsed, and I wondered briefly how we were going to have our little chat, but I grabbed a stick and tapped lightly on the front door, pondering how he was going to get down to ground level so he could initial the supervision report. I heard his footfalls come, thump, thump, thump down the length of the trailer, and a realization struck me, so I took a couple of steps to the side, out of the way of the front door.
The door opened, and one booted foot came out, and he took one step to the ground. "AAAAAHHH!" Thump! The sound when he hit the ground was like a bag of wet Portland cement being dropped.
He looked up at me in amazement. "What the hell happened to my porch?"
I asked him if he was all right?
"Yeah, I'm okay" He looked around wide-eyed and confused. "The porch was here last night when I came in!" He looked at me again, confused. "Are you sure you haven't seen it?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "Nope. It wasn't here when I drove up." I was trying to suppress laughter. Keeping a straight face.
He looked around again in amazement. "Some sonofabitch has stolen my porch! While I was asleep, some sonofabitch slipped in here and stole my porch."
I handed him a supervision report. "Here, sign this."
He signed the report, then handed it back to me. Looked up at his open front door. "How the hell am I going to get back into my trailer. The back door is locked, and the keys are up there!" He pointed at the open door.
I offered to drive him to his parent's place so he could borrow a ladder.