I mean, she explained they were poisonous, and told me I shouldn't eat them under any circumstances, and the basket even had a little label explaining: "These apples contain real poison and should not be eaten" just so that houseguests wouldn't accidentally have some.
Anyway, my bext door neighbor. Wonderful person. But kind of quirky.
She always kept her tool shed under lock and key. A little more than that, actually. Steel bars on the door, and four locks, plus screen structures to make the shed impossible to see from the streets. Still, about once a day she would walk into the shed, look around nervously, unlock it, slip inside hastily, stay in there for a few hours, and leave. She would often be carrying a brown paper bag, hunched over it protectively, as she slipped in or out.
The neighbors never complained or anything - it's her back yard, after all - but when police had traced a suspected drug manufacturer to the neighborhood, everyone pointed her way.
I saw it, through the slats of my old wooden fence, from my porch, when the police officers served the search warrant. She was upset and trying very hard not to cry, but she let them in. She unlocked the doors, because that's better than crowbars, and opened up the shed, protesting the entire time that there were no drugs in there.
I was having trouble believing her, but when she opened them, it became very clear.
The whole shed was filled with raccoons. Not real raccoons, mind you. Porcelain raccoons, stuffed raccoon toys, paintings of raccoons. Art deco raccoon sculptures. Attractive iridescent computer-generated raccoon art. And so forth. It was delightful and adorable.
The police went through the raccoons, of course, and continued to find nothing.
"Why do you have these locked up, anyway?" asked a suspicious officer.
My neighbor, still shaking but now growing angry, said, "I don't see how it's your business, but... Well, I love raccoons. I think they're adorable. They're my favorite animal."
The cop nodded, "Then why lock them up?"
"I don't want that to become my Thing. I don't want to be the Lady Who Loves Raccoons. Oscar Wilde said it best, through the lips of Lord Henry - 'To define is to limit.' I adore these raccoons. They make me happy. But they're not my whole life. If my friends and family see them around my house, then, all of a sudden, people will get an easy grip on me. I'll become a one-trick pony. My nieces will wonder if I think of them as my little raccoons, and I'll never get a normal, non-raccoon themed birthday present ever, ever again. So, I have to take security measures."
The police left after a little more fuss.
After they'd gone, my neighbor looked over at the fence, and we caught each other's eyes. She gave a sad, defeated sigh. I don't know if it's because of the police thing, or because someone now knew her secret.
I love my crazy Raccoon-lady neighbor! She's such a bandit!