I am a crime solving genius. Provided the crime has been plotted by Hollywood.
It took me two trips into my house to realize that I’d been robbed. That’s how trashed my house was when I left for vacation. I had to step over my husband’s valet twice (not the person kind, the manly jewelry box kind – but, wow, can you imagine!? So many servants lazing about that I missed the poor valet’s corpse in my path. The mental picture alone…blankly staring eyes, dapper little red vest, key fob clutched in his cold fist…) before I realized it didn’t belong on the dining room floor. If you have to read that sentence again go ahead, I’ll wait.
The first thing my husband did was to call the cops. Turns out they don’t even pretend to dust for prints anymore. I called the cat sitter to make sure she wasn’t locked in someone’s trunk bound with Justin Bieber duct tape. She was at Disneyland. So, you know, EVEN WORSE.
A cop shows up and feigns interest for about 32 seconds. Her only question is whether there were any signs of forced entry.
“We didn’t see any,” I say, still shaking, “but I’m pretty sure I know who did it.” I point to the beige house a few spots down and across the street from mine. Have I mentioned that we have a super fun tweaker-house on our block? Again?
“Oh yeah,” she says,” I know that house. Last time I was there the lady said she was being evicted. I was hoping she was gone.”
“Hoping she was gone.” Like it is totally beyond the scope of a police department to “gently” encourage someone to move. Or to raid their goddamned den of criminal activity. What the hell do I pay taxes for??? Fuck fixing potholes, I want some thuggery.
This was the extent of her investigation. I present my suggestion for the motto for the Everett PD: “Here’s Hoping!” Oh and here’s a great idea for a mascot. The Everette PD “Half-assing it” Hedgehog. They would fund their whole clown college off the plush sales. When you push on his cute tummy he squeaks “here’s hoping”. PS check out their website if you’re inclined, it’s like a high school kid made it for a project.
The Engineer and I, with zero help from the professionals, immediately solve the crime. Some goddam tweakers from the house across the street ran through while the cat-sitter was in the backyard watering the tomatoes. That was why they just took all the jewelry and the laptop and bolted. That was why there were no signs of forced entry. It’s the only explanation, we decide, for why they didn’t touch the bar. What the hell kind of half-assed robber doesn’t grab a bottle of Mo’s Whiskey on his way out the door? Inconceivable. We feel like geniuses. Sherlock himself would want to buy us a beer.
I send the Engineer to go casually walk the alley behind the meth house in search of evidence. No dice. Just a lot of scary looking dudes. Oh and some classic meth zombies looking for clock radios in the garbage to disassemble. He decides he’d rather live than find my MacBook Pro. I think he just wasn’t applying himself.
Two nights later, I go upstairs to take a bath and I realize several drawers are open in the upstairs bathroom. Like, all of them. Hmmm. That shoots a bit of a hole in our theory. They had time to go upstairs. Cat-sitter mentions that on her last visit she had noticed some random drawers and the attic door were open but she thought it was just an old house thing. I assume by “old house thing” she meant poltergeists, as even the oldest houses don’t tend to have spontaneously opening drawers. No wonder she ran away to Disneyland.
So, theory shot to hell, the Engineer decides to walk around our house, a thing that only just then occurs to us. Turns out, we kind of suck at criminal investigation. He immediately spots the upside down garbage can under the bathroom window. The window is tiny and 12 feet up, but the screen is in the dirt and has a neat little slice by the pull-tabs. This strikes us as suspicious. From inside the house, I climb up on the back of the toilet and squeeze halfway through the window. It’s a long drop. I could *almost* fit my ass through the window if I really had to, but it would still take two people balanced on shoulders on a garbage can to get in that way. Seems a bit insane if you’re not even going to steal any booze.
We begin to suspect acrobats. But then there’s the endless charges for Autozone and fast food on my stolen credit card. Acrobats don’t eat Jack in the Box. We’re back to the junkies across the street. I peer at them through my curtains. There are dozens of people coming and going from that house constantly, and at all hours. One of them is a skinny blonde girl with a nasty bruise across the back of her thigh. My house gave her that bruise, I’m sure of it. I would like to give her more bruises.
My brother offers me his drone so I can sweep the house and freak them out. The cops continue with their bold plan to wait and see if the jewelry returns itself. I begin plotting to get those goddamn junkies evicted. Or to release a bag of crickets into their air ducts. Or both. Sweeping and hysterical plans for revenge fill my dreams. I will turn off their water at the street, then I will encase the whole thing in cement so they can’t turn it back on. I will hide thrift-store alarm clocks all around the property. The only problem is, the house is never empty. ever. And also I have kids, so starting a war with Walter White’s deranged mercenaries might not be the most best plan ever.
On the fifth day after our discovery of the break-in, the Engineer notices that the upper trim on the bathroom window has been partially torn away. The pristine, arced white molding above our bathroom window had been missing for nearly a week before anyone noticed. A week. There is a dark, wooden scar that, even while investigating the size of the window compared to the size of my ass, we failed to notice. I’m assuming that, when our very helpful police officer asked if there was any evidence of forced entry, that was what she meant. I realize I might not be quite as good at crime solving as my Netflix watchlist would suggest.
So I call my cop back just to let her know we sucked at her job almost as much as she did. Then I AGAIN mentioned the house across the street that was just painfully obviously running a business (and possibly a laboratory) out of their garage. I didn’t even give a crap about my jewelry anymore, but there had to be a way to get rid of those people. The cop tritely reminded me that the lady no longer lived there. Like I was hallucinating the house being populated.
Seriously. What was her obsession with that lady? I’d love to know.
“I don’t know what lady you’re talking about, but there are at least a dozen people there right now. There is a motorcycle parked on the lawn. I’m 80% sure I paid for the new tires on that primer black Nissan cuz, before I left for vacation, it was rolling on a spare.” I might not be the most observant person in my own home, but I’d been watching that house with growing concern for a few weeks. Before I left for vacation, I’d been joking about heading over there with a plate of cookies and an invitation to join our open-carry neighborhood watch.
“Oh,” she says, suddenly interested. “Maybe I’ll stop by and show them some love.”
“Yes, Christ, DO THAT.” I hang up. Finally, a bright spot! I tell the Engineer I’ve sicked the cops on our neighbors.
“You realize,” he said, “If the cops show up and shoot Carl (our non-felon neighbor and the only black guy on our street) we’re going to have to take care of his family for the rest of our lives.”
So, there is that. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, if you live in Everett and you frequent pawn shops, keep your eyes out for a Women’s Air Corp i.d. bracelet with Mary Seufert on it, circa WW2, it was my grandmother’s and I’d love to have it back.