The Square Peg - I’ve Been Robbed!
© S. Bradley Stoner
They came in the middle of the night... silent as any cat burglar can hope to be. I didn’t hear them... I didn’t see them... heck, I didn’t even know they had been here until seven o’clock in themorning. There I was, checking the bird feeder, adding a little water to the fountains, enjoying the cool before the heat, and surveying my realm... then it hit me like a thunderbolt! Holy crap! I’ve been ROBBED!
“How can this be?” I muttered to myself. I pay my taxes, I support my local police.. I even pull out of the way when they’re on an emergency run (you’d be surprised how many people don’t). I also have a sophisticated alarm system that alerts me if anybody tries to get in my doors, my windows, or tunnels under my house. Yessir... I have tremblers on every window, door, and all the way around the perimeter. I have automatic flood lights with motion sensors. I have signs that warn potential thieves... including one that says, “THIS PROPERTY PROTECTED BY SMITH AND WESSON.” It didn’t do any good. The clever buggers got past every barrier, slipped inside my protective screen and stole me blind.
They didn’t even leave evidence worth having... no footprints, no fingerprints, no clothing fragments... nothing. I’m telling you, it was a forensic nightmare. My neighbors heard and saw nothing... matter of fact their imitation of the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys was flawless. I asked the one that had security cameras if I could look at his footage. That’s when I found out that Bingo Bob hadn’t bothered to hook them up. I was getting nowhere fast I could tell this one was going to wind up in the cold case file really quickly.
I knew who pulled this caper, but I couldn’t prove it... and nobody is going to apprehend suspects without any evidence to back it up. I called up Duncan Donutz, the ex cop, and asked him to look at the tooling marks left behind by these pilferers. I just wanted confirmation that I wasn’t suffering from that scotoma thing Dan Brown put in the DaVinci Code... you know, the mind’s eye sees what it wants to thing.
Duncan wasn’t much help. He said they looked like really small chisel marks, and pronounced gravely, “Looks like they got in and got what they were after. Personally, I’d just take some pictures and call my insurance company. The cops aren’t going to do more than make a report and gripe about you taking time away from serious criminal investigations.”
“Big help you are,” I grumbled.
By the time my lovely was about ready to go to work, I was fuming. “I know who’s responsible! It’s that guy from Ohio. He was out for revenge. I’ll bet he got on the pawpaw network and put out a contract!”
“What on earth are you talking about?” she demanded.
I shot an accusing finger at the tall tomato plants in my garden. “See what they did?” I exclaimed.
There, hanging, almost ready to pick, were the remains of my full, round beefsteak tomatoes... only they weren’t round anymore. Every one of them had one side completely gnawed off. “That Duncan is an idiot,” I declared. “Chisel marks my butt! Those are tooth marks! I just know that ever since I told Tim he was cursed with a brown thumb, he was out to get me. The Texas Grangers are going to kick me out!”
“Oh how nice you are,” my lovely cooed, “now our mama raccoon and her four little babies won’t have to go on public assistance.”
“That’s not funny,” I returned.
“It kind of is,” she said. Then she disappeared inside for a couple of minutes.
Later, I got a call from the local chapter of the Be Kind to Animals Coalition. It seems I’ve been nominated for the “Man of the Hour” award. I should be happy, after all I don’t get that many awards. But geez, with all the tomatoes that were sacrificed to the Bandit Gods, you’d think they could make that award last more than an hour. Quit laughing, Tim.