Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Perfect Time for a Good Grilling

On Wednesday, I made a shocking discovery. My cell phone was broken. I noticed it right before The Pony and I left home to stock up on barbecue supplies. I broached the subject with him, our discussion made all the more convenient because he was riding in the front seat of T-Hoe, orders from his dad. I began my line of questioning with the first of the usual suspects.

Did you knock my phone off the cutting block?
Are you sure. There's a crack in it. Look.
Hmm. That IS a crack.
You didn't do it?
No. If I did, I would tell you. But I didn't.
I noticed it last night. I left it on the cutting block, propped on its kickstand to get one bar, facing my purse on the counter. When I came upstairs in the wee hours, it was facing the stove, and moved over about six inches. I though I saw a long smudge, like from unlocking it. But it's a crack. Are you sure you didn't knock it off?
No. Funny how you can drop a phone from three feet onto the garage floor numerous times, and it doesn't break. Yet tip it over onto its face, and it cracks in two places.
Yeah. Funny. You know so much about it.
That's what happened to MY phone.
Uh huh. And you'd tell me if you cracked mine?
Yes. It's ONLY a crack. It's not like your phone is broken. Mine has TWO cracks.
And yours doesn't receive calls.
Um. Well, it's fine for what I need it for. I don't need people interrupting me with calls.

The next witness was out of our jurisdiction, and was contacted by phone.

Hey, did you knock my phone off last night?
No. Why?
Because there's a big crack down the front.
I didn't know that. It was fine the last time I looked at it.
You didn't move it on the cutting block?
No. Why would I do that?
Because just before you left on vacation, you kept yelling at me to put it back on the counter.
Well, it's stupid to put it on the cutting block. It's in the way.
I see. So you didn't even touch it.

The third witness took more finesse. He's a clever one. Evasive. But not well-versed in the nuances of interrogation. He also gave testimony by phone.

Did you pick up my phone?
Pick up you phone?
Yes. Did you pick up my phone?
No. Don't you have it?
Yes. But it was moved on the cutting block, and facing a different way.
Well, I brought in Chinese food last night when we got home.
Did you put the bag on the cutting block?
No. I put it on the counter by the stove, where I always put it.
You didn't move my phone?
No. The Chinese food got put there.
What do you mean?
The boys were getting out their food. And the bag got put on the cutting block.
Did you put it there?
No. It got put there.
You sound like a liar. Who says, "It got put there." A normal person would say "I put it there." Or "Genius put it there." Or even, "The boys put it there." Yet you say, "It got put there."
I'm not a liar.
Remember that time with the paper towels? You swore you didn't use them. Then you swore you didn't get your dirty fingerprints on the end of the new roll again. And I found out you had flipped the roll upside down on the holder, and there were dirty fingerprints all over that end. Right? Do you remember?
Yes. I remember. I DID flip the paper towels so you wouldn't know I got them dirty again.
But you told me you hadn't used the paper towels, didn't you?
Yes. I told you that.
THAT WAS JUST A ROLL OF PAPER TOWELS! I can imagine how you'd lie about breaking my cell phone.
I didn't touch your cell phone. I'll bet GENIUS did it!

What say you, jury?

THE PONY with a condiment cup of sweet & sour sauce by Frig?

GENIUS with a carton of fried rice, a carton of chicken, and a styrofoam tub of sweet & sour sauce by the stove?

HICK with a paper sack full of Chinese takeout, and misdirection?

They all have flaws in their testimony. Yet they stick to their stories, and don't flinch when I point out their inconsistencies. My circumstantial evidence cannot rule out any of the three. I think I'll just lock them up in a shared cell to commiserate for eternity like Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer.

BREAKING: Val, the judge, jury, and executioner, has declared a mistrial. After this story went to press, just before publication, new developments occurred, brought to the court's attention by one of the defendants. The circumstances are a bit sketchy, but previous evidence seems to have been destroyed.

Genius arrived home from a sleepover. He showered. He stormed out. He slammed the door. He apparently had a rendezvous with Hick involving physical labor, which may or may not have included a discussion of PhoneBreak. He entered the kitchen to forage for sustenance. I, in the living room, heard water running in the kitchen sink. For a long time.

I thought you said your phone was broken.
It is. Down the front glass.
No it isn't.
Yes, it is. The Pony saw it himself. PONY! Did you see the crack in my phone?
That's what you told me.
You know you saw it in the car yesterday. You ran your finger over it and said it WAS a crack.
If you say so.
Look! There's NO crack.
Well, it was there yesterday. I tried everything to get it off, and I could feel the crack. One piece pushed down, and it was a definite crack.
Look. It's fine.

If I didn't know better, I would have sworn that Genius had a spare glass phone face thingy laying around like Frankenstein parts, and that he replaced it. Or else he gave my smart phone a shower under the kitchen faucet. One scenario is as disturbing as the other. For now, the case has been closed.

This is Emily Litella, your courtroom reporter, signing off.


  1. There's a mystery almost every week at your residence. Perhaps we need to get McCloud or Columbo or McMillan and Wife to solve this latest one...

  2. I'd see the guilty party made restitution. You might consider breaking other things to see if the perp replaces or repairs them. You could catch him redhanded...or, you could have a lot of broken stuff.

  3. Are you living over an ancient Indian burial ground? You might want to check. Ha!

  4. Sioux,
    You'd think Mystery Inc. would give me a discount, what with all the free work I've done for them. They coulda put a new tire on the Mystery Machine.

    Most likely I'd have a lot of broken stuff. More than I have now. These fiery-trousered folks are as elusive as ZZZZZZs for an insomniac.

    At least I don't wake up at 3:15 a.m. every night, and see a pig named Jodie in my rocking chair, staring at me with glowing red eyes. And I don't live in Amityville.