Monday I arrived at my office like any other day. Little did I realize that I was walking right into the scene of a crime. Had I known, I might have stayed home that day…or better yet resigned from my position altogether. I’ll never forget what happened that fateful day.
I’d been sitting at my desk for well over an hour before I noticed it. There…on my mouse pad…was the first piece of evidence we would discover. I cringe to even repeat the horror my eyeballs beheld but this blog would be truly boring if I didn’t so here it goes… On my mouse pad, in red and blue ink, were the words “Received January 9, 2010”. I was so shocked I could hardly speak. And worse yet, right next to it was the word “Entered” neatly stamped on my otherwise clean blue mouse pad. Someone had been sitting at my desk! Upon further inspection I was also able to decipher a green checkmark, and two other “Received” stampmarks.
This hidden message was frightening to me. Was I being warned about some imminent danger? Were they trying to say “Check your calendar for January 2010?” A dreaded meeting, perhaps? A delayed equipment order? I didn’t have enough clues so I turned to my co-workers and in a shaky voice bellowed, “Who the heck brought their little kids in here over the weekend?” Everyone looked at me blankly…especially Annette because she doesn’t even have any little kids. “Why do you ask?” they wanted to know. I showed them the vandalistic gang signs on my desk and everyone ran back to their own desks to see what clues they might find.
“Someone stamped all over my desk too!” Melanie hollered. “Where the hell are my Diet Pepsi’s,” Annette demanded. “Who drank my water?” shrieked Rosa! And as the investigation continued we realized we had a true crime on our hands. We all sat in silence for 1, maybe even 2 seconds. “Eh.” we all sighed, “time to get back to work.”
And that was that…or so we thought. An hour or so later our boss came into the office. She sat down at her desk and then immediately reappeared from her temporary cube in our temporary portable holding her trashcan in one hand. Her other hand was on her hip and she had a distinct look of disgust on her face. “WHOOOO has been eating candy in here?” she demanded! Now, you must know that our boss has about 20 letters after her name…she’s a certified dietician, nutritionist, queen of what you should eat (or something like that) and we are forbidden to have candy in the office. Yet there in her trashcan were about 20 Mini Milky Way wrappers. We all gasped in horror! Curses, now she knows about our stash!! We’ll all be fired for sure! We quickly opened the double doors to the cabinet we so secretly hid our shared confections in only to find that our new $15 bag of M&Ms, Snickers, Kit Kats, and Milky Way’s was all but empty! Which of us would do such a thing without prior written approval from the others in the office? And why would one of us put the evidence of our candy embezzlement into the boss’s trashcan? We all eyeballed each other, looking for a glimpse of guilt in each other’s eyes. Then, as if in telepathic unison it hit us. “The kids!” we all screamed at once.
We all started blurting out at once the details of the clues we had found this morning when our boss suddenly put her hand firmly in the air to silence us. “This,” she said with authority, “calls for the campus police.”
Twenty minutes later he arrived…our local’s finest, ready for duty. He quickly went to work searching for evidence to convict these vile criminals. He questioned me first and I showed him my defiled mouse pad. He asked me if the stamps used on my pad looked familiar and I replied, “Oh, ya! Here they are…” and I opened my drawer and pulled them out so fast he didn’t have time to draw his gun and holler, “FREEZE!” I held up the stamps for him to view, thinking proudly of myself for helping a man of the law. My proud smile was returned with an eyeroll and a sigh. Confused , I asked him, “Do you want to fingerprint them?” “M’am,” he retorted, “you’ve corrupted the evidence now with your own prints.” “Well excuuuuuuse me!” I said, with a little more attitude than I should have.
Sensing my ‘tude, the officer then asked me if I was the first person on the scene. I told him that I was, indeed, the first person here and the first to notice the crime in question. He pulled out his tiny spiral notepad and jotted down my name and my 3 phone numbers, and the numbers of my husband and nearest relative. I thought he was going a bit far when he asked for my driver’s license but never-the-less I complied. Then, with a glimmer in his eye and what I would swear was an ever-so-slight grin on his face, he slowly reached for his radio and began reciting the numbers of my driver’s license! I was a suspect!!!! Quickly rummaging through my mind I tried desperately to remember if I’d paid all my toll fees, speeding tickets, and electric bill! As I remembered the week before at HEB I had deliberately used a coupon for an item I didn’t purchase, a drop of sweat rolled off my brow. Having spent time in jail in my youth (another blog altogether) I would do anything not to go back!
I considered running, but I was wearing heels. I glanced over at Annette and slowly mouthed the words, “Will you bail me out?” Knowing the sorted details of my past, she merely laughed…and laughed….AND continued to laugh! Finding no humor in this situation what-so-ever, I desperately longed to hear the words, “All clear” being returned from the officer’s radio.
As I waited, the officer began fingerprinting windows, staplers, computer mice, desktops, and finally, the piece de resistance…the candy wrappers. Using what looked like kitchen tongs he removed the wrappers from our boss’s trash can one by one and placed them in a brown paper bag with the word, “EVIDENCE” printed in large black letters. (NOT exaggerating about that bag!!) “My job here is done” he announced as he headed for the door. “I’ll be in touch.” Stopping short of the door he turned slowly and started heading back towards my desk. My heart raced and I began wringing my hands as he approached. He froze for what seemed like an eternity before he glanced back to my mouse pad. “I’m not sure if those ink stamps would come out even if you tried, but please don’t wash it. I’ll be back tomorrow with my camera to take photos of it.” With that said, he started walking towards the door. I thanked him, not so much for the job he had done but more for not hauling my butt to jail. As he reached the door I heard him say, “Just doing my job m’am. Just doing my job.”
With a sigh of relief we all went back to our work. I realized later that day I never did hear that “All clear.” But I haven’t mis-used a coupon since.