Friday, October 3, 2014

The Case of the Shiny Shoes

     I'm a guy that finds things.  I'm a gumshoe of items misplaced by children.  My children to be exact.  Mysterious occurrences are not new to me, and I'm comfortable looking into the unknown.  The most recent case that this Daddy Detective had to investigate was a tough one, and involved missing shiny/light-up shoes.  You know the ones I'm talking about right?  The lights are triggered with every step.  Lighting up as if acting as a beacon of youthful exuberance seeking attention.  Could this old salty dog of a detective find the shoes?  The answer remains to be seen.  I'm ready, willing, and able.  I'm putting on my old school Humphrey Bogart raincoat and fedora.  "Out of all the houses in all of Kimberly, Alabama, she had to lose her shoes in mine."

     She was a pretty little girl.  The kind of fancy gal that always stood out no matter where she was or what she was doing.  I knew when she spoke that she meant business, and may be a tough nut to crack.  The reason for our interaction was lost shoes.  Not any lost shoes, but some really fancy shiny shoes.  She exclaimed, "I can't find my shoes!  I want my shoes!"  I tried to calm her uneasiness with the comforting tone of my voice and a reassurance that I would find her missing items, but it was a tough sell.  A good detective has to build trust with the victim to get the whole story, but I couldn't reach the clear blue eyes of this young lady.  Distressed and upset she blurted out, "Jesse must have took them!  He always does stuff like that to me!"  Who was this Jesse, and what was his connection to the missing shoes.  I decided I needed to talk to him, and find out what he knew.

     The boy was nervous when I walked toward him.  Kind of like he had something to hide, but didn't want to let on.  I could sense his concern and smell the fear in the air as I walked right into his personal space.  Sometimes if you make the person uncomfortable you can find out a little more information.  I asked the young man, "Where were you this morning when these shoes first went missing?"  He fidgeted a little in his seat and said nervously, "I don't know."  I continued, "Well, why don't you know?"  He looked at me and swallowed really hard, like he was trying to swallow a concrete block, and said, "I just don't know."  He was clearly being intentionally obstinate, so I threw out a vague threat.  "It would be a shame if one of these baseball bats here went missing wouldn't it?  It would upset you quite a bit I would imagine.  Isn't that right Jesse?"  His eyes lit up and got as big as saucers, and he said, "Don't mess around with my bats!"  Now, I knew his weakness.  The boy's love for baseball would be my ace in the hole.  I picked up his bag full of baseball items, and started to walk out the door.  He jumped up quickly and grabbed my shirt, "Please, no!" he yelled, "I didn't have anything to do with the shoes I promise!  I know that I may have hidden some of her stuff in the past, but I swear this wasn't me!  I didn't do it!  Please give me my baseball bag!"  I believed him.  He was telling the truth.  I handed him the bag full of baseball tools and then asked him one last thing, "Well, if you didn't do it.  Who did?"  He didn't hesitate with his answer, "I bet it was Mom.  She moves stuff all the time."  He was right.  She does.

     I had dealt with this "Mom" many times.  She was a regular suspect in my investigations, and I had my suspicions that she was responsible for many unsolved crimes that were in my cold case file.  She's a crafty one, though, and always seems to be one step ahead.  I approached her and said, "So, Mom, we meet again.  What do you know about these shoes?"  She gave me what I like to call, "that look," and didn't acknowledge my question.  I'd been down this road before with this woman, but I really needed her information to help me find these shoes.  I turned on the charm.  A good detective needs to be half Rudolph Valentino and half Brad Pitt.  I looked her in the eye and said, "How you doin?"  Her immediate look of disgust spoke volumes, and I realized rather quickly that this wasn't going to be easy.  She finally spoke, "Why are you bothering me again with this stuff.  Why don't you go blog or something, and leave me alone."  She was speaking gibberish now, and I began to consider the potential that she had a mental illness.  No matter, I still needed info on these shoes.  Time was of the essence here, because school would be starting soon.  I threatened her the best way I could and said, "If you don't tell me what you know about these shoes, I'm going to send the victim up here to talk to you!"  Her eyes narrowed and she stood up and moved toward me with a sense of urgency that was rather concerning.  I was immediately concerned for my personal safety, and I did not have a sufficient reactionary gap to fend off her aggressive movement.  I backpedalled, and asked again, "Just tell me what you know about her shoes?"  Her response was chilling, "I always put them back where they are supposed to be.  I only put things back.  Back where they belong, and should be in the first place.  Things in this house have a home, and that's where they should live.  You can't just leave things laying around everywhere and then wonder what happened to the stuff.  Put things away, and you won't have to wonder."  I really didn't understand any of the rant that Mom was putting out there.  It didn't make any sense to me. I decided to leave well enough alone, and move on.

     I was out of witnesses and suspects so I turned back to the victim, Maddie.  Tears flowing down her face, because of the stress she tried to talk.  "Did you find them?" she said with a trembling voice.  Frustrated by my inability to find the shoes I said, "No sweet girl, not yet, but I'm not giving up."  At that exact moment I caught a glimpse of what looked like a light show coming from the darkened kitchen area.  What was this?  I thought to myself.  I walked in the direction of where the lights were coming from, and I noticed in the space between the kitchen and the dining room that two small shoes were sitting by the door to the pantry as pretty as you please.  I picked up the shoes, and took them to the sad little girl.  Her eyes lit up when I handed her the shoes, and she was genuinely thankful.  That's why I do the job.  Not for the glory, and definitely not for the money.  The one thing I couldn't figure out was why the shoes appeared to light up when no one was wearing them.  It must have been a helping hand from above to assist us in getting to school on time or maybe the shoes were defective.  Who knows?  Whatever it was, it sure helped.

     We were finally ready, and leaving the house after the mystery was solved.  I was proud of all the hard work that had led to the discovery of the shoes.  At this exact moment Mom came down the steps, and asked what the result was of my investigation.  I apologized for considering her a suspect, but I only go where the evidence leads me.  She then asked, "Where did you find them?"  I responded, "That area between the kitchen and the dining room."  She looked at me and said, "The Butler's Pantry."  As we walked out the door I looked at Maddie and said, "How about that.  The Butler did it."