usually took a shortcut through the park on her way from University
Residence to classes. Because of last night's catastrophic City-wide
electric rainstorm, there were no University classes that day, but,
out of habit, she was walking through the park mainly because this
was the first day in weeks that the winter sun was out,
intermittently, among clouds threatening more rain.
storm during the last two days was particularly brutal. Most students
did not attend classes. Some classes did not happen because the
professors had been absent.
wanted to soak up some sun before there was no more again for weeks.
Spring was another few weeks away.
stopped abruptly when she turned the corner along the pathway. Police
were everywhere, searching the ground.
debated. Should she keep walking, and pass through among them? There
were no police "Do not cross" yellow tapes anywhere. She
decided against it. She had seen many episodes of "Forensic
Files" on television.
she tried to walk across their search grid, it would not matter how
innocent she was, she was sure to be interrogated as a suspect by the
she sat on a bench, far away and watched. From one of the trees
within the police area, a glint of light flashed across her eyes. Her
first reaction was that it was a refraction of sunlight off wet
leaves on branches blown about by the wind. Her curiosity was further
piqued when the glint repeated, almost regularly.
it something the police were searching for? Should she be a
conscientious citizen, and do her civic duty, and help the police?
Again, she was deterred by what she had seen on "Forensic
Files." Helping the police in a crime investigation always
carried the risk of being oneself considered a suspect.
sat and analyzed the situation. That branch was not inaccessible to a
garden tool like a rake or a hoe or a shovel. If her student loan had
not already been mostly spent, she could have bought such a tool and
returned at night to unhook whatever it was that was triggering that
glint. For a second or two the thought crossed her mind to forget the
whole thing and return to her room in the University's "Women
Only" on-campus Residence.
thought of her room instantly led to the thought of her long plastic
shoehorn; it started in a hook! The perfect length, too. The venture
was on again in her mind, stronger than ever.
on-and-off glinting thing could be nothing; but what if it were
something valuable she could pawn or sell?
that moment, Yvonne was so completely overwhelmed by her irrational
excitement, that she quite forgot a principal lesson depicted often
enough in the "Forensic Files" television show; possession
of items unofficially removed from a crime scene, was sufficiently
incriminating to warrant arrest and jail time.
returned to the park that evening, with her shoehorn hidden under her
rain cape. The weather had turned in her favour. The rain clouds were
back. There was no wind. Any second the rain would start. Mainly
because of the impending inclement weather, she was the only person
in the park.
there was police yellow "Do not cross" tape enclosing a
wide area around the tree. She paused at the bench, and slowly and
surreptitiously pretended to be looking for something she might have
lost around the bench. At every angle she sneaked a look at the
branches of the tree.
There it was! A feint sheen among the leaves. Good, it was beginning
to rain. She headed straight for a position beneath the branch. She
swung her shoehorn.
she snagged the thing on her first swing. Her grip on the shoehorn
slipped a little, causing her to lose some of her balance. She fell
into a section of the yellow tape, in her clumsy tumbling to the wet
grass. She scrambled to her feet, and scooped the object off the
shoehorn hook. The shoehorn itself suffered some damage in the fall.
Yvonne ran, being cunning enough to make it appear as if she were
trying to get out from the rain.
to consider the possible forensic consequences, she threw the damaged
shoehorn in a commercial garbage bin in an alley on her way.
her Residence room, she went straight to the bathroom and placed the
object in the sink. It was a necklace.
ring of beads that looked like pearls. Yvonne had never seen a pearl
necklace that close. She could not tell if those were genuine pearls.
The ring was broken. Some of the beads must have been missing. Yvonne
connected the ends with cotton thread, and stashed the ring in a
pocket of a garment hanging in her closet. She planned to use the
storm as an excuse to be allowed to return home out of town for a few
next day there was so much excitement in the classrooms, the
professor of Yvonne's class was one of many who wisely gave over the
class-time to discussion of the police search.
what she learned in that nearly-chaotic discussion in the classroom,
Yvonne changed her mind about leaving campus the next few days; the
police would be bound to view it as suspicious.
victim of a brutal ambush during the rain storm in the park had been
a female professor. She was in a coma in hospital.
University had suspended all classes until further notice. Free
health counselling was being made available to all students on
seems as if an item had been ripped off her throat, leaving deep
bloody injuries. The search had uncovered no evidence after the first
storm. But the new storm flare up that last night seemed to have
stirred up evidence on the ground. The police yellow tape around a
tree had been snapped, and, in sheer, true, pristine classical
"Forensic Files" mode, clear forensic evidence had been
human tissue embedded in tiny splinters of plastic; and two priceless
genuine pearls with traces of blood, in the grass.
author's name in
of the message we
won't know where to send it.)