Lost and Found

James L. Cowles


ゥ Copyright 2021 by James L. Cowles



          It was there all this time, I guess, huh(?), but, how could I miss it? I must have walked passed it a thousand times, but if it was there, I missed it. But, every time? No way!  Someone must have known I have been looking for it for months; someone who felt guilty they took it, so now they put it where I could find it? But, who and, and, well.... why?  Oh, I know I知 thinking forensic conspiracy, but I cannot think any other way.  If it was there all along, I would have found it months ago.

          I guess it could have started as a joke, but it sure as hell turned sour pretty quickly. If someone took it, it would seem they might want to put it back pretty quickly after seeing how pissed I was.  Oh, maybe I lost it and just missed it when I was out looking for it.  I know I must have gone over these grounds inch by inch and I am sure it was not there. I know I looked around and under this bush a dozen times, but now suddenly, it turns up, and not under the bush, but in front of it, near the pathway.  Somebody is playing games with me, and I am going to have to find out who it is.  Otherwise, I値l go crazy. I think I値l call Dan and have a little chat with him. It would be just like him to hold it, then wait ten months to put it near that bush so I could find it?  He pulls jokes on just about everybody but me, and that is because he knows how pissed I get when someone, anyone does that to me.  I do not like practical jokes and he knows it.

          It痴 ringing. I値l probably get that stupid answering machi...., Well, I値l be damned!  Hello, Danny boy. I知 glad you finally answered your phone, man. I sure as hell did not want to hear your crazy-ass message again. When are you gonna change that damn thing? It takes 5 minutes to leave you a message. I don稚 want to even call you any more, man. What?  No, Hell no, nobody put a hitch in my giddy-up. Huh? No, and I didn稚 get up on the wrong side of the bed, either.  Danny, Danny, no, no, stop that crap and just listen.  Now, is there anything you want to tell me before I say anything more? I mean, anything you want to get off your chest before I find out about it on my own?  

          Dan, just tell me, man. Come clean right now and I promise I will not be angry. What? No, I知 not. I知 not 殿lready angry. No, man, I wasn稚 kidding. I hate that damn message you have on your answering machine. I can repeat it verbatim. 泥on稚 hang up, (Oh no).., We池e oh so glad you called, so...., Don稚 hang up... (Unless you're selling something). Now, you gotta wait for the big long tone. We値l call you back when we get home. Now, don稚 forget to leave your Phone.... Number.  Don稚 hang up!  Did I get it right? Yeah and you sing off key, too.  Who did that bass part for you, you know, 徹h No, and 填nless you池e welling something?  That痴 you?  You池e shittin me man. A machine, huh? It might change your voice, but you still sing off key.  The Orlons did that tune a whole lot better than you, pal.

          No, now look Dan, do you remember that day I said I couldn稚 fin....... ?  Yeah, that痴 it. Uh huh. Well, It has been right at a year since I lost, it misplaced it, or had it stolen and this afternoon I was walking to Bob痴, along the same path I have walked forever.  Yeah, through that little field between our two houses, you know where I知 talking about don稚 you? Yes, that痴 it.  Well, I looked down and right by one of the bushes near the path, I saw a little sparkle, you know, a gleam, like.  Yep. You got it. I found it.  Say, you jumped onto this mighty quickly, Danny boy.

          Now, listen Dan. I suspected you right away. No, no, you know it痴 like some stunt you壇 pull, don稚 give me that stuff.  Did you, do it?  You know what! Did you nab it and wait all this time, then put it where I壇 find it?  Whadda you mean, 努hat kind of guy do I think you are?  You know it痴 just like some of the crap you致e pulled in the past, only you致e never done anything like that to me. 

          Ha.  That痴 true. I really got pissed at you that time. So, you say you know better than to do anything like that to me again, huh?  I scared the hell out of you?  Ha!  I doubt that, Dan. Okay! You didn稚 do it; you really didn稚?  Well, you are the only one I thought of when this thing turned up today. Okay, okay. I知 sorry for accusing you, but I am stumped, man. If you didn稚 do it, help me figure out who did.  No, I mean who stole it, then put it where I壇 find it all this time later?  It makes a difference to me, Danny Yes, I've got it now, but I can't let it go. Nope, I知 pretty sure I didn稚 lose it, because I never carried it with me that often.  I had no reason, too.  I always left it in the box under my bed, that痴 where I keep all my valuables and you know what, Dan?  You are the only other person who knows it痴 there. Okay, I said I was sorry, didn稚 I? Cheees!  Well, what are you doing right now? Uh huh. Uh huh.  Well, can you come over and help me figure out this thing?  Yes, right now, not yesterday, but right-away. Can you?  Okay, good.  Come on over.

          He ought to get here pretty quickly. Uh, yeah, I can see him coming out of his side door. That痴 another thing. He lives right across the street, close enough to slip in here and be gone with that thing before I even knew it was gon....    Hey, Dan. How you doing, Danny boy.  Listen, don稚 give me that Danny boy crap.  Not after you accused me of taking that damn thing. I said I was sorry, Dan, what else do you want. I want a real apology, 笛immy boy, that痴 what.  You can kiss my ass, Jimmy boy. Of all the crap you致e blamed me for and now; well, now you call me a thief. Danny, Danny, I didn稚 call you a thief, man.  I called you a prankster. There痴 a big difference, son. I know you wouldn稚 steal anything, but you sure as he'll would cause me a little angst, now, wouldn稚 you?  Jim, I do joke around a little bit, and I値l accept you didn稚 mean to call me a thief, but it pissed me off, man.

          Come on Dan, help me figure this out. You know that thing has been in my shoe box forever, under my bed, pushed way back in the corner.  I probably pull the box out once or twice a year, look at the contents and sometimes even add something to it.  I do carry some things to show them now and then, but I'm pretty sure I didn't lose it, because I remember always putting it back. Well, when's the last time you looked at it?  Uh, uh!? Jimmy, as Judge Judy, says, 填h, is not an answer.  Well, let me think a minute, Dan. The last thing I put in there was that marble. You know, the one I bought from Bruce.  Yeah, I remember that one. It was kind of opaque and it has to be worth something. I think so. I mean, I gave him $10 for it.  I saw one like it that went for $25,000, but I don稚 think this one is worth that.  Wait.... Here it is. It痴 pretty, isn稚 it. I really ought to have it appraised. Anyway, it was in the box when I put this marble in there.  Hey... Do you think Bruce could have taken that little thing, thinking I didn稚 give him enough money for his marble, then get cold feet and put it where I壇 find it?  Jimmy, there you go again, blaming someone for stealing one of your valuable treasures. You know Bruce wouldn稚 do that, man. Danny, see what your pranks lead too?  Suspicion, which includes everyone. Ah, you are so full of crap! 
         Okay, Jim, now when was it you bought that marble? Uh, well, it had to be around April or May of last year. Okay then.... Did you put the marble in the box right away? Yeah, I did. Did Bruce come with you? No, I was alone.  I pulled the box out, then kinda looked through all my valuables. Did you take that piece out at that time? Yes, I did. I never get tired of looking at it. You know, I think more about the history of it than it痴 beauty and value. Do you realize that thing is near one-hundred-seventy-years old? I know, I know. It痴 valuable, but that's the reason no one would just lay it down on the ground, or leave it on the path so you could find it. Way too risky, Jim. No one would be that stupid.

          Now, here痴 a serious question for you, Jimbo. Could it have been in a pair of pants, or a shirt of yours, say, some clothes you just laid aside, and when you put them back on, the piece fell out of your pocket while you were walking that path?  That痴 a real stretch, Dan. No, it could not have been that, trust me.  I rarely carried it anywhere, but I guess I can't totally rule it out.  I've carried it a time or two to show it off, but I don't remember the last time I did it.  Okay then, did you put the box right back under your bed after you put the marble in?  Well, hell ye......  Well, let me think. Think, Jimmy, think!  Did you put it right back?  Well, I do remember, I got a phone call from Mike and had to go in the other room to take it, because it was on our land-line. Aha!  Okay, Jim, now how long did that conversation last? Oh, probably the better part of an hour. Now, did anyone have access to your room during that time? No, I locked it so the kids would stay out.  Well, is there any way, any person could have gotten in your room while you were on the phone?  No way, Dan. Did you talk with the kids about it? Yes, first thing, but I don稚 believe they could get into my room and anyway, I致e never told them about the shoe-box. 
          Boy, this is one big mystery, Jim, isn稚 it? No other way anyone could have come in here, huh? Well, I did have the window open and it doesn稚 have a screen, so it would be pretty easy for someone to climb in, steal the thing, then be gone in an instant. There you go again with the stealing thing. Look, your room is ground level, so someone could have come in the window pretty easily, couldn稚 they? Yes, they could. So you left the box out on your bed, right next to the window?  Yes, that痴 right at least I think I did. Well, they say you should recreate the scene of the crime, so get your box out and let痴 open it and put it on the bed near the window. Is it safe to say it could have been open that day and right near the window? Yes, it's possible.  
          Okay, now let痴 open the window and take a look outside to see if we see any footprints. I know it's been a while, but who knows?  Good idea, Dan. It's only been a year, so there could still be some footprints there? Come on, you're kidding, aren't you? Do you see anything? No, but let痴 go outside and look a little closer.  Let痴 go, but I am gonna lock my room just in case. See, it sure looks as if anyone wanting to get into your window would have to come right across the lawn, or else climb a pretty high fence.  I don稚 see any footprints, Jim, so it might have been an insid.......  Hey, Jimmy, Jimmy, take a look. A bird just flew in your window.  Let痴 close that window before he comes back out..  Oh, man, too late. What痴 he got? Dan, would you look at that? He痴 got Bruce痴 marble.  There he goes, let痴 follow him. Come on, get a move on.  He痴 headed across the field. Dan, you are not gonna believe this, but that rascal just flew into the bush next to the path where I found my money.  That痴 where I found my gold coin.  There痴 the culprit, Dan. Oh, look at all the crap that little guy has collected.  There痴 some pretty valuable stuff here, Jim. We best collect it and try to figure a way to find the owners.  Look at that! There痴 a diamond bracelet in there. Here痴 an Omega watch. Oh my God, look at this! Here痴 a..........

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