December 28, 2008

The Usual Suspects: A Mystery in Three Acts

Hart has been here for a few days. It's been a lovely visit and I had fallen into a reverie about having both boys living here again. Maybe it wasn't as difficult as I remember. Or, perhaps they are older now and more reasonable. Suddenly, there was a bit of a hue and cry.

Act I

A Heinous Crime Occurs

H: My money is gone! Someone has stolen my spending money!

L: Really? Where was it? Have you looked everywhere? I had it in my purse yesterday, so I know how much you have.

H: It's missing. Here, look at the envelope.

L: Hmmm. Well, it wasn't Inky and it wasn't me. So that leaves only one person capable of committing this crime.

H: It was Jeff!

L: How did Jeff know you have money? Did you tell him where it was?

H: No.

L: Did you tell him you brought spending money?

H: Well, yes.

Act II

The Defendant is Questioned

L: Hart says his money is missing? Do you have it?

J: Yes. He told me to take it.

L: Really? That was very wrong. That money belongs to Hart. I remind you that you two are not allowed to make trades or have any financial transactions without adult supervision. You are to return the money and make an apology.

J: Never!


All is Resolved

L: This is odd. Jeff says you offered him the money. Why would he say that?

H: I thought it, but I didn't say it.

L: You earned this money, you have to save your receipts and account for how you spent it before you turn it back in for safekeeping. Why did Jeff think you offered it?

H: I said it quietly. I didn't mean it.

L: I am just offering a suggestion. It's your money and you should keep it to yourself and not tempt Jeff with it. I don't think he is trustworthy.

H: (bangs table) Shut up! Shut up! Quit talking! You are annoying me. It's not my fault!


From the time the boys could talk it was ever thus. Some disaster would occur and I would ask for an accounting. Jeff always said, "It wasn't me. I didn't do anything." Then Hart would say, "Jeff told me to do it." As the boys got older, the situations became more complex and nuanced. I don't really believe that Jeff stole the money outright, nor do I believe Hart engineered a setup. Hart probably boasted about his stash and Jeff most likely cajoled and wheedled it out of him. However, as always, the one person everyone is mad at, the one who is most aggravated, "dissed" and put out, invariably, is ME.

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