C.S.I. Xenia, or The Curse of Modern Television

It’s true what people say about localized crime, whether it be burglaries, vandalism, home-invasion or the more capital of crimes: you really don’t get the full effect unless you’re involved personally.  God forbid it should happen to you, but if it does, it’s amazing how quickly you can transform into a CSI detective.  Not until the advent of the CSI shows did anyone honestly believe that DNA analysis could possibly convict them of anything. Like the characters in the shows always say, you always bring something to a crime scene and you always leave something behind.

Tragically, we had a murder (though I doubt it was pre-meditated) at my apartment complex yesterday.  I awoke this morning to find that one of my perfectly-pampered mums had been completely slaughtered in the overnight hours.  Obliterated is probably a more accurate term, but the effect and outcome were the same.  At first I blamed “those g__damned local kids” who regularly smash pumpkins in the neighborhood and squirt yellow paint on the cars.  I figured that someone had smashed the planter with a really well-heeled boot (because sneaky me had pre-drilled extra holes in the sides of the planters so that I could thread strong twine through them so as to tie them to the juniper shrubs and prevent easy theft….like I said, sneaky me).

Naturally, I just assumed it was the random crime of idiot pranksters. However, once I did the forensic clean-up and the subsequent site assessment, I noticed (from a slightly elevated position) the adjacent and rather distinctive markings of a tire tread within the juniper patch.  Yes, I grabbed a tape measure and determined the size of the wheelbase, the approximate tire size and an approximation of the undercarriage clearance.  I mean, nobody would have intentionally driven forward into the juniper shrubs (they’re dangerous to everything mechanical on the underside of a vehicle).  Therefore, someone was moving in reverse when they swerved a whopping nine-and-a-half feet into the offending (and offensive) shrubbery.  I determined that the culprit was NOT a car driver, as most cars have only a six-to-ten-inch underside clearance and the junipers have a vertical height of at least sixteen inches.  Enter something bigger than a passenger car.

John, one of my neighbors, drives a Jeep, and would be the prime suspect were it not for the fact that he always parks in the spot just in front of the crime scene (except on Fridays when he’s out participating in the local singles scene).  Of course, this murder took place on a Friday evening or night and I really am clueless when it comes to the happenings at the apartment complex on Friday nights because I’m old and boring.

So, like any of the best of the CSI’s, I canvassed the neighborhood looking for a possible late-night delivery from a step-van or rental-furniture company—because you really don’t want to think of any of your neighbors as being stupid enough to slaughter anything so pretty in their own driveway!!  Any idea where this is going?  Okay, no master of suspense me, I do happen to have a neighbor whose girlfriend drives an old SUV with a sixteen-inch ground clearance (high enough, but not definitive).  However, like most of the criminals on the CSI shows, she failed to “police her brass” (y’know…pick up her shell casings at the scene) and I spotted embedded red button-shaped petals with bright yellow centers in her tire treads today when she parked her weapon.

Hope springs eternal that someone will replace the eviscerated mum — me, I scooped up the detritus and attempted to re-pot the strands with little hope that it will produce anything more than a dried-up brown mum.  I mean, the poor thing was cannibalized; that planter weighed about eight pounds and was made of an allegedly-indestructible resin — the girlfriend and her weapon literally killed it. I’m just sorry that she didn’t get a flat tire in the process — ’cause that plastic had some really sharp edges on the shards.

See?  Save for CSI (or maybe Quincy, M.D.), I’d have never thought to look at the physical evidence in plain sight to discover the obvious malice around me.  Now, I’m on the verge of thinking like an assassin — hunting for some means of stopping her from annihilating the other three mums: police stop sticks? A box of nails? Maybe hiring some of the local kids to jack her car up on cinder blocks and steal her wheel hubs?  I’ve identified the perp, I just don’t have a plan.  Any suggestions? Don’t answer that question — it was rhetorical. I know that the answer lies in good communication and being an adult in this situation — but it would be so much more fun to play the embedded assassin.

But, really, where’s the comedic value in maturity?  Where’s the Whoopee Cushion? The fake plastic vomit?  The farting dog?  C’mon – nothing beats a dog fart.  I’m at that age when I ought to be able to laugh myself sick with an unexpected dog fart.  But a dog fart won’t stop my neighbor’s girlfriend from killing off the flora. Really, I am completely harmless — I can’t bring myself to do the vandalism-thing — however, something that appears to be an act of God would be entirely different…

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