My Japanese Beetles Come Home To RoostPosted: July 22, 2013
It started with a text message from my work partner, Cliff – “signing Baker up for power wheelchair information was good stuff.”
The guy he’s referring to, Baker, works hard. But he always seems to be undergoing some sort of surgery. It’s never anything horrific, just normal wear and tear for an 80-year-old man. Baker is in his early thirties. So, in the dark humor of my office, sending Baker’s name in to get informational mailings about power wheelchairs is hysterical.
I knew from the message that the prevailing opinion in the office was that I was responsible for sending Baker’s name in. I called Cliff and asked what happened. He laughed and described Baker’s reaction to the big glossy packets of wheelchair information he’d gotten. Then I broke the news to him. I had nothing to do with this joke.
He roared with laughter. “You are such a liar”, he said, “this must be your work”. “It isn’t, I really had nothing to do with this one” I told him. He laughed even harder, and repeated his accusation that I was a liar, with an added word that I won’t say here because my mother might read it.
I couldn’t convince him that I really had no idea who had pulled off the wheelchair mailing list joke. He was certain I was the prankster and told me so. I began to have flashbacks of my high school Italian teacher wrongly accusing me of sabotaging her yearly slide show, yearly. My only defense was denial.
I Stand Accused
Cliff skillfully prosecuted his case against me. I knew he did not have any physical evidence against me because I was (and am) innocent. He had a strong circumstantial case and fired off a series of questions:
“Have you ever rigged anyone’s desk to sing “Superfreak” whenever the desk drawer was opened?”
“And you’ve done the same thing to the Lieutenant?”
“But you used the same technique.”
“Yes I did.”
“Tied streamers and cans to the bumper of a police car?”
“Stolen a police car?”
“Which police car?”
“Filled anyone’s office with cardboard boxes?”
Oma Strikes Back
I acknowledged the cardboard stunt, then went on the attack with the only defense I had: “I really had nothing to do with this power chair thing. You know I tell you when I do something and you ask me.” Cliff cracked. “I know. This one’s good though, it looks like your work. You say it isn’t. OK.”
Ahhh, vindication. Or, so I thought.
“Let me ask you about one other from a long time ago. I went to the captain’s office one morning a few years ago. Someone had taken all the pictures out of his office and replaced them with a painting. He was trying to figure out how it happened. Today, in roll call, people were telling me about a painting that you hated and how they never found out where it went. That was the painting in the captain’s office. You redecorated, didn’t you?”
I admitted to that.
“You lured hundreds of Japanese beetles into someone’s car.”
“Yes, but that was a long time ago.”
“The phone message you like to leave in people’s boxes to call Mr. Bass…what phone number do you put on it for them to call?”
“The number for Modern Fish Market.”
I Want All Of You To Know I Really Did Not Do This
Things looked dire, yet it felt like he was about to let me off the hook. We chatted a moment about a meeting he’d been in and a few other things. I should have known he would finish his argument.
“Why’d you stop?”
Cliff knew the answer and so did I. The question was a fatal blow to the case for my innocence…even though I was not part of the power wheelchair stunt. I said “I stopped because he transferred and I can’t get to his laundry anymore.”
“OK dude, its your day off. I just wanted you to know I thought the wheel chair gag was great. Good job, I’ll talk to you next week.”
I stand wrongly accused because of my past deeds.