“Ok Chauncey, let’s run through this one more time, and no more lies. I want straight answers, dammit.” The detective slammed his fist on the scarred wooden table dramatically and it took every ounce of self-restraint not to burst out laughing. Poor man, I couldn’t really fault him for being upset, if I were in his poor-fitting loafers I’d be mad as hell too. And if it were me, there wouldn’t be the slightest chance I would believe one word I had just said. This last thought instantly sobered my mood, and I wondered if there was any way of loosening this web I had somehow managed to get tangled up in.
Looking around the interrogation room, I knew my chances of getting out of this unscathed were as likely as my detective friend here suddenly belting out a few bars of a Spice Girls song.
“I’ve got all night, pal,” the detective said, interrupting the amusing image of his imaginary self singing next to Posh and Scary Spice. Man, this guy was really taking a page out of “Interrogations: 101, A Detective’s Guide”. Next he’ll start putting cigarettes out on my forearm. Ok, time to stop screwing around…come on Chauncey, baby, think!
“My apologies detective, should I run it from the top, then? Right. Ok, well, like I told you and the officers before you, I was at work, in my office when I received the message.”
“The email from another ‘time’, you mean?” the detective interrupted me and made silly little quotation marks with his fingers as he said the word ‘time’.
“Yes. That was when I received the email. As I normally do each morning after grabbing a cup of coffee in the break room, I sat down at my desk and started going through my email. That’s when I saw it. It was time stamped as being sent yesterday around 6pm or so and it was from an email account I know to be inactive,” I rubbed the bridge of my nose and tried to remember the exact phrasing of the email. It wasn’t difficult. Then again, it wasn’t every day you received an email from your best friend who you knew to be dead for a year now.
“And you’re sure it wasn’t somehow sent by someone else who had access to the account? Maybe someone playing a practical joke?” the detective almost seemed like he believed me.
“No, impossible. The email account was deleted after his death; I was the one who deleted it, at his wife’s request… Judith was never very good with computers. I know it sounds crazy, but it sounded like Tom. It was an email reply to a message I sent him a year ago, the day he died actually. It had the same writing patterns, made references to things only he and I knew and the same stupid sign off he always used at the end, TTFN,” I couldn’t help but smile at the memory.
“TTFN? What in God’s name is that, some kind of weirdo code or something?” the detective had reverted back to his ‘ball-buster’ persona.
“No, nothing like that. Tom was big into Winnie the Pooh, ever since his days of working at the Magic Kingdom as a teenager. TTFN stands for Ta Ta For Now, it’s something Tigger would say, kind of like saying goodbye in cartoon land,” damn it, Tom, you’re still getting me in fixes and you’re worm food.
“And you want me to believe that this email from your dead friend told you to go to the Wildwood Cemetery and chop down that tree where the remains of little Suzy Day, missing these ten years now, just happened to be buried? Is that really the story you’re sticking to, guy?” the detective was past ‘ball-buster’ and was borderline irate. His right hand twitched and I could feel the tension as he struggled to keep from smashing my face in.
This wasn’t going well, and if I kept telling the truth it was bound to get worse. I couldn’t very well tell him that Tom had replied to an email I sent the day he died from beyond the grave. And to do what? Find a missing girl’s remains, someone I only knew from news headlines and MISSING posters? None of it made sense. Maybe I was crazy.
“I don’t know what else I can tell you, detective. That is the truth, I’m sorry to say,” I felt a growing knot in my lower intestine. Worst case scenario I was going to be charged and tried for the heinous kidnapping and murder of an innocent 10-year-old girl. Best case scenario, I was insane.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: I received an odd email today at work. It was from our former office assistant, who’s been retired now for almost six months. As I read the email, I was completely mystified. Why had she sent it? Was she still checking her work email account (which I had assumed was disabled once she left) and if so, to what end? And what the heck was she talking about? None of it made sense. After scrolling down, I saw that her email was actually a response to an email sent from my account… one year ago. So was she just now getting to that email? Had it been sent a year late? Was she just tying up loose ends? Did she think that I had sent it yesterday, instead of year ago? Did someone else send it from her account? Or was email becoming the new snail mail? Strangeness abounds.
Love & Squirrels.