One of the things I liked about being the police, was that every day was different; everyday had the potential for adventure. One summer day I got the call that an ambulance needed assistance entering a house. I activated my lights and siren, and headed, full speed, into the unknown.
Upon my arrival, I saw that the ambulance crew had broken into the house to attempt save the elderly woman lying on the living room floor. Talk about bad breaks; she had already died from a heart attack hours before the EMTs were notified by a neighbor. All that was left to do was to clean up the area, secure the house, and notify the next of kin.
In this case, that was going to be the challenge. It seems that the daughter had gone to Germany on a two-week vacation. While she was vacationing, her father had also succumbed to the wounds of life, and passed on. There were no other relatives in the area, and no other siblings to contact, she was an only child. The neighbor told us that the daughter was to arrive home from her trip that evening.
Talk about a challenge. Well, since I was told that the daughter still lived at home, I at least knew her final destination, so to speak. The first I needed to do was find out what flight she was on, where, and when, she would be arriving. I noticed the answer machine flashing, patted myself on the back, case closed. Obviously, the daughter was calling mom to let her know when to expect her home.
Of course, when I hit play she was speaking German. German? I did not panic, there was a deputy on the force that spoke German. I would simply call him, he’d translated, and I’d be out for coffee and donuts in less than half an hour. Little did I know that there are different types of German; much like there are different type of English. You know, there’s American English and the Queen’s English. There’s a whole different language in New York, then there is in Biloxi, Mississippi. Need I even mention Pittsburghese? I should think not yinz guyz.
So, plans A and B were shot to hell. WWIC do? (What would Inspector Clouseau do?)
It would seem the daughter would have left a note, ticket information, or a phone number for her parents, given that they were at death’s door. I begin systematically searching the living room, kitchen, and dining room looking for anything that might ease my pain. Nothing.
I headed upstairs; bathroom, clean, I took a five-minute constitutional, to think. After completing the necessary paperwork, I continued my search. Small office, nothing; daughter’s bedroom, nothing, well nothing I will discuss here, it was a thorough search. Into the parent’s room. Jackpot!!
There, next to the bed a mahogany jewelry box. Where else would you stick important papers? I scurried around the king sized, poster bed, and skidded to a stop in front my pot of gold. I gently picked it up, looking for a door, drawer, or lid. Nothing. It was weird. It was smooth, impenetrable. I stared at my reflection in the dark brown mahogany, perplexed, and noticing I needed a shave. I began to poke, push and pull, looking for a secret latch to open the mysteries of the box. Nothing.
I sat on the edge of the bed, mu feet dangling six inches above the floor, confounded by that damn box. After several minutes, I jumped to the floor and grabbed my tormentor, pulling ferociously at the top of the box. I pull that son of a bitch off with my bare hands. Suddenly, the lid gave and black smoke engulfed the room. I began choking on thick smoky ash. What the fuck? They burned the shit?
There to my right, on the floor, under the bed, an envelope. Finally; I reached down, grasp it and opened it, with soot covered hands. Fuck. I was wearing the remains of Wolfgang Schmidt, who had passed into the Fatherland two weeks ago, and now had the company of his recently departed wife. Don’t they put people in urns for that shit? Well, what’s an officer of the law to do? Right. Vacuum, and dump the bag into the box, super glue it back together, and sit outside and wait for the daughter to arrive, and give her the bad news.
Strange, when she pulled up several hours later, she told me she had a dream about two coffins, and thought of her parents. The both died during her two week stay in Germany. It was funny, she also dreamed her dad had put on some weight while she was gone. If she only knew…