What happens when an ordinary person finds herself in an extraordinary situation? Well, that depends on da whimsy...
A Study in Da Whimsy
Innocent. Innocent. Innocent. How can a word that has three syllables be pounding in one’s head like a heartbeat? The heart only makes two beats audible to the human ear. I should know; I’m a CNA. Which was why it was weird that I was sitting in a police interrogation room with that one blessed word running circles in my brain like a deranged race-horse.
There were two of them in the room. One had identified himself as Officer Stewart and the other as Officer Dawson. They were the ones who had arrested me in the first place which I found confusing. I had always thought the guys in the uniforms turned their prisoners over to detectives for questioning. Of course, this being the first time I’d ever been arrested, I could’ve been wrong.
Maybe I should back up and explain.
My name is Jasmine Webb. If you walked by me on the street, you probably wouldn’t even look twice at me. I’ve got average dirty-blond hair, average blue-green eyes, average colored skin with average freckles. I’m average weight, average height… I’m a textbook average American citizen. Not really amazing and not really not. I work part-time at the little local hospital where I got a job a couple of months ago. For fun, I write, read and watch 1980’s cop shows. The only thing remotely special or unusual about me is my over-active imagination and a relatively childish psyche. I call it ‘da whimsy’. I think most people just call it weird and immature.
So this evening, I was going for a run, like I always do after supper, when my headlamp flashed on a dark lump on the sidewalk ahead of me. When I stopped to investigate, I discovered it was a ski mask. Not too unusual given that it was the middle of the winter and I was near a busy road. I figured someone must have gone skiing, stuck their mask on the bumper of their truck and forgot about it. So, being the good civic minded person that I am, I picked it up, intending to toss it in the nearest garbage can. I then resumed my run.
Next thing I know, someone has grabbed me from behind. I’m not going to lie, that scared me. I’m not given to screaming when I’m startled, but I’ll tell you, I did let out a squeak. A very loud squeak. Probably louder than I thought because I could hear it over the last measures of my running music blasting in my ear-buds.
I’m not a good fighter. I’ve never taken a self-defense class. I’ve never trained in a martial art. I get all my technique from watching movies and reading books. So when that hand clamped down on my arm, I immediately adopted the buzz-saw method. More accurately, I lashed out with anything and everything I had: kick, punch, elbow… I felt like I was having a lethal seizure.
My courageous, if disconcerted, attempt to defend myself lasted about three seconds. Then I found myself face down on the ground. My only consolation is that I hit something with my elbow hard enough to make my fingers tingle and elicit a grunt from my unseen attacker. However, there my elation came to an abrupt end, for as hard as I kicked and squirmed, I couldn’t manage to free myself. My earbuds had fallen out during the struggle and it wasn’t until I heard the distinctive clicking noise of handcuffs closing that I stopped to think about who I was fighting.
In my defense, I never really had the chance to face my opponents. And as the apparitional muggers, kidnappers and other vile criminals cleared from my mind, I caught flashing blue and red lights in my peripheral vision. Funny, I didn’t think muggers and kidnappers drove police cruisers. The pressure that had been pinning me to the icy cement let up and I rolled over. Hmmm, it wasn’t likely that muggers or kidnappers wore badges and carried Tasers either.
My rather belated hypothesis was that I had just been arrested. The fact that the taller one of the officers began to read the Miranda rights only cemented my conclusion.
For the entire ride to the police station, I was scared out of my bejabbers, as my aunt would say. Not exactly sure what bejabbers are, but I think they’re necessary to make a valid argument because I simply couldn’t put together a cognitive sentence to explain that I was in no manner related for the crime I was accused of. Luckily for me, shortly after the bejabbers left, da whimsy walked in and said, “Let’s blow this popsicle stand!”
As an aside to the dear reader, I’ve already said that I was blessed with da whimsy. However, I spent most of my life using a rather mild, everyday form of da whimsy. Pure and concentrated whimsy can be very harmful when applied to life in general. So it wasn’t until this particular incident that I had the chance to really see the full power of da whimsy in its unadulterated form.
Anyway, that is how I ended up in an interrogation room in a town I’d only just moved into. Apparently, a jewelry store had been robbed just down the street I’d been running on. The ski mask I picked up was used in the robbery. Folded into the mask was the bag that the thieves had stuffed their loot into and a pair of valuable diamond earrings had been stuck to the inside. (I did pause to contemplate that those thieves were going to be awfully disappointed about losing those.) So, to sum up, not only was I fleeing the scene of the crime with an accessory belonging to the perpetrators, but I was also carrying contraband. It was enough to make the two policemen ignore my protestations of innocence, which I would guess they hear a lot. That, and the fact that I kept running when they yelled for me stop, which was what Officer Stewart was asking me about now.
“So tell me why you didn’t stop when we called to you.” He said, sounding like he was talking to a drunk.
“You try and hear someone yelling at you when you’ve got ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ playing at full volume in your ears.” I snapped. Goodness, there goes that whimsy. I generally don’t talk to people like that-- much less law enforcement officers.
“There was no music playing when we stopped you.” Officer Dawson pointed out patiently. Their good cop, bad cop routine had not gone unnoticed by da whimsy. Really, they could have been more creative. But what can you expect from someone who doesn’t have da whimsy.
“I told you already.” Yes, I did roll my eyes like an exasperated teenager. Sometimes, when you’ve been sitting in a hard chair answering the same questions over and over again, you do things that don’t match your age. “It had just reached the end of my playlist when you jumped me. You can check my iPod if you want.”
“And how do you explain the mask and the stolen earrings?” Stewart demanded.
“I picked up the mask on the street where I assume the real robbers threw it.” I shot back. “I was going to deposit it in the nearest trashcan. I wouldn’t want to get fined for littering.”
He looked a little taken aback. Maybe he didn’t expect a hardened criminal like me to care about littering. Or maybe he just couldn’t think of anything to say to that.
“Can you prove that you just picked it up off the street?” Dawson asked.
“Yeah. I took a video of myself picking up trash. I was going to post it all over the internet, but you guys took my iPod.” I answered sarcastically.
“Can you prove that you were not in that jewelry store?” Dawson questioned again, still keeping his voice neutral. They may not have been very creative, but no one ever said they weren’t good actors.
“I ran right past the street it’s on.” I tried to tamp down da whimsy and speak in a normal, conversational tone of voice. “I run that way almost every morning. If you can find someone observant enough, they probably can substantiate my claims. I did not rob that jewelry store. I have no reason to! I’ve never even been in there!”
“Then why did you run?” Stewart interjected.
I stared at him, da whimsy shooting flames across the table. “We’ve gone over this. Do you suffer from intermittent memory loss?”
The two officers looked at each other helplessly. I think they were getting a little tired of da whimsy. I don’t blame them. People who are suddenly exposed to large, concentrated amounts of it are often left feeling like someone just filled their head with helium.
“Look.” I said, seeing that I was the only one capable of getting the conversation back off the ground where da whimsy had left it. “Pretty sure this is still America. And I’m supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. So why don’t you believe me?”
Dawson sighed. “Look.” He slid an iPad type thing across the table. There was a video on it that looked like a security feed from a jewelry store. Two people in masks were pointing guns at the woman behind the counter, who was filling a bag with jewels as fast as she could.
One of the thieves was obviously a woman and I realized that she was wearing a coat that was identical to mine. And she was wearing running pants. And she was about my size. No wonder they thought I did it. What are the chances? Maybe da whimsy has its own twisted sense of luck.
The video ended with the two miscreants running out of the store. I shoved the data pad away. “Ok, so it’s a really weird coincidence that I look like the person who robbed a jewelry store that I ran past. Next time I’ll put out a news bulletin telling everyone what I’ll be wearing and asking all criminals to please not dress like me. But I still didn’t do it!”
“It’s really only a matter of time before we can prove who was under that mask.” Dawson informed me. “The state crime lab can remove the mask with their new photo analysis program. It will go a lot easier on you if you just tell the truth now. Who is your partner?”
Now it was my turn to sit there and stare dumbly. Did they seriously think I was going to believe a story like that? Dawson had just shown the ever so weakest hint of da whimsy. He failed to recognize and take into account that he was playing with a master. Two could play at this game.
“Ok. Ok.” I held up my hands. “Fine. My partner is a guy by the name of Gulliver Isaac Bull.”
Stewart began scribbling down information on a pad of paper. “Got any idea where he lives?”
They were seriously falling for this? The prudent thing to do would have been to stop right there, but da whimsy doesn’t always do the prudent thing.
“It’s somewhere on Lollipop Lane.” I answered smartly. “Weird street name, but I don’t remember the house number.”
Stewart nodded seriously. I kept expecting them to get it, but the light-bulb just never came on.
“Did you know this Gulliver Bull before this heist?” Dawson queried.
I shook my head. “No. I’ve seen him around a lot though. We’ve got mutual friends and that’s how he got ahold of me for this job.” I was beginning to think the acquaintance Gull I. Bull and I shared worked in the police station.
“What does he look like?”
“You’re the one who’s got the fancy photo program. You figure it out.”
“You’d be doing yourself a huge favor if you just tell us. A judge will take cooperation into account during sentencing.” Dawson told me.
This was starting to sound like a script from a movie. How do you explain that? I mean, things that happen in the movies aren’t supposed to happen in real life. My only explanation is simply this: da whimsy.
Well, as long as da whimsy had gone this far in confessing my ‘crime’, I might as well keep going. I quickly searched my whimsy data banks for an appropriate person to describe as Gull I. Bull. No one came immediately to mind and I did want to make it easy on the poor guys. Maybe they’d finally pick up on the fact that I was taking them for the biggest ride of their career.
“Well, if it will get me out of here any faster…” I said after a pause. “He was several inches taller than me, probably about your size.” I nodded toward Officer Stewart. “He had brown hair and green eyes… Not too bad looking.”
Shame on you whimsy! You know I don’t flirt! Especially with the police officer who has no idea I’m describing him as a wanted man. On the other hand, at least he wasn’t wearing a wedding band. Pardon the rhyming pun.
“Does he have a car?” Stewart asked distractedly.
“If he did, he really would be a jerk, now wouldn’t he?” I said immediately. “He left me to flee the scene of the crime on foot, remember?”
Dawson looked at his partner and shrugged. He picked up the pad of paper and left.
“You might want to rethink the opportunity to call your lawyer.” Stewart said seriously, dropping the bad cop routine for the first time.
I shrugged. “My lawyer is also my brother-in-law and he’s on Christmas vacation. I’m not going to bother him when I know I’m innocent.” If he could quit playing detective, then I could tone down da whimsy.
He gave me a confused look. “But you just confessed.”
“No! Well, kind of. But… you…” I was momentarily at a loss for words. “Really?” I finally exploded incredulously. I thought for sure they’d have figured it out by now. I guess if you don’t have da whimsy and aren’t expecting da whimsy, you just won’t understand da whimsy.
Officer Stewart stared at me for a moment. My guess is that he was wondering if he should send me to the prison psycho ward. “You don’t have anyone else you want to call?” he said finally.
“I don’t really have any good friends in town. There is no one else to call.” I answered.
A flicker of something, maybe sympathy, showed in the policeman’s eyes. For the first time, I actually looked at him as a person instead of just the filling for a uniform. He was probably just a little over my twenty seven years, but the crew-cut and the uniform made him appear older. I did think he looked handsome in a serious, professional cop kind of way, although his lanky frame reminded me more of a cowboy for some odd reason. He seemed tired, like he was going to need a couple of gallons of coffee to get through the next hour.
I’ve worked at the hospital long enough to know the end-of-shift exhaustion signs when I see them. I almost felt bad about the amount of whimsy I’d been throwing at him, but he hadn’t given me any reason to suspect he couldn’t handle it. The fatigue would explain why he wasn’t catching any of the folderol I’d been spouting though. He wasn’t clueless. He was just tired and out-whimsied.
All of this was processed in a few seconds. Weird, because usually my processing speed is ten or twelve times that long. I guess da whimsy allows you to see straight into people sometimes. In any case, it was a significant change in the way I looked at Officer Stewart, though the poor man was clueless to this fact.
“Well come on then. Back to the holding cell until we can pick up your accomplice.” The sympathy was gone, as was the look of the weary. This guy was good. Open for two seconds, just long enough to be caught by the whimsy, and then back to the job at hand.
You can’t fool the whimsy though. It is impervious by definition. Or maybe it’s just impish. That’s the other thing about whimsy…. It’s indefinable.
The point being, I followed him back to the cell as meekly as… something very meek and obedient. I even walked inside without protest when he opened the door. Then the heavy metal door shut and a locking system clicked. I was in jail.
The whole walk from the interrogation room to the holding cell couldn’t have taken more than a minute, tops. But high-octane whimsy doesn’t appreciate being suppressed even for that long. As soon as the door closed, I was looking around.
“I think we’re ‘bout ready to check outta here.” Da whimsy said in my brain. Sometimes, it’s a little disconcerting having an entity that you’re not entirely sure belongs to you talking to you inside your head, but you get used to it if you’ve got da whimsy.
The door opened outward, a very good security feature. Not only do you not have to worry about hinges on the inside of the cell, but you don’t have to worry about someone getting behind the door when you’re trying to open it. Definitely no windows. One sink. One toilet. One cot, with a blanket.
I did a double take. Sure, in this little town, you didn’t need a real high-tech lock up, but a blanket? Big no-no. Even I knew that. I guess they didn’t need this room much except for drunks and hot-heads who probably would dry out or cool off (respectively) by the time they were moved. Still, it would probably be a good idea to have a…
“Aha!” I said out loud. There, mounted on the wall in the corner and protected by a wire cage, was the camera. I waved for the benefit of whoever might be watching. Another thing I wouldn’t do if I wasn’t high on da whimsy.
A further scan turned up nothing more interesting. I lay down on the cot with a sigh and stared at the ceiling. It was a perfect rectangle except for little square bite over the door, which really didn’t make much sense if… a plan hit me like an express train. Now I know how Colonel Hannibal Smith feels when a plan comes together. Pretty sure da jazz is only a variation on da whimsy anyway.
Back to the problem at hand, after having been struck by such inspiration, I was momentarily paralyzed. That was good because it wouldn’t do to have whoever was manning the camera see me react as if I’d been hit by lightning. My eyes darted around the room and the idea crystalized. I proposed problems and da whimsy answered them faster than I could breathe.
It was an absolutely ridiculous plan. It had a two to two hundred chance of succeeding. I wasn’t even sure if I had the physical prowess to pull it off. But what can I say? I was on da whimsy. Actually, at this point, it was more like da jazz.
I sat up and tugged the blanket off the cot with one hand, pulling my hair-tie out with the other. A couple of steps brought me to the sink mounted on the wall. Here came the hard part. I was only an average person with da whimsy, not an above average athlete. Turns out, even an average person can climb onto a sink with a one-and-a-half cubic foot area and balance there. It only took a couple of seconds to lean over and secure the blanket around the camera cage with the hair tie.
Knowing the clock was ticking before someone came to find out what was going on, I jumped down from the sink and bounded over to the door. Now, like I said earlier, the door opens out and there was no chance of me fighting my way out when they came in. But at some point the door must have opened inward because there was a space for it to do so. The space was the width of the door.
Now, I’m not a very strong person. I’m in pretty good shape. I like to run and I don’t eat a ton of junk food, but like I said, I’m not an Olympian. So it came as a great surprise to me when I found myself wedged near the ceiling in the top of that space above the door. I barely even thought about what I was doing as I pressed my hands and feet against the opposing walls and began to inch my way up.
I’d done it all the time as a kid, but then the doorframes had gotten shorter and I hadn’t practiced in a while. I guess it’s kind of like playing the piano: all muscle memory. Once you get started, it just sort of… comes back.
So there I was, legs and arms shaking as I held myself suspended. Let me tell you, I never hoped to see a police officer so hard in my whole life. It was a major relief when I heard the lock open and saw the light change when the door opened. Slowly, a policewoman came in, looking everywhere but up. I figured they would send at least one other person with her.
But why did they have to be in such an agonizingly unhurried mood? I was about to fall out of the sky and they’re just taking their own sweet time. Apparently, da whimsy doesn’t speed up the time in situations like this.
It was only after the policewoman finished checking under the cot (quite gingerly, I might add, to my dismay) that she called back into the hall. “She’s gone!”
I suddenly realized that if she turned around, she would notice me hanging there like an oversized spider. Luckily, the officer who was with her chose to enter the room quickly and da whimsy chose that moment to let me down.
I half fell, half jumped down on top of the second officer, knocking him flat. As I scrambled up, my eyes caught the shine of a key ring. I snatched it on reflex, like a raven who spots a sparkling diamond.
“They still use keys? No fancy-schmancy security cards?” Da whimsy mused as I was leaping out the door and slamming it behind me.
“Apparently.” I muttered as the door locked itself. Sparing no moment to wonder how my whimsy-permeated plan had worked, I turned and raced down the hall. I caught a flash of red from an exit sign above a door and my heart leapt.
“Closet.” Da whimsy whispered in my ear.
“What?” I almost yelped. “Why?”
“Because.” Da whimsy replied indignantly.
I didn’t have the time or the breath to explain to myself that ‘because’ just wasn’t a reason for anything, much less jumping into a closet in the middle of a daring escape. However, since the opportunity presented itself, I swerved to the side, yanked open the closet door and shut myself in. As I caught my breath, I heard pounding footsteps go past me.
“So now I’m fugitive.” I thought to myself. “Now what?” A thundering silence answered. “Oh criminently! I got this far and I have no clue!” And then da whimsy was back like a left jab from Joe Louis. I’d do the unexpected. I’d do that thing that would prove my innocence. I’d do da whimsy thing.
First thing I had to do was change my appearance. I looked around and found absolutely nothing. There were cleaning supplies aplenty but disguise options were nil. If I was MacGyver I probably would have been able to whip something up, but my whimsy was a little short in that department. So instead, I peeled off my jacket and stuffed it into a mop bucket. That jacket was what got me arrested in the first place, so it was a good riddance as far as I was concerned. There was nothing to be done about my windbreaker jogging pants, but I ran my fingers through my hair to give it some semblance of order.
The sheer whimsy of what I was doing caught up with me and I smothered a laugh. Here was a dangerous, wanted criminal primping in the cleaning closet of a police station. What had my nice peaceful evening at home come to? Da whimsy.
I grabbed a broom and a cleaning bucket, listening with bated breath for the sounds of anyone who might be waiting outside. Hearing nothing, I boldly stepped out and strode away from the exit, turning away from the holding cell at the first hall I came to.
In accordance to da whimsy, my plan went no farther than to stay in the building somehow, for some reason and for an unspecified amount of time. I had no idea where I was going, having never been in the police station before. So I idly walked forward, trying to look like I knew where I was going. I found myself in the office section and realized that there was a better chance of being spotted here.
As I was thinking this, two things happened simultaneously. First, I spotted the sign for a women’s bathroom. Second, I heard a familiar voice up ahead. The first point being of more relevance and more useful than the second, I immediately ducked into bathroom entrance. It was one of those ‘s’ bend hallways that drive me nuts because you feel like Theseus going to find the Minotaur when you walk in to use the facilities, but in this case it turned out to be very helpful. I could hide behind the corner and hear everything Officers Stewart and Dawson said.
“How could she escape?” That was Dawson, sounding both perplexed and frustrated.
“I’m telling you, there’s something not quite right about this one.” Stewart said. I silently nodded in approval of his assessment.
“She’s either really sharp, or a few steers short of a full herd, if you take my meaning.” Stewart continued, sounding very much like the cowboy I had imagined him as.
“Or a little of both.” Dawson grumbled. “Hey wait a second. Forgot my lid.”
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll have to come back here anyway.” Stewart told him.
How fortuitous. I risked peeking around the corner just in time to see Stewart shutting the door to an office. Both men were facing away from me. I pulled back as they started walking away. Now this was truly perfect. My sense of whimsy would be satisfied and I might even get to prove myself innocent. All I had to do is wait until the hall was clear…
Within a few second, there was no one in sight. I left the broom and the cleaning bucket in the bathroom, scrambled across the hall to the door and eased it open. What I found was a fairly normal looking, although small, office complex with a few crowded cubicles. An empty office complex. Apparently there was more crime in our little town than I had first thought. Or they were all out looking for me.
I quietly closed the door behind me and started walking through the maze. All I had to do is find the lid… Bingo. One cubicle had a policeman’s hat lying on one of the two extra chairs. I entered and sat down in the rolling chair in front of the computer. The screen was black and there were papers on the desk. A framed picture of a man, woman and two little kids sat in one corner. A mason jar held pencils and a few odds’n’ends. A stained coffee cup with a western mural on it was shoved to one side. Da whimsy could’ve told me that this was Stewart’s space even without the hat.
A glance at the report by the keyboard told me by some means other than whimsy I was in the right place. Not only did it detail the jewelry store robbery, it had Officer Stewart’s name at the top. Detective Stewart? Interesting. Well, since I had time to kill and since I was already in trouble, I might as well do some light reading.
It was barely twenty minutes before the office door opened and two pairs of boots stomped in.
“She’s gotta be somewhere in the building.” Dawson said insistently.
“We underestimated her before.” Stewart said grimly.
At that very moment, they both rounded the corner and were able to see into the cubicle. It stopped them cold. I folded my arms and grinned at them whimsically. Jaws dropped. Eyes grew wide in astonishment and suspicion. I’m pretty sure Stewart’s hand dropped to rest on his sidearm for a few seconds. Da whimsy exploded slowly, like a flower opening to the morning sun.
“Lose something guys?” Da whimsy and I chorused.
“What are you doing here?” Dawson said very slowly.
“Well let’s talk about that.” I leaned forward suddenly and both men backed up a pace. Ha. Da whimsy is scary when you don’t understand it. “Did you find Gull-i-bull?”
“Gullible.” Stewart said flatly. “It took a couple minutes.”
“Who lives down Lollipop Lane.” I responded in a sing-song voice. “Or is it Sucker Street? And he happens to look a lot like any other American male, including you.”
“Lying to an officer of the law about a crime is a serious offence.” Dawson tried to regain some ground. And some dignity, I would suspect.
“Insulting a suspect’s intelligence should also be an equally serious offence.” I argued. “Did you really expect me to believe that you could unmask a person with a photo analysis program? You started it!”
All the hot air went right out of Dawson.
“I’m still innocent.” I went on. “And that’s why I’m still here. If you ask enough questions around town, you’ll find out that I haven’t the motive or the character to rob a jewelry store. Plus, you’re wasting your time looking for local talent in this job.”
“Really.” Stewart sounded almost amused. “Why is that?”
“Because they stole jewelry, not just money.” I answered boldly.
Stewart looked a little more interested. “Explain yourself.”
“It’s just like writing a story. You have to take all the elements into account.” I began. “So I wrote a story of this case. The robbers burst into the jewelry store. It’s a good time for them to hit because it’s close to Christmas and everyone has been shopping at pretty much the only specialty jewelry store in town. So they demand all the money in the register. That’s a lot of dough. Why aren’t they satisfied with that? No, they’re human and they’re greedy and they want more. So they take the jewelry too. Then they make their escape while you guys are busy arresting me.” Here I paused to glare at the two in front of me. “Anyway, they escape and they get home and they’re rejoicing over their loot…. Until they realize that they can’t get rid of the jewelry. There’s nowhere to fence it where it won’t be hot in a town this small.”
“Where’d you learn to talk like that?” Dawson interrupted.
“Ironside. Adam-12. Dragnet. Hawaii 5-O. A lot of places.” I shrugged. “Point being, anyone smart enough to rob the store and get away wouldn’t take jewels unless they knew they could get rid of them easily.”
“So you’re saying to look for connections.” Stewart concluded.
I applauded. “Yes. Which I don’t have. Neither do I have a bag full of money waiting for me, otherwise I would have run straight out the exit when I had a chance.”
“And straight into the men who were responding to the alarm you triggered when you escaped.” Stewart finished, his face expressionless.
I deflated. “Oh.”
“But you didn’t leave when you thought you had the chance and that will work in your favor.” Stewart finished. “Unfortunately, you have to go back now.”
“Yeah, I know.” I sighed.
“Stand up slowly and put your hands on the desk.” He instructed.
I obeyed and was promptly searched and cuffed. Again.
“There’s just one thing I’ve gotta know.” Stewart stated as he escorted me back to the holding cell. “Why did you break out in the first place if you weren’t going to go anywhere and knew we would eventually find you innocent?”
“Da whimsy.” I answered immediately.
“What?” The officer sounded more bewildered than ever.
“Da whimsy.” I repeated. “It’s like da jazz only less… violent. That’s how I figured out how to escape. That’s why I stayed in the building. That why I ended up in your office. That’s how I came up with Gull I. Bull on Lollipop Lane. Da whimsy.”
“That still doesn’t make sense.”
“Da whimsy. It doesn’t make sense. It operate outside the bounds of logic and normal thought patterns.”
“I see.” He didn’t.
“The only way you could understand it is if you have it.” I explained. “Don’t worry about it.”
“I won’t.” Stewart said firmly as he opened the door to the holding cell. He didn’t bother to remove the handcuffs this time.
Smart idea. You can’t really trust da whimsy.
To make a long story a little shorter, I’ll skip the hours of waiting in the cell. I did notice that they removed the blanket. They’re getting used to da whimsy. Eventually, a man who I suppose was a high-ranking officer in the police department came and apologized profusely for me being arrested and sternly scolded me for running away all at the same time. The result was a very mixed up speech that equalized itself and left me feeling like a naughty angel. Yes, that was an oxymoron, in case you’re wondering. It was a very oxymoronic discourse.
Anyway, apparently there had been a rash of jewelry store robberies along one particular highway and, a few days later, they caught a man and woman holding up a store in the next town down the road. Their trunk was full of jewelry, which both proved my theory that they had a contact in the fencing business and cleared my good name.
Well, the story could end there. We could chalk this up as another one of those wild flings that happens to ordinary people every once in a very rare while. It was a three hour wonder at the most.
Except for one thing. Da whimsy.
Fast forward ninety-six hours. Christmas Day. I’m sitting at home, staring disconsolately at my scraggly tree and wishing that da whimsy would kick in today. But there is no reason for it to. I don’t have anyone to spend Christmas with and even the hospital is quiet today. The closest I’m coming to a Christmas dinner is a ham sandwich because I’m too cheap to go all out on a meal that I won’t be able to eat all by myself anyway. I’m bored and I feel lousy.
Then, lo and behold, a knock at my door. I unfolded myself from my chair and answered. Imagine my shock to find Officer Stewart at my door.
“Miss Webb?” He said uncertainly. “Do you remember me?”
Um, duh. You were one of the main characters in the biggest adventure of my entire life. Out loud I said, “Yes, Officer Stewart, right?”
“Right.” He smiled a little. “This is very irregular but… well…”
I could feel da whimsy revving up. “Come on. Just say it.” I coaxed.
“We have a problem.” Stewart admitted finally. “A case that requires more… creative thinking to understand. I remembered what you said about your…” He paused, looking for the word.
“Whimsy.” I supplied.
“Yes. That. I suggested your whimsy to the commissioner when we got stuck. He agrees. Said that anyone who could find a way to get out of jail might be able to put someone else into jail.”
“So you want me to be a detective?”
Stewart rubbed his chin. “Well, not so much a detective as a special advisor. A fresh perspective.”
“I’m sold!” I said enthusiastically. “When do you need me?”
“I hate to pull you away from your Christmas celebrations, but…” he said hesitantly.
“My beta fish will be terribly disappointed that I can’t open my present from it.” I said sarcastically as I grabbed my new coat from the hook in the entryway.
“No friends or family to spend the holidays with?” Stewart looked surprised.
“Nope.” I said stoically.
“That’s just not right.” He muttered under his breath as I shut and locked my door.
I whirled around and looked up into his eyes. He met my gaze equally. I felt a side of da whimsy that I’d never known before. And what’s more, I think he was feeling it too. The air was filled with a whimsy magic. It was an amazing connection for about ten seconds. Then it was just awkward. I felt my face turning colors as I studied the wood grain on the porch.
“You can ride in with me.” Stewart said. “Or you can take your own car, if you want.” Oddly enough, he seemed to have caught da whimsy very quickly all of a sudden, because when I looked up, he was grinning at me.
I looked at my little old beat-up car in the driveway and shivered thinking about how long it would take to warm up. “I think I’ll take you up on your offer, if you don’t mind Officer Stewart.”
“Come along then.” He turned back to where the police cruiser was idling. “My name is Texas Stewart, by the way.” He tossed back. “And since you’re riding in the front this time, you can call me Tex like everyone else does.”
“Texas. Tex. I knew he was a cowboy.” Da whimsy said. I shushed it.
“Alright. My friends call me Jazz.” I replied, hurrying to catch up.
Tex halted as he opened the driver’s door of the car. “Jazz. Nice. It suits you.”
And da whimsy made me feel all sappy and warm inside as I slid into the passenger’s side of the patrol car.
Months have passed. Little did I know that it wasn’t the first time I’d be climbing into a police vehicle to ride down to the station and help unravel a particularly tangled crime. When the world is short on whimsy, sometimes it just take someone with a lot of it to see how to fix a problem. Tex and Billy Dawson both made great strides in learning to avoid being suckered by da whimsy and neither of them had any more run-ins with Gull I. Bull. In fact, Tex got so addicted to da whimsy we shared that Christmas day that he decided he might like to try living with it. So a few weeks ago, he asked me to marry him. And da whimsy didn’t even give me a chance to think about it. It practically screamed, “YES! YES!” And I couldn’t think over all that noise, so I said yes too. He says that we’re even now because he’s got da Jazz.
And that is how I went from getting arrested in my running clothes to wearing a white dress (like the one I’m in right now) and marrying a police detective. How do you even reconcile the crazy stuff that happened in between with a logical reality?
What can I say? It was da whimsy!