My Own Private O.J. Incident


By Sherri Caldwell

(A reference in honor, I think, of having just read, and obviously still under the mesmerizing influence of Dominick Dunne's book "JUSTICE: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments," a good portion of which is crime and trial coverage of the other, better-known O.J. incident.)

It started with a smell. One of THOSE smells (really bad) in the back hallway by the door to the garage. It hit me every time I went through on my way out, and then again when I came back in. I sniffed around, but I couldn't figure out what it was; or where, exactly, it was coming from. So I bought new air fresheners for the closet (where the shoes are kept), the half-bath (where the kids brush their teeth on the way out every morning) and the laundry room (which has a diaper pail and is always a little stinky anyway). It didn't solve the problem, but it covered it up for a couple of days with the vibrant smell of super-strength disinfectant floral.

Then it was the shoe. Haleigh's new Barbie sandal, discovered oozing with a sticky brown mess all over the inside. Whatever it was, it was also on the closet floor, but we were running out the door on our way somewhere, so I didn't have time to investigate, I just grabbed a box of wipies to clean her shoe (easier said than done--this stuff was really icky-sticky gross!).

Upon further investigation later that day, I discovered the orangish-brown sticky mess was all over the floor, all over the kids' jackets on the lower rack, all over the plastic three-drawer storage bin we keep in the closet for winter hats and gloves. The drawers have clear plastic fronts--I could see orange sticky goo all over the gloves and hats, pooled in the front of the first drawer. This was going to take some serious clean-up. Not even Glene, our wonderful once-a-week housekeeper would tackle this mess. (She comes on Friday, anyway, and, unfortunately, it was only Tuesday.)

I still hadn't figured out what it was or what had happened. The kids were not at home during this investigation, lucky for them. I got the floor cleaner, disinfectant spray and some paper towels, which proved to be woefully inadequate for the job, as I soon discovered.

I started cleaning from the floor up, pulling out coats, jackets, sweaters, hats and gloves that would all have to be washed. I pulled the little storage unit out away from the back wall, out from under the coats and jackets hanging on the upper rack...and discovered the body, so to speak: a travel cup of juice, at one time orange juice, with a lid even, but the drinking flap was open and the cup had fallen over. The sticky guts of the cup, in quantity, had spilled out onto the top of the storage unit, overflowed down the front, into the drawers, onto the floor, splashing and subsequently goo-ing everything in the vicinity. Then I noticed the bottoms of the coats and jackets that were hanging on the upper rack--MY coats and jackets--all hanging in the puddle; expensive, dry-clean-only items, hems saturated with the mess.

I'm no forensic scientist. I was unable to determine how long the remains had been there, when the incident might have taken place. I couldn't even fingerprint to determine who had done it. Luckily for them, they were all gone. I had no one to cross-examine or interrogate. Yet another crime committed by the infamous and elusive "Wuzntme". I don't know this person, but my children certainly do. Apparently, he/she is the fourth child I never knew I had...

One thing I know for sure: "Wuzntme" is in for a grounding for life whenever he/she shows up...he/she has to show up eventually; they all do, for food, money, to tattletale on one of the others... Boy/girl, is he/she/it going to get IT!

C 2003 Sherri L. Caldwell and The Rebel Housewife, LLC. All rights reserved.

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