#6: The Case of the Sloppy Brusher
Several weeks ago the shut-ins’ chore wheel indicated it was their roommate Angela’s turn to clean the bathroom. She did an excellent job and everyone admired the gleaming sink. But within twenty minutes, Angela’s work had been besmirched by toothpaste smears and whitish spittle. Who was the sloppy brusher?
No one had left the apartment, so the perp was still on the premises. Jenny and Peter ruled out themselves because they brush very infrequently. This left two suspects: Angela and their other roommate, Daniel. Daniel swore he hadn’t brushed his teeth yet; Angela swore she’d brushed hers before she’d cleaned the sink in the first place.
“One of you is lying,” Peter announced. “In order to ascertain which, I will use the science of forensics. Please allow me to smell your breath.” The suspects obliged. Angela’s proved minty; Daniel’s, quite stale. “Now, do I have your permission to finger your toothbrushes?” The suspects refused, so Peter pretended he had to use the facilities and handled the brushes in privacy. Angela’s was damp, as expected, but so was Daniel’s. Traces of toothpaste on his brush matched that in the sink. Yet Daniel’s breath indicated he hadn’t brushed at all. What was going on?
Peter remained in the lavatory for quite some time. When he emerged, he revealed the solution. “Angela and Daniel, you are both telling the truth, and the crime is more heinous than originally feared. Daniel’s brush was the weapon, but the criminal is none other than my dear cousin Jenny. She used your brush and I suspect she’s been making a habit of it.” A sniff of Jenny’s breath confirmed Peter’s theory. The sorry episode concluded when Daniel gave Jenny his sullied toothbrush and a very stern rebuke.
#7: The Case of the Overlong Bathroom Tenure
Status: Investigation Suspended
One quiet afternoon, Peter and Jenny were peacefully tatting a tablecloth when the doorbell rang. It was Mr. E—-, a casual acquaintance. He visited with the detectives for a few moments, then asked to use their lavatory. Nearly half an hour passed before Mr. E—- emerged, whereupon he apologized profusely and unintelligibly, then left.
The detectives were shaken but curious. What, exactly, had gone on in there? Like many seasoned investigators, Peter and Jenny prefer to consider all findings before examining the crime scene itself. Conducting their inquiry from the relative safety of the couch, they reviewed the clues.
Mr. E—- had brought neither food nor drink with him, yet he left looking bloated. Was it possible that he’d helped himself to a snack of fancy soaps and the leave-in conditioner Peter can only get at the salon? Possible.
Mr. E—- had been very vocal. Was it possible that he’d mistaken the lavatory for a phone booth? Possible. People mistake the latter for the former all the time.
Mr. E—- had left wet and disoriented. Was it possible that he had, according to the popular idiom, “fallen in”? Yes, possible.
After much deliberation, the sleuths agreed they would never know what happened without a close, on-site investigation of the lavatory itself. They then agreed ignorance wasn’t such a bad thing. Although it seemed likely that Mr. E—- had committed some atrocities during his tenure in that room, the nature of these would remain a mystery.
#8: The Case of the Congested Drainpipe
One recent morning found Peter and Jenny enjoying an “eye-opener” of malt liquor on their back porch. All seemed right with the world. Suddenly, their idyll was punctured by a scream from their roommate Daniel. The detectives rushed inside, where Daniel stood clutching himself and shaking.
“I just wanted to take a shower,” he stammered. “But when I pulled back the shower curtain, I was greeted with a foul surprise. There’s a foot of standing water in the tub. When I plunged my arm into the morass to clear it, I encountered a fistful of fur, scum, and nail clippings. It was like shaking hands with Death. I fled and here you find me now. What in the world can be down that drain?”
Jenny and Peter calmed their friend with a draught of grog and considered possible culprits. Was the stoppage some sort of marine life form? Was it drain lichen? Or was it debris left behind by their lavatory-polluting acquaintance, Mr. E—-?
Before the detectives arrived at an answer, their fearless roommate Angela rolled up her sleeves and cleared the drain herself. “It’s a hair clog, you babies. Case closed.”
The mystery was solved. The sleuths and their roommates returned to the cold comfort of their “breakfast” and soon all unpleasantness was forgotten.
# 9: The Case of the Steaming Indiscretion
Peter received an urgent call from his sister, a teacher in a public junior high school. She had an inquiry of a delicate nature. “Someone took a crap in the middle of my classroom. It must have been one of the kids. But I can’t figure out how anyone could have done that with no one noticing, especially during Quiet Time. It happened when they were supposed to be reading silently and I was correcting papers. It was [expletive] disgusting.” Peter was intrigued by his sister’s enigma and agreed to investigate it.
He and Jenny discussed the case at length. Regrettably, this was not the first time they’d had to solve a mystery of this nature. In the past the culprit had always proved to be their friend Mr. B—-, but as he was neither Peter’s sister’s student nor a resident of her state, he was not a suspect. They considered other scenarios. Was it possible that the culprit was not a student, but a class pet? No: there was no pet; and besides, the sample was unmistakably that of a human. Then was it possible that the specimen was not, as she said, “crap,” but a more benign material? No: it was most certainly offal. Well, then, was it conceivable that Mr. B—- had mastered astral projection and had traveled to the classroom, bodiless, to commit the heinous misdeed? No: the criminal had needed a body to commit the crime.
When they couldn’t come up with a satisfactory conclusion, the detectives reluctantly determined they would have to recreate the scene at home. Before they did, Peter’s sister telephoned again, with some startling — and to our sleuths, revelatory — information.
“So one of the kids’ moms called me tonight. She said she was worried about ‘the incident’ — "
“Would you let me finish?”
“My dear sister, I believe you will excuse my interruption if I tell you what you have just said is highly illuminating.”
“No [expletive], Sherlock. I was just about to say, Mrs. M—- told me her son was the kid who snapped one off. Apparently, it fell down his pant leg.”
The enigma was solved. Peter and Jenny then set upon investigating the more pressing mystery of why they continue to maintain a friendship with Mr. B—-.