OK, James, you’re my charming older brother, so I took the time out of my lunch hour at PetSmart to drive over here and speak to you in person about this incident that occurred yesterday afternoon. As I told you on the phone, I can certainly understand your need to find the person (or persons) responsible for this brilliantly calculated act of glorious vengeance. Just know going in that I expect to be fully reimbursed for mileage.

First of all, bro, let me just say that I am absolutely stunned by this series of events. Totally shocked and appalled! I know from speaking to Jules, your achingly hot trophy wife, that she thinks this was an inside job, some petty jealousy that boiled over into this brilliantly passive-aggressive act of sweet malice. And since she is so hot, she is certainly entitled to that misguided opinion. But the fact remains that this crime has all the hallmarks of being the work of some devious European criminal mastermind. I suspect that the person (or persons) we’re dealing with probably has a dashing nickname. Something like “the Mamba,” or maybe “Scorpio.” Or maybe he/she is smart enough to reserve the right to use a dashing nickname as soon as he/she thinks of one.

In my experience, you just don’t catch people like “the Mantis” (is that better?), unless, of course, they want to be caught. He/she is probably already out of the country by now, blissfully tucked away on a tropical island and enjoying a piña colada. If I close my eyes right now I can imagine the Mantis riding on a jet ski, a beautiful brunette who looks very similar to Jules wrapped around his waist. Ah, the Mantis. I will open my eyes now before I fall too deeply in love with him, OK?

Anyway, James, from talking to our mother, I already know you have been hard at work trying to discern the secret identity of the villain (or group of villains) who committed this heinous act. I know you’ve been working the phones all morning, feverishly dialing up everyone on your guest list and asking if anyone at your birthday party saw anything untoward happening to your dishwasher. Do you honestly think a criminal mastermind like “the Falconer”—that’s probably a cooler name, isn’t it?—would have been so easily spotted by your party guests? It’s not very likely, considering he/she probably planned this out down to the tiniest detail over the last year and a half.

Deep within my bosom, James, I can’t help feeling that this is partly my fault. I am your brother, related by blood and other genetic fluids, and I should have kept a much closer eye on your dishwasher. I never should have let some interloper sneak a Ziploc freezer bag packed to the brim with his own feces into your house disguised as a birthday present. I also never should have let him/her disappear at the precise moment when everyone was busy watching you blow out your birthday candles. I mean, honestly, you can’t possibly understand just how much I’m probably beating myself up over this. At least we have one clue, though, right? The Falconer likes corn.

Reality check, James: not all is lost. I think we can come out of this with some lessons learned, right? Here’s one: when you match wits with “the Lamprey” (there we go, that sounds right, “the Lamprey”!), your life ends up a total shambles. First, you have to replace your brand-new dishwasher, and in a couple of months your trophy wife will probably leave you for this mysterious and cunning new evil genius, the Lamprey.

Whoever he may be.