A call from the Athens Police Department

After returning home in the early afternoon from a quick shopping trip with Kat, I came home to find a business card shoved in our door. It was a card from the Athens Police Department, with a handwritten note on the back that said, "Please call," and gave his direct line.

Now, granted, I'm a good little law-abiding citizen, but the first thing that popped into my head was, "Wait. Even if I had been bad, I haven't been through Athens in months!"So, I returned the call and got the bane of current-day corporate-America: voice mail.

Approximately an hour later, he returned the call. (So as not to be a total jerk, I'll not print the name of the person he was asking about.)

"Do you know a person named C.A.J.?" he said?

At that moment, I breathed a sigh of relief, patted myself on the back and told myself that yes, I'd been a good little law-abiding domesticat and hadn't broken any laws, and said, "I believe I know who he is, but I have not actually met him."

"That's strange," he said. "According to his driver's license, he lives at your address, and we have a warrant out for his arrest from a recent hit-and-run accident."

"Do you mind telling me," I said somewhat tentatively, "if C.A.J. is white or black? That fact may help me answer your question."

"Black," he said. "Why do you ask?"

"Well," I said, "we bought this house in October of 1999 from a black couple in their 50s. We only met them twice, and that was right around closing. We found out that their son, who was either in his late teens or early twenties, was still living with them, and he also had an infant that lived with them as well. I don't know the son's name, but I know that a couple of months ago I got a piece of mail addressed to C.A.J. from the local high school, and I always assumed it was him. Since they've been out of the house two years, I wrote 'No Such Addressee—Return to Sender' on it and dropped it back in the mail."

"So you've never met him?"

"No. Never set eyes on him. We've had the house for two years now, and believe me, if he lived here, he'd be helping to make mortgage payments."

With that, the detective laughed—the laugh of a fellow person with mortgage in his soul—and said, "Yeah, I know how that is. What I'll do, then, is check with the high school and the former owners of your house, and see if we can't track him down that way. Awfully sorry to have bothered you, but this was the logical place to check."

We made the required obsequies, signed off, and I immediately called Jeff to relay the conversation to him.

How very, very strange.