A real-life mystery, but not of the Dateline variety

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By A Tower magazine (Scanned cover of pulp magazine) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been down the rabbit hole of technical difficulties over the last few days, some mine, some belonging to others. But one had a mystery twist.

My mom, in the last few years, has taken up photography. I’ve always enjoyed it, my dad got into it a long time ago, and then suddenly my mom decided she wanted to be Annie Leibovitz. So she’s jumped into into it with both lenses and as a consequence, has many photos.

But hadn’t exactly devised a system to keep them straight.

So yesterday she was looking for a specific group of photos but couldn’t find them. Anywhere. And my dad, resident IT person, couldn’t figure out where they’d gone either. While we were talking on the phone, my mom said she unearthed one.

“Great,” I said, “right-click it and find the properties.” Find the file path, find the photos. The plan couldn’t fail.

“I’d moved it to another folder, the rest aren’t here.” Plan failed.

“Huh,” I told her. “You handled the evidence with your bare hands and now we can’t collect DNA.”

Alas.

But I was determined, and in exchange for promised lemon-ricotta pancakes, I vowed to find the photos. I’ve written a mystery, how hard could it be to solve one in real life?

Well, yeah.

After collecting on the pancakes (delicious, by the way), and dealing with my own technical issues (far less glamorous), I endeavored to uphold my end of the deal. A deal’s a deal, after all.

I settled in before her computer. I tried organizing by date. Nope.

I tried searching by date. Nope.

“There,” she said “that’s where I copied them.” I narrowed my eyes at the photos in the folder. An idea dawned.

“Are those all from the same batch?” I asked.

“Yes,” she told me.

Using the handy search box that bleached itself white in the last update for reasons unknown to all except those who hate corneas, I looked for an image name one number below one in the file.

Bingo.

That picture came up. A right click on properties told me exactly where it was hiding.

Gotcha, elusive photos.

I turned to my mom, who was now aglow with relief. “You destroyed the DNA evidence, but we still had fingerprints.”

(Dramatic music).

Case closed.

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Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

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Blogging from Prompts Day 1: What Have You…

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Happy Monday, friends! It arrives no matter how we feel about it, so we might as well greet it nicely, and maybe it will be nice to us.

Maybe.

So this week I’m going to blog from random writing prompts, because, well, why not? Today I’ve used this website and here’s the prompt:

“What have you stolen?”

Hmm.

This is a tough prompt for me, as I am one of those painfully, painfully honest people who goes back if I get too much change. The other day, I parked on a Chicago street with metered parking. Here, instead of a meter per spot, we have pay boxes. Well, a woman was leaving and she offered me her printed receipt so I would get free time.

And I didn’t take it.

It felt….weird.

Once, though, when I was a child, I went to the hardware store with my Dad, one of those locally-owned ones with dead-end corners and fascinating bits in bins. I needed a combination lock for school or something, so I picked one up and carried it around, looking at everything.

Well, my Dad didn’t find what he needed, and out we went. And then I realized I was still holding the lock. I’d completely forgotten it was in my hand.

That’s right. I was a thief.

I panicked. I told my Dad. I wondered how I could recover from this moral turpitude, though at that stage I doubt I knew the phrase moral turpitude, but I got the idea.

He told me to put it back.

Embarrassed and feeling every inch the criminal I was, I slunk in and put it down, and slunk back out again.

Crime spree complete.

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

On the Nature of Wishes

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WhenIMG_0079 I was a little girl, there was the persistent belief that you could make a wish by blowing on a dandelion. As an adult, I can now see that the only wishes likely granted that way were the wishes of the dandelion to spread its weediness far and wide, but seeing these the other day made me think about the nature of wishes.
We have so many superstitions about the objects that can prove transformative — birthday candles; necklace clasps; eyelashes — that can somehow take the utterly intangible and make it real. As though they are gateways, somehow, to the larger power of the universe, the power to manifest and make it so.

Is the world a better place with or without wishes? In a way, they are little packets of hope, whispered to no one and kept close to ourselves. But sometimes hope turns to disappointment, disillusionment. So is it better to not put faith in magic at all?

I didn’t pick that dandelion. I didn’t close my eyes or send its seeds scattering on the wind of my breath.

But I can’t say that I didn’t hope, if only for a millisecond, that a little girl might come along who would.

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Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

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