As much as I love working long, tedious hours, for notta lotta pay, dealing with trauma and tragedy and heartache and tears all day every day….
(AND even better, the mounds of paperwork involved)
…And who wouldn’t love that?…
I think I should have been a detective.
Perhaps I inherited the forensics crime-solving gene or something, or maybe it was all the Nancy Drew mysteries I immersed myself in as a child, but I love figuring out mysteries, particularly when it involves hunting down bad people and forcing them out of the darkness into the light.
A few years ago, when I was working for my friend’s children’s clothing store, we suspected — knew, actually — that someone was stealing from the store and selling the goods on eBay.
I won’t tell you all the details, because she’s local and we have mutual friends and I don’t want to be bringing up someone’s sins that have been washed away by the blood of Jesus already, so don’t ask me who it was, because I’m not telling, ok?, but with my keen bloodhound-like nose for clues (including a price tag in the trash, and a totally random comment from a friend), I waited and watched and laid out the bait and I caught her.
Out of all the customers, and all of the sellers on eBay…. I. Caught. HER.
The worst thing about her was that her eBay page was plastered ALLL over with Bible verses and Christian fishes and platitudes about treating others as you want to be treated and yada yada yada because she was a Christian, after all. But like I said, there is forgiveness for all that, but I digress…
So I busted her. And she got all self-righteously-indignant, because she was a Christian, and how dare we accuse her of stealing…
And she never darkened the door of the store, nor stole from us again, and we all lived happily ever after.
Then there was the time a certain husband – the husband of someone I know, nobody you know – was acting weird.
Clinging to his cell phone, clutching it close to his heart always, as if it was his newborn child that he had to breastfeed. The ringer? Always off.
To make a long story short, I caught him, found text messages that he thought he had deleted, and traced them all back to a rather unsavory source.
And I heard he said it baffled him that he had been caught, what with his evidence concealed and DELETED so well. FYI: Its never, ever deleted.
But that’s beside the point.
They got a divorce, and my friend lived happily ever after.
Because of my mad detective skillz, yo.
Meanwhile, a few crime-solving clues from Melissa’s Detective Agency that I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Always, always listen to your gut. It might just be the Holy Spirit. He tends to speak to you in that still, small voice.
And closely related to that advice is, PRAY ABOUT IT. I know I tend to over-spiritualize things, but in both of the cases I just mentioned, there was lots of praying for discernment about what was really going on.
2. Your second clue is often a cell phone. Are they breastfeeding that dadgum cell phone??!? Is the ringer always off??!? Get in there and find out what it is they’re hiding! Because if they aren’t hiding anything, why turn the ringer off?! Think about it…they don’t want it to ring at odd hours and you to ask, “Who’s that?.
And furthermore, if you do check their cell phone and the history is always wiped clean? SUSPICIOUS. No missed calls? No text messages… AT ALL? SUSPICIOUS. If their cell phone has internet access and you check the history and there IS NONE? SUSPICIOUS.
3. Spend the money and hire a private investigator. It will make you CRAZY to try to catch someone with whom you are emotionally invested. Not that I know this from experience; just guessing here, you understand…
And if the computer is involved, do not (I REPEAT: DO NOT) do your own detective work… you’ll only muddy the waters when you turn over the hard drive to the professional. Spend the money up front (and it will be significant, I assure you) and your evidence will be better that way. If you need one, message me; I know of two great ones (including a forensics computer guy) with lots of court experience.
4. In this computer age, you can find out almost anything you want to know through the internet. Anything! Nothing is hidden… nothing is secret… nothing is truly done anonymously.
Which brings me to my third detective story.
Perhaps my most satisfying detective case to date involves a stalker, a woman scorned, and dozens of hateful, vile comments on my blog.
And I’ll tell you the rest of that wonderful little story tomorrow here.