Monday, April 14, 2008

The Mystery of the Missing Swiss Rolls: Nov. 5, 2007

It was a sunny, Saturday morning. The residents of the House on North Windward Ave, a quiet street in a quiet golf-course resort community on quiet St Simons Island, Georgia, were in various states of sleep or sleep-related activities. Little did they of know the disappearances that would rock their peaceful world. Or did they????

The residents include Vito*, an IT guy with a Defense Contractor. His wife and kids live in Florida, but since he's currently contracted to work at the Federal Training Center here, he stays most days at the Focus House. He has a quad to himself until Terri finds another boarder.

Terri is an ordained minister who runs a non-profit ministry. Her focus is on the 'under-served' (instead of 'disadvantaged') students in the public schools. It seems she serves them by a voluntary after-school program to instill values and skills in them to help them achieve their potential. Her program culminates in cotillions and awards programs. Terri is abundantly sweet and her biggest fault seems to be believing in the unfailing goodness in others. One of her many hats is acting as landlord to the 5 residents of the House. She lives in one of the quads with her West Highland White Terriers, Maggie and Tek.

In another quad is Sylvia, a Chilean native who does free-lance translating out of her ex-husband's home office. Sylvia is the only resident who doesn't have a private entrance to her room, doesn't have a computer and doesn't seem to care about either.

Sharing a wall with Sylvia is yours truly. Enough about me.

In the third quad, the bachelors share a wall and perhaps, unwillingly, the keys to the biggest mystery to hit the House since Maggie limped around for an entire hour.

Wade is a chef's apprentice at Sea Island Resort and the 'senior' resident of the house. Rumor has it that when he cooks at the house it is an event not to be missed. Fact has it that he rarely cooks at the house, since 'why would he cook at home when he cooks all day at work?' He also seems very unattached to his clothes as he tends (in the 4 days I've lived there) to leave his laundry in the washer or dryer for days.

Finally, there is Andy. Andy is a journalist, flexing his newly college-degreed news-finding instincts at the local paper, the Brunswick News. Andy is very attached to his laundry and his food, and is vocally expressive about his desire for his house-mates to touch neither.

Imagine the shock of the housemates this sleepy Saturday morning to find in the kitchen a Swiss Roll box torn open and mutilated to become the canvas for a hand-scrawled note with a red marker. "Who ate my Swiss Rolls? -A" The author of this note apparently angry, hungry and believing that whoever did eat the Swiss Rolls would fess up.

Sweet Terri must have fretted for hours before she saw me that evening. She apologized profusely that I had the misfortune of having someone eat my Swiss Rolls, me being so new to the house and all. After I explained I was not the "A" of the mystery note, she deduced it must be Andy, and commenced fretting on who must have taken his Swiss Rolls.

I looked for some replacement Swiss Rolls for Andy while I was grocery shopping that afternoon, but couldn't find any among the snack or bakery items. Though I hadn't eaten his, I felt increased compassion for his loss and probable difficulty in replacing them. I told him as much, but he just grumbled that it was probably Wade. This made sense to me, since Wade was the only one I hadn't met yet.

The Swiss Roll mystery dragged into Sunday. Though a day typically reserved for religious observance, it was not, for poor Andy, a day of confession and restoration. I heard Terri make her profuse apology to Andy for his misfortune, to which he grumbled that it wasn't the fact that someone had eaten one of his snacks. It was that they had eaten THREE of his snacks and only left him two. He did not, however, offer his Wade theory to her.

Sweet Terri decided it must have been poor Vito, since she realized she had forgotten to show him his shelf for food in the pantry. She promptly, and sweetly, informed him of his space, then sweetly reminded the other residents of theirs. While she was sweetly reminding me of my space, I suggested that maybe it was one of the dogs who took the Swiss Rolls. Maggie and Tek played along, licking various body parts and acting disinterested in our conversation.

"See," I told her, "look how guilty they look. They're probably still trying to erase the evidence."

"But look how high this shelf is," Terri exclaimed, pointing at the space about three and a half feet off the floor. "I don't think they could've jumped up this high."

Though I told her how they had jumped skillfully onto my bed, only a foot or two lower than the shelf, she just could not fathom her sweet friends stealing Andy's food.

And so, my sweet friends, the Swiss Roll mystery remains unsolved for now.

*Names haven't been changed because you probably don't know these people!

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