The yarn lady was awakened at 8:30 am by a furious knocking on her front door. She probably would have already been up, but she’d had a late night wake-up call from Clementine. It appeared that Clem had somehow managed to empty her water into the crunchy food, rendering it unfit for her consumption. The yarn lady had cleaned the food bowl, refilled both the water and crunchy food and went back to bed and stared at the ceiling for at least an hour before falling back to sleep. She struggled out from under the covers and shuffled to the door wondering who would be so rude to knock so loud at such an early hour. The frosted glass panel on the door prevented her from seeing who it was until she put her face to the window, at which point she muttered an unprintable word. Outside the door stood six policemen.
She gingerly opened the door, her first thought being that something had happened to the noisy girl, but why would it take six policemen to tell her about it. When the policeman closest to the door asked her to verify her name while holding onto his gun, the yarn lady decided that this probably had nothing to do with the noisy girl. She agreed that she was indeed herself and a second policeman pulled out a piece of paper. “We have a warrant to search your premises in regards to threats made via computer from this address. Please step aside, ma’am.”
The yarn lady backed up, nearly stepping on Clementine, who was wondering what all this was about. She’d been sleeping on the yarn lady’s bed up until the pounding on the door started, at which point she’d levitated and scooted under the bed. Six policepersons filed into the house, which was overkill, considering there were only four rooms, not including the bathroom. Clem made a break for the great outdoors, and the yarn lady yelled, “My cat – don’t let the cat out!” Unfortunately, Clem was already outside sniffing the holly tree. When the yarn lady attempted to follow her, one policeman stopped her. “You don’t understand. She’s just a kitten, and she doesn’t go outside. Please just let me catch her.” One of the policemen who was still outside was obviously a cat person, because he knelt down and made alluring noises in Clem’s direction while he dangled a leather keychain near the ground. Clem couldn’t resist, and pounced. She was gently grabbed and carried inside as the yarn lady continued to try to convince the first policeman to let her find her cat. Clem was passed to the yarn lady with a little smile. She thanked the kind policeman and asked if she could secure the cat, since there were so many of them.
One patrolman escorted them, where the yarn lady found the cat carrier at the top of the closet. Clem was secured, with a promise that she could come out as soon as the yarn lady figured out what was going on. She then asked to speak to whoever was in charge of this…search…and was conducted to a stern-faced detective. “Excuse me, but you just woke me up and I’m still in my pajamas. May I please get dressed?” The detective asked Patrolman McGuiness to escort the yarn lady to get clothing from her bedroom. The patrolman examined each piece of clothing (leaving no piece unexamined) and the yarn lady realized that there was nowhere she could change in privacy. She went back to the detective, who informed her that she could change in the bathroom as soon as they finished searching the linen closet and medicine chest. The yarn lady shook her head. If this was about computer threats, she didn’t think they’d find anything in her bathroom – there was only one plug, and it was in a most inconvenient place and not somewhere you’d plug in a laptop. On the other hand, perhaps they thought she was hiding a thumb drive in the bottom of a box of sterile bandages.
When they had first come in, one of the policemen had asked her to point out every computer, laptop, tablet or cellular phone she had in her possession. She’d handed him the IPad, noting that it was nearly out of charge and pointed to the laptop she kept in the closet. The desktop was obvious, since they’d all walked by it on the way in. A person, not in uniform had sat down at her desktop and immediately began looking through the contents of her computer. Another did the same with the laptop as uniformed patrolmen searched every closet and drawer in the house.
It was nearly half an hour before they allowed her to go into the bathroom to change, and when she came out they confiscated her pajamas to search them. Meanwhile Clem was howling from the carrier in the bedroom. The yarn lady picked it up and brought it into the kitchen and placed it on the small table so Clem could at least look out the window. After obtaining permission from the detective she took the bag of cat treats from the cabinet, poured the entire contents in a bowl for his inspection and then fed them to Clem through the mesh in the carrier. That calmed both of them a little. Cat treats were limited to times when Clem used the special scratching board rather than sharpening her claws on the furniture, so this was like a party for her.
A patrolman who was moving things around in the walk-in closet called out, “Detective, I think I’ve got something here.” A moment later, the detective walked out holding a smallish black case.
“I said all laptops. Why didn’t you give me this one? What do you use this for that it was in a box of books in the back of the closet?” He gave the yarn lady a hard look.
“Oh, geez. I forgot about that one. It’s an old netbook that I’d loaned to a friend for a couple months while his wasn’t working so he could check his email. He just gave it back last week and I tossed it in the closet. I haven’t used that thing for years.” It was the truth, and she hoped she sounded innocent enough. She had forgotten it. The detective asked for the name and phone number of the person she’d loaned it to, and the yarn lady explained that the phone number was on her cell phone, and that she could give it to them as soon as they gave her phone back. “Am I being charged with a crime?” The yarn lady loved police shows like Criminal Minds and the old Law and Order shows with Lenny on them, so she knew her rights.
“No, ma’am, at the moment you are not being charged, but you may be if we find what we’re looking for.” The detective handed her the cell phone and looked over her shoulder as she looked up the phone number they wanted. A few moments later he returned and said that the friend had verified that the computer had only recently been returned after several months use at his house.
The yarn lady sat back down with Clem, and tickled her fur through the mesh of the carrier. This was a nightmare. She’d never threatened anyone! She considered herself a kind person, even to people who she didn’t like. She was more of a “if you can’t say something nice, keep your big mouth shut” type of person. Just a couple weeks ago she’d been talking to a friend and had said how angry she was at that very moment and the friend had laughed and said, “That’s angry?” And to think she threatened someone using her computer? She edited and re-edited everything so many times just to make it sound nice that sometimes people thought she was too vague. No, there had to be some explanation for this.
Over the next hour and a half all of her electronics having to do with computers were examined. They even traced the wires on her modem and router from the junction box outside and used some gizmo to test both of them for, well, something. Occasionally they’d go outside and discuss something and come inside and sit back down at the computer/laptop/Ipad and do something else. Finally, the detective walked into the kitchen and slapped a piece of paper down on the table, scaring both Clem and the yarn lady. “What can you tell me about this?”
The yarn lady read what was on the paper. It appeared to be a rather poorly-written and overly emotional op-ed piece about turkeys. The piece alleged that turkeys in Monmouth County were being slaughtered against their will using inhumane techniques just to feed people who couldn’t afford their own turkeys. There was a call for the government to ban the slaughter of all turkeys and the piece closed with a threat that anyone slaughtering a turkey or who did not take steps to prevent the slaughter of turkeys ought to be careful, as they might just be killed using the same techniques used to kill those same turkeys.
The yarn lady had to cover her mouth to hide a smile as she read it, and cleared her throat several times before answering the detective. “Well, I figure you aren’t looking for a critique on the writing, although I must say it’s pretty bad. Detective – I enjoy eating turkey. I plan to go to my brother’s house in Massachusetts next week and eat some turkey. I know no one who raises or slaughters turkeys, although I do know of a farm that has some chickens, but they are kept to lay eggs. Is this the threat that you’re saying was sent from this address?” She looked at the detective in complete disbelief.
The detective verified this was the case, and that it had been sent to the local newspaper, all the mayors of towns in Monmouth County, the freeholders, the governor and the President of the United States. The yarn lady couldn’t contain herself anymore and burst out laughing. “I’m sorry, but this sounds like a prank that some kids would play. They sent this to the President? I’m sorry I laughed, but this really is absurd.”
After several more hours all the police and technicians filed out her patio door, telling her that they would be continuing their investigation and not to leave town. They’d confiscated all the computer equipment, including her modem. At least, she thought, they left me the cable box. I can still watch television. She finally was able to let Clem out of the carrier. Clem zoomed into the bedroom and after a quick trip to the poo box, she retreated into the front hall closet. The yarn lady didn’t blame her. It had been a hell of a morning. She went outside and sat on her front steps and stared at the lake. What in the world was going on?
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/loop_oh/3266632431