A knock came at my car window. It turned out the guy rifling through our garbage cans wasn't one of our friendly neighborhood hobos, but the neighbor of the Questionable Yard Sale.
I got out of the car. Hey ___, how are you? I asked in that I'm asking how you are just to be polite so the only appropriate answer is I'm fine how are you?
I'm in some trouble, he confided.
That's too bad, I replied, and leaned in the car to retrieve all six of my grocery bags. I didn't want to know if I'm in some trouble meant I threw out my electric bill or I dropped a clown nose stained with a murdered boy's DNA in the garbage can by mistake so I didn't want to chance two trips. Good luck with that, I said as I struggled down the driveway, laden with packages.
I'm missing my bucket.
Maybe it was the tone of his voice, that slight, plaintive tremble that suggested the sting of tears wasn't far behind. but against my better judgment, I turned to face him.
He continued. It's grey, and it says ____'s Bucket on the side.
Oh pretty smart. But I'm sorry, I haven't seen it.
There's a reward, he tells me, so keep your eyes peeled.
I'll ask Will, I promise him, maybe he's seen it.
When Will comes home from work that evening, I tell him we have a new mystery to solve. But the case is short lived, as the bucket shows up the next day, unharmed. Maybe it was on a bender. Maybe someone took it on a joyride. Maybe someone found it and received their reward. We'll never know. The important thing is that it's safely home, with its rightful owner.