Need to get away with something? Frame a reclusive writer.
A thorough review of television crime/detective shows has led me to the sad conclusion that I am a practically ideal person to frame for all manner of wrongdoing. If you’re up to fishy activities but uninterested in doing time for said activities, simply plant a couple clues pointing toward me and, when the po-po come knocking, the case is as good as closed.
Understand, I’m not actually much of a lawbreaker. If anything, I might be too much of a rule-follower: On foot, I’m the person who will spontaneously change his destination if a crosswalk can’t be found. By car, I’m constantly checking vehicles around me for expired stickers and silently shaming the drivers of those vehicles. All my mattress tags are still attached to the mattresses.
My trouble is that I’m naturally drawn to a way of existing in the world that seems specifically designed to leave me no good alibi for anything ever.
If I ever need to establish an alibi, I imagine it going down something like this:
Detective: Are you Mr. Wilcox?
Detective: Sir, I said “Are you Mr. Wilcox?”
Chris: I said “Who’s asking?”
Detective: I’m a police detective.
Chris: Okay, then yes. Sorry, I thought you might be a Jehovah’s Witness. They won’t stop coming. Is there anything that can be done about those people? We already have the “No Soliciting” sign up, but they’re not technically selling anything, so…
Detective: Mr. Wilcox, where were you after 2 PM on Thursday?
Chris: I was here.
Detective: Can anyone verify that?
Chris: God, I hope not. I don’t like the idea of my whereabouts being monitored. But who was it who said “You’d worry less about what people think of you if you realized how seldom they do”?
Detective: I don’t know. There wasn’t anyone else here with you on Thursday?
Chris: No. I’m told I can be a challenging person to be around.
Detective: Sir, why are you making that face?
Chris: I’m trying to remember if I got the quote right.
Detective: Nobody saw you here? On the porch? In the yard?
Chris: Why would I be in the yard? A neighbor might see me and want to make small talk.
Detective: (exasperated sigh) So you didn’t talk to anyone?
Chris: No, not then. I bet those Jehovah’s Witnesses will be back any day now, though. Certainly, there must be something that could be done about…
Detective: You didn’t talk to anyone on the phone either?
Chris: Phones are awful. Especially when they ring. I have major phone issues.
Detective: Okay, I don’t need to hear about those right now. What were you doing here between 2 and 3 on Thursday?
Chris: Let me think. I was writing from 1 until 4 or so.
Detective: Oh, so you’re a writer. That explains a lot.
Chris: In a manner of speaking, yes. Since a lot of what I do is blogging, it seems a little pretentious to insist on being called “a writer,” but I’m trying to be kinder to myse…
Detective: If you have a time-stamped record of what you wrote during that time, that might work. You say you were writing from 1 until 4. That should be, what, how many words?
Chris: About 100.
Detective: A hundred words in three hours?
Chris: I write slowly so the sentences will come out better.
Detective: It sounds like you’re just being too particular.
Chris: Shut up, it’s my process. What do you know?
Detective: Sir, don’t tell me to shut up. At any rate, I’m afraid that your having written 100 words between 1 and 4 o’clock on Thursday cannot rule out the possibility that you were involved in a mugging at 2:30.
Chris: Involved in a mugging! Why, I never! Ask anyone! I am a perfectly law-abiding citizen!
Detective: Who should we ask?
Chris: Not the neighbors. They’re always trying to make small talk with me and I won’t, so I think there might be bad blood there. My mom, maybe?
Detective: The only character reference you can provide is your mother?
Chris: I don’t know a lot of people. A lot of the people I do know find me unsettling.
Detective: Why’s that?
Chris: I don’t have the social niceties. I just kind of lurk around, accidentally frowning at people.
Detective: You really should make more of an effort.
Chris: I try. Wait… Thursday, did you say? I think maybe there were Jehovah’s Witnesses here on Thursday!
Detective: Did you get their names?
Chris: No. Two old ladies. I think it’s kind of manipulative when they send out two old ladies, who you feel terrible sending away…
Detective: Would these women know you by name?
Chris: No, I told them my name was Bob.
Detective: Why did you tell them that?
Chris: Because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. I panicked and that was the first name that came to me. What do they need my name for, anyway?
Detective: Would they know you by sight?
Chris: I didn’t open the security door.
Detective: Why not?
Chris: Because they were Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Detective: You said it was just two old ladies, though.
Chris: One of them had a walker.
Detective: You’re afraid of an old lady with a walker?
Chris: One can never be too careful.
Detective: What I’m hearing, sir, is that there’s absolutely no way we can establish that you were here at 2:30 on Thursday afternoon. We have an eyewitness placing you at the scene.
Chris: It’s probably just someone who has a vendetta against me.
Detective: Why would someone have a vendetta against you?
Chris: I call in lots of expired license plate tags.
Detective: Sir, you’re going to have to come with us.
(Published partially for laughs and partially so that, in the unlikely event that someone does try to frame me for something, I can point to this post as where they got the idea. So don’t even try it.)