partially solving a mystery

Today at work, my cell phone rang and it was Dave. Not normally a big thing, right? Spouses call each other at the office. It happens. But the ensuing conversation was not at all what I expected.

Dave: So, a policeman is here at the house. They found your purse and your mom’s purse.

Me: WHAT?!?!!

Dave: Yeah. Uh, here, I’ll let him tell you.

So, the police officer gets on the phone, and explains that the best he can figure, whoever stole the purses tossed them down a storm drain, because a maintenance worker found them in a retention pond in the next subdivision over from ours. Which is where they’ve been for a month. He warned me that there wasn’t really anything salvageable there, but they did find my passport, which is how they knew the purses were ours. (My passport, btw, has already been canceled, so recovering it was not exactly a big “yay!” moment.) (And yes, it’s very stupid to have one’s passport in their purse. I had just had to do an I-9 form at work a couple of weeks before and I had forgotten to put it back in the drawer with all of our other important ID information.)

Want to know what purses look like after they spend a month in a stagnant retention pond?


This photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice. Seriously, y’all, I just… I cannot even begin to describe the smell to you. It may never leave my nose. It might be worse than the time our septic tank exploded back when we lived in the boonies. This smell is burned into my brain.

Dave had already deemed the purses as ruined and trashed them before I got home, but I don’t know, I just needed to see it for myself. So I pulled them out and took a picture. (As Dave pointed out when he found out I retrieved them from the trash, it was probably not very smart for me to be breathing in God-knows-what when I’m pregnant, which, yeah I guess he has a point.)

When I told my mom, she wanted me to save her purse so she could try to root through it the next time she’s up here. I called her back and told her that no way is that foul-smelling thing staying in my house. OMG. Nevermind that the purses are basically empty anyway. We found some nail clippers, a tube of Carmex lip balm, and my mom’s epi-pen (which was filled with nasty drainage pond water). I think that anything else the thieves didn’t take is probably still floating in that pond somewhere. The only reason my passport didn’t float away is because it was in a zippered side pocket.

So, I guess that’s the end of the story. Not exactly the satisfying, “Lock up those thugs and throw away the key!” form of justice that I’d been hoping for. Instead, it’s just two empty black purses covered in mildew and pond muck. Lovely.

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