Thursday, March 12, 2020

Microstory 1319: Perfect

Homicide Detective: I know this is a difficult time for you and your family, Madam Grieving Mother. These questions are going to be really hard to hear, and even harder to answer. They are important, though. Please understand that I mean no disrespect to your daughter. I have to ask these to get a clear picture of who she was. I don’t care what mistakes she made in the past, or what things she was caught up in. I only care about catching the person who did this. Does that make sense?
Grieving Mother: I get it. And I know you’re expecting to find out she wasn’t as great of a person as people thought she was. She secretly did drugs, or she had a gambling problem, or a boyfriend convinced her to break into that museum. That wasn’t her, though. I know a lot of parents are delusional when it comes to their children, but she really was perfect. It was actually kind of annoying sometimes. Kids are supposed to mess up, and disappoint their parents, so when the parents mess up, they retain the moral high ground. She never gave us that luxury, though. When we screwed up, the whole family felt it, because she put forth a standard that no one else could have reached.
Homicide Detective: Okay. Well, that answers a lot of the questions I normally ask, but it doesn’t answer all of them. You’re right, TV shows like to depict flawed victims, because it makes for compelling storytelling. It often, though, detracts from the fact that the perpetrator is the one at fault here. Unless it was an assisted suicide, your daughter could never truly be at fault anyway, because everyone knows murder is wrong. So, I’ll focus our efforts on criminology for now. Can you think of anyone who had a problem with her.
Grieving Mother: No, everyone loved her, like I said.
Homicide Detective: You also said it could be annoying. Perhaps there’s someone out there who took unreasonable offense to her, not despite how good she was, but because of it. Maybe someone at work didn’t like all the praise or attention she got?
Grieving Mother: I see what you’re saying, but I can’t think of anyone. Though, I probably wouldn’t have heard about it if there was someone. You would have to speak with her colleagues about it, because she never would have complained to others. Not only was she a little too perfect, but she also thought everyone else was perfect. That was also a little annoying. I guess that was her one flaw; she could only see the good in people, which is, of course, unrealistic.
Homicide Detective: So, maybe she did associate with the wrong person, but she didn’t realize it until it was too late.
Grieving Mother: It’s possible.
Homicide Detective: Tell me about this break-in at the museum. What was stolen?
Grieving Mother: Oh, I don’t really know. It was a lot of different stuff, and I don’t think any single item was all that valuable. The police thought it was—not quite a crime of opportunity—but also not extremely well planned out. They missed some big ticket items, so they think the thieves were just grabbing what they could, and hoping to get lucky.
Homicide Detective: Did the detectives on that case have any reason to believe it was an inside job, or that your daughter knew anything she wasn’t saying?
Grieving Mother: Why would my daughter have covered up a crime?
Homicide Detective: If she knew who the thieves were, she might have been protecting them; urging them to do the right thing, and turn themselves in, but protecting them nonetheless.
Grieving Mother: That’s a fancy story you’re weaving. It assumes a lot that you can’t possibly know.
Homicide Detective: I’m just gathering a suspect list right now. I only need to prove what happened, not what didn’t.
Grieving Mother: careful with your accusations, okay?
Homicide Detective: I will. Say, that’s an interesting little elephant ornament you got there. My grandmother used to have just one like it. Funny enough, I think she found out it was worth something, and ended up donating it to the museum. They weren’t on display yet, though. They’ve just been sitting in storage for a couple years.
Grieving Mother: Oh, that’s interesting.
Homicide Detective: Yeah, she actually donated a few...other...umm. Where did you get that little wooden teapot? And those glass insulators? Wait.
Grieving Mother: Your grandmother was the thief! My mother spent years curating this collection! It belongs to us!
Homicide Detective: All right, turn around.

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