Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Missing in Missouri


I have done my share of drinking in my lifetime and when I was younger I did the shares left over from nuns and monks who had never touched the stuff. The younger version of me never bought less than a case of beer and was famous for tossing the cap away from a new bottle of whiskey. Drink til you’re gone or drink til it’s gone. The philosophy was fairly simple. I’ve met people who would not drink around their kids and it took a while to figure that one out, and yes, not having kids did slow down the thought process a bit. “What if something happens?” a woman responded to me one night when I offered her a drink after her kids had gone to sleep. “Like what?” I asked. “Like you” she said.
            What she meant was not that I would happen to her or her kids, but she might wind up too bombed to realize something was happening until it was too late. That’s a possibility you cannot ignore if you are a responsible parent, and I’m not saying people who drink cannot be responsible parents, but it’s the level of intoxication that is the distinction here. Your kid goes into the bathroom for a drink of water then breaks the glass, steps on a piece of it, and you’ve got to drive to a hospital with a good buzz on. Yeah, I get that now. When I was twenty something things like that didn’t rip through the haze but now I can see where kids and intoxication do not mix well at all.
            I once sat in on the questioning of an employee who was suspected of stealing some money from a restaurant. As someone who drank with the guy I didn’t think he would steal but as a manager I knew damn well when the cash had gone missing and I knew who had access. The cops let him tell his story and then they started putting pressure on the facts of where he was and when he was there and who saw him and what he had been doing there. His first story was he was never there and then when the cops kept hammering away at why he was there he told them oh, by the way, he was there, but only for a short time. Finally, one of them said, “It’s not really stealing if you just borrowed it and meant to pay it back later, is that what happened?” As it turns out, it is really stealing even in that case.
            There’s a woman in Missouri who was drinking and has changed her story. Right now, I would bet you there is a cop who is telling her. “Look, accidents happen, kids get into things, everybody knows this, it happens all the time that kids get into things, so the child fell that is what happened didn’t it? It was an accident, wasn’t it? That was how it happened, right?”
            But she has to know I’m out here too. I’m the man on the jury who will talk the others into the maximum sentence, not because it was an accident, but because she lied about it, because she hid the body, put everyone through the searching, and because she was drunk. She has to hope there are one or two people like I used to be when I was a pot smoking drunk and not enough people out there who would like to see her torched for this. For once, I’m betting I’m in a majority here.
            It’s possible she had nothing to do with the missing child. Someone who wanted a baby saw her buy her box of wine, knew her husband was at work, and knew, really knew, people like me would blame her. This is me happening to her. This is getting so ripped she doesn’t hear the dog barking or the child crying and it’s a very long time before the child is discovered missing. If someone else did this then someone else planned to do this and they were given a gift of time the child could not afford to pay. But that’s a reach. The stranger story sounds a lot like Kenny Hardwick. It doesn’t ring true and in this case she finally admitted the first story was not. The cracks appear in the lie.
            Where is the baby? The fact that everyone but Lucas and I have been out looking for that kid means if the parents killed the baby it wasn’t as accident. They went to real trouble to hide the body so even if it is found there will be damn little evidence left a la Casey Anthony. They can claim anything they want to and walk off from it if that case is a precedent. It would not be hard, however, for someone who took a baby to hide a baby once they were out of the state. I’m a law of averages type guy and that leads me to think a drunk woman changing her story is guilty of a lot more than just truly bad taste in wine.
            This time next week I think it will be over. Boxed wine people are not known for their strength of character and I think both of them are involved, and one of them will crack. Either that or one of the other kids might have done something and hid the body as only a kid could. That’s the real damage here to that family and that would be the longer this drags out the more theories will begin to pop up like mushrooms in a pasture full of cow patties.
            There is danger here, real danger, that I will be on that jury, and eleven people like me will be ready, willing, and able, to nuke that woman and her husband, and all along, they didn’t do it. I won’t really be there, but someone like me, who remembers drinking and the danger it causes, and the parents who wouldn’t drink and in the end, they’ll be convicted for that alone, for being bad parents, regardless.

And I cannot help but feel there is some justice in this.

Take Care,
Mike

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