Chapter 47: Cases Closed & Closets Opened (JB)

Published on 11 June 2024 at 16:29

For the second time that summer, the three of us were at the heart of controversy in town. It seems like no matter how simple, or even how real the case is, it’ll always find a way to blow up.


Not everything had gone badly, though. Jimmy was quick to point out that some things had actually gone off perfectly.


Mr. Tomlinson, Jimmy’s elderly neighbor, had called the police to report swarms of cockroaches being intentionally let loose on his property by the ‘hyper gremlin kid’ next door. Since calls from this particular neighbor were frequent and almost always about odd gray area crimes like this, the police only send someone over at their convenience. Luckily for Jimmy and Lizzy, a policeman with a notepad had showed up only minutes after the armed man had gotten through the window. When the shouting and the shot rang out, there was immediately someone with a badge on the scene, already calling for backup.


It turned out that the monster in the closet was no monster at all. At least, not your traditional monster. And although I was sure to have nightmares for a very long time because of the scare that it gave me, the monster in the closet actually turned out to be a hero.


Old Smeller was a violently rabid dog that was supposed to be put down at the shelter and had mysteriously disappeared right before its execution date. It was the one single case that Jimmy had shown no interest in solving and now I knew why: Jimmy was the one who had broken him out. And Jimmy had been keeping the dog hidden in his closet, sustained on a steady diet of salami, pancakes and melatonin.


Despite all of the questioning from the police, my parents, Jimmy’s mom, and even Nancy from the shelter, Jimmy would never admit that he had aided and abetted the dog. He stuck to his story, which was that the dog must have just followed him home one day and he had never noticed. He said that the dog must have gotten trapped inside the closet without Jimmy noticing, and that he didn’t discover him there for a long time because he gets most of his clothes from his dresser. Either way, when the armed man opened the closet door, I’m sure that the last thing he was expecting to see was a rabid dog freshly awakened and angry from another drug-induced nap. Old Smeller had torn out of the closet like a bat out of hell, taking the man from his feet and sending the gun spiraling from his grip. The man was quickly and harshly subdued but, when the gun hit the edge of Jimmy’s nightstand, it went off with a bang and Old Smeller ended up being put down anyway.


There was mass confusion between the insane dog, the armed robber, kids talking about missing pants and a man talking about being assaulted with antifreeze. They were all taken down to the station to get it sorted out. That’s when they called my parents and, after they questioned me first, they drove me down to the station to meet Jimmy and Lizzy.


The armed man was taken into custody and had many charges pending against him. They were still calculating how many. Jimmy insisted that one of them had to be pants-grabbery in the first degree, but he wasn't sure that it would stick if the guy got a good lawyer.


Mr. Tomlinson, the neighbor with the complaint, never got justice for the roach invasion. The armed man had dismantled Jimmy’s roach track as it was in the way of the window sill. Lizzy, unsure of what to do to help, had ended up gathering the pieces of the track and she put them in a neat pile behind the hedges. So when the police eventually looked into the matter, there was no evidence and Mr. Tomlinson was written off as an old bored grump complaining about nothing. He was warned against misuse of the emergency call center.


Jimmy’s actions, as usual, were in a sort of gray area so it was hard to know exactly how to punish him. After conferring with his therapist and building a timeline of when the dog went missing, it was determined that all of the scratches on Jimmy’s arms were from hiding the dog, not from possible self-harm as she had feared. Yet this didn’t mean that Jimmy wouldn’t get hurt, as rabies exposure came with a minimum of ten shots in the stomach with a long needle. At first everyone agreed that this would be punishment enough, as he would have to get injections all summer. However, when Jimmy started taking the cream out of Twinkies and spreading it around his mouth to growl at the neighbors, his mom finally decided that maybe he could use a bit more discipline after all. So Jimmy got grounded for the entire second month of summer, and he was only allowed to leave the house to work at the animal shelter. As for the bruises around his neck, he told everyone that they were hickeys from a girl who went to another school, but I don't think that anyone believed him. 


Lizzy was looking at some major grounded time as well, but Jimmy called her parents and explained how everything was his fault and that she had been dragged along. Based on their history with Jimmy so far, it was an easy lie to believe and she was thankfully let off the hook with only one week of being grounded with no TV or friend time. And although Lizzy was usually not the type to disobey her parents , she did sneak out one time during her punishment. She made a promise. A few days after the pants debacle, Lizzy had climbed out of her window and shimmied down her tree. She went down the street, away from the houses and to the park with the frisbee golf and the nice big hill that the sun always shined on. Lizzy climbed up the hill and picked her way through the thick shrubs that grew on the right. Inside of that thicket, there was a medium sized mound of rocks piled up around a small wooden cross made from sticks. Lizzy pulled out her pocket knife and took her time to insure the words were legible and nice-looking, something Jimmy seemed incapable of doing no matter how many times he tried. Weeks later, when he had served his time and was no longer being watched, Jimmy visited that spot and was happy to see the words Good Dog etched onto the cross.


For me, there were a lot of long talks that started at dinner and stretched until bedtime. There was blame to share all around and we needed to unpack a lot of what happened. In the end, our main conclusion was to not tamper with Jimmy’s interests and to leave that to the professionals like Dr. Kim Dress. Finally, in an unexpected but awesome twist, my parents decided that it was much safer for everyone if I had a cellphone when hanging out with Jimmy. So they took me to a kiosk at Yorktown Mall and I got to pick out my first phone.


I know that I’ll be bored for the next couple of weeks as both of my friends are grounded, but now there is a silver lining. I think that I can beat my high score on Snake.



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a month ago

RIP Old Smeller :(

Good Dog
a month ago

Rest in power Old Smeller. You got a little stay of execution, but once the rabies gets you, there's no going back. Thankfully Jimmy got the shots before the disease progressed. Good night sweet prince and may flights of kibble sing thee to thy rest.