Monday, May 15, 2006

Stop. The. Presses.

Papergate 2006, which is of zero interest to anyone besides myself (for good reason), has come to an unexpectantly stunning end. When I returned home today there was an enveloped masking-taped to my front door. I did not think there was anything strange about this because my lease is up for renewal. You see my landlord, a woman named "Hyacinth" whom I have never met but who exists in my mind as a 102 year-old black woman, has strange ways of getting in touch with me when she wants to convey information. Usually she has her son, the Super, slip an envelope under my door containing an elegant if shaky hand written note penned on a torn scrap of paper. Such is the manner in which we just renegotiated the terms of my lease renewal. So when I saw an envelope taped to my door with only my apartment number written on the front I thought maybe it was some paperwork for me to sign.

I grabbed the envelope and opened it as I was walking to Medusa's place. The first thing my eyes fell upon after I opened the envelope was green: cash. Three dollars to be exact. I pulled out a piece of paper with just five words written on it, "for the New York Times." My note asking the thief to return my paper worked, kind of. The person who had taken my paper did not return it to the vestibule (perhaps because they had already used it to line a puppy cage or fashion themselves a nice oragami hat) but was now so racked with guilt that they were anonymously offering me cash penence for this transgression. And you know what, I was happy to have the cash instead of some puppy shit-stained two week old newspaper. Three dollars, people, that will buy you a grande ice coffee with a shot (see also 'new math').

So I was happy as a clam, already spending the money in my little pea-sized brain when I wondered, how did the person who took my paper know which apartment I live in? I did not leave any of that information on the note. So far as I knew the only person in the building who knew that I was the newspaper theft victim was the GoodNeighbor, a man so conscientious he brought me a chocolate bar last night to thank me for feeding his cats. [Note: please do not ask me to feed your cats, I hate cats, this is a task I would only perform for the GoodNeighbor who is both adorable and once staunched the flow of my blood.]

Then I remembered Sunday morning when I emerged from my hovel to fetch the paper on the stoop after pulling on some pants so as not to give the neighborhood a show for free. While I was grabbing my paper with one foot holding open the door I saw a woman who lives in my building and I held the door for her as she brought her bicycle inside. I don't know this woman, but I had an exchange with her once before when rang my bell and asked me to fill a pot with water. She had dropped and shattered a couple of bottles of beer on the stoop and she wanted the water to wash the beer off the stoop, presumably so that we not open the door the next day and find a wino with a bendy straw animatedly sucking at the booze soaked stone. This woman must have been the thief (although at this point I'm willing to call her the 'misappropriator') and once she saw that hers was not a victimless crime she came up with this plan to assuage her guilt while saving face. At least, that's my best guess. And that, Sally, is how I cracked the case of the stolen newspaper.

And now, here it is, your moment of Zen.


Anonymous said...

Isn't your apartment number on the newspaper? i.e. that little strip of white paper at the bottom of the Times with your name, address, etc? And, if not, at the very least your name is on it. I would also assume that you have mailboxes set up in your vestibule with your name/apartment number. The misappropriator could have gotten your apartment number several ways, no?

Anonymous said...

ps- didn't mean to sound snooty there-- I like your blog!

ducky said...

oh, that's so sweet, you know the anonymous envelope with money!

i think maybe i'll just start doing this around the neighborhood, dropping three bucks into an envelope and taping it to doors, with cute little notes like, 'for the pleasure of your wife's company.'

i want to spread the joy, too!

Cupcake said...

Actually, there is no address label on my paper. When I first starting getting delivery I was really thrown by that- I wasn't even sure if the paper is mine. What the hell, maybe I have been stealing someone's paper for three months now. Well, tough shit, I already spent the three bucks.

Brando, that's quite a plan but since I live in a hood where people are violently attacked for such offenses as "walking down the street alone" and "displaying an iPod" you might want to round up and slip a fiver in the note. You wouldn't want anyone to get he wrong idea.