The Usual Suspect
I am not a master plumber, nor an amateur plumber. I am not a police detective, nor a private eye. However, I have been involved in two plumbing tasks this week and I have been involved with an ongoing criminal investigation of repeated acts of vandalism.
In both incidents, spraying water coincidently occurred when a certain Yellow Labrador Retriever was in the vicinity of the scene.
The first incident is described in Lassie, the Well, and Criminal Minds. https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/the-well/
This very day, an eerily similar incident happened. I will explain.
Our log house does not have a basement. It sits on a foundation with a crawl space. The crawl space is five feet in height. I am taller than that. I do not have to literally crawl, but I have to bend and duck. Within the crawl space are mechanical devices, including a boiler for our hot water heat system, a hot water heater, holding tanks for the well, and a water softening system. All of those involve water.
Miss Sugar, my hot trophy wife, alerted me to the sound of running water. She alerted me by shouting from the crawl space. I dutifully went down to join her, wearing rubber boots because it was flooded. What could cause such a problem?
A hose that runs from the water softener to the outside empties water, and this is important, OUTSIDE of the crawl space when it periodically recirculates for some reason that I do not understand because, as I told you, I am not a master plumber. With or without my understanding, the process has occurred successfully for many years, until today.
What was different today? Apparently, someone, and I ain’t saying who, had tugged on the hose as it spewed water outside the crawlspace, through its designated hole in the foundation, through which the hose extends for several feet so the water pours away from the foundation, ingeniously irrigating a garden area. As a result of tugging on that very important hose, a connection INSIDE the crawlspace had become, well, as they say in the plumbing trade, UNCONNECTED. Even as a layman rather than a master plumber, I could see that water was enthusiastically flowing from the disconnected hose/tube connection, flooding the crawlspace. I quickly deduced the cause of the flooding to be water flowing from the disconnected connection.
“Here’s your trouble,” I explained to Miss Sugar, who, although just a girl, had already pushed the hose and tube together into the connector thing-a-ma-bob. She was unimpressed by my analysis, despite the critical thinking and problem-solving I displayed.
Sugar sweetly asked me to get a clamp. Huh? Not being a master plumber, I did not know what she meant, so I got her some kind of wrench. It was not the correct tool. So Sugar, whose grandfather on her father’s side was a master plumber and had passed on his plumbing genes to my beloved, gently instructed me about how to hold the hose and tube together while she patiently left the crawlspace to get the correct parts for fixing this problem.
I skillfully held the hose and tube together with my bare hands. My wet bare hands. There was still some leakage onto my clothing. While serving as a human clamp within the crawlspace, waiting for Miss Sugar, I witnessed a curious thing. Someone from outside the building, on the other side of the hole in the foundation, was pulling the hose. The pulling caused me to lose my grip on the hose, which resulted in soaking me more. Whoever was doing it was using something sharp to grasp the hose. I know that because when I tugged on the hose, gaining ground in the tug of war, so as to reconnect it, a portion of it, that portion having been pulled outside and now was back inside, had sprung a leak. When I pulled that section of the hose back inside the crawlspace, the new hole in the recovered section was adding to the flooding.
Sugar, upon her return, denied that she had tugged on the hose. She denied putting a hole in the hose with a sharp object. She jumped to the conclusion that the hole in the hose was made by a tooth or teeth. Who would grab a hose with his or her teeth?
A shadowy figure passed by the hole in the foundation, temporarily blocking the sunlight, and causing us to look out the hole. The figure was not shadowy, actually, it was yellow and furry. It appeared to be the usual suspect. Sugar was accusing Beau, poor misunderstood Beau, of noticing the water coming out of the hose, pulling on the hose, disconnecting it from the water softener recirculator, and putting a hole in the hose with his teeth. That was her theory. It looked bad for Beau. The circumstantial evidence did leave room for an alternative theory.
“Now see here, Miss Sugar, it could have been some other Yellow Lab, namely Sadie.” I defended Beau.
“Was it Beau or Sadie who grabbed the hose by the barn when you were filling the horse tank?” Miss Sugar skillfully cross-examined me.
“It was Beau, to the best of my recollection,” I admitted.
“Your recollection need only go back to yesterday, correct?” It was a leading question.
“Yes.” She was impeaching my credibility.
“And we have had Sadie eight years, have we not?” She was on a roll.
“During those eight years, did Sadie or any other dog, such as Max or Rover, may they rest in peace, ever pull this hose out?”
“No,” I admitted.
“Do you expect this court to believe that you have raised even a scintilla of a doubt, let alone a reasonable doubt, that the defendant, Beau, is guilty?”
“I guess not.”
“Then based on all the evidence before this tribunal, I find the Defendant guilty as charged. May God have mercy on his soul.”