Last night I found a most startling sight on the floor of Charlie’s closet. As good as I am at assessing a “Charlie Situation,” this one took me a full thirty seconds of hard staring to completely get my head wrapped around what it was I was looking at. The fact that the two undershirts were shredded is what caused me the most concern. The red color I saw everywhere didn’t look deep and dark enough to be true blood but the massive shredding of the cloth…with scissors probably…was cause for worry. Did Charlie cut himself while shredding the shirts? Was this blood? Was I looking at blood?
Eventually, I came to the realization that this was NOT blood. No. What we had here was ink. Lots of red ink. From where had this ink been procured, I wondered. For the next thirty seconds, I stood at the doorway to Charlie’s closet and gathered the facts as best I could, trying to piece together for myself the probable drama.
I picked up one of the shredded undershirts and glanced at the tag on the inside collar. “Paul Stuart,” I read. Yes indeed, this was a new white tee shirt. (He couldn’t have used one of his old ratty undershirts for the project?)
I yelled for Charlie. As soon as he entered his bedroom, I pointed to the ghastly display and began my interrogation.
“What’s up with this business here on the floor?”
“I call it Werewolf Attacks!”
“That’s funny.” (Actually it was, but I didn’t crack a smile.) “Charlie, come on! This….this is some crazy business. This scared the crap outta me. I thought it was blood. And…and anyway this was one of your good undershirts. What the heck….!”
“I was EXTREMELY bored that day.”
“That day? What do you mean that day?! This monstrous site must be recent because I’m pretty sure I’ve been in this closet already today. I would have seen this. When did you do this?”
“It’s old news….I can’t remember.”
“What does it matter when I did it? It’s done.”
“Jesus.” (The exasperation has gotten the better of me so I’ve resorted to an almost-swear. But he’s right, it doesn’t really matter when he did this.) “Well, then….what is all this red color from?!”
“Dye. What dye?! We don’t have dye here!”
“Dye…whatever it’s called…in the kitchen…in the cabinet….”
“Food coloring? You mean food coloring?”
“Yea – that’s what it was!” (The criminal was excited for the investigator, now that she’d landed on a solid clue.)
“And where is the food coloring now?”
Charlie went over to some plastic cabinets stored near his clothes closet, the scene of the “bloody” crime. He pulled open a drawer and extracted a small box of food coloring. I opened the box to find a set of four stubby bottles. There was blue, yellow, green…the red was empty.
I snatched the box from his hand. “No more SATURATING with food coloring. No more SHREDDING shirts. No more of this stuff.
“I was prepping for Halloween.”
“No more PREPPING.”
“I was having an artistic moment.”
“No more of those MOMENTS with new undershirts…with dye…I mean food coloring….with scissors…in this house. Are we clear?”
“Crystal. I really need my own studio.”