Buddy is likely culprit, but evidence is lacking

By JAN BROWN
The Wandering Mind

There’s a mystery of sorts haunting my apartment. My front door has the kind of handle that opens by pulling up or pushing down on it. From the inside, this action also unlocks the door. It’s the easiest kind of handle and lock for doors in buildings meant for geezers like me.

Several times in the past, I noticed that my front door was unlocked when I got up in the morning. Some of those times, I wasn’t completely sure I had locked it the night before, but other times I was positive that I had not only locked that lock long before I’d gotten too sleepy to remember whether I had done it or not, but I had double checked it.

Then my next door neighbor told me that a couple of times as she walked past my apartment, she’d noticed my door handle jiggling and she wondered if Buddy might be trying to open the door. I had to admit that it was possible. Buddy was definitely capable of jumping up high enough to reach the door handle and her 8 pounds and 12 ounces were more than enough to pull the handle down and unlock the lock. When I confronted Buddy with these allegations, the unlocking stopped.

Cut to the present. I’d noticed that several times, when I came home and unlocked my apartment door, I didn’t feel or hear that tell-tale clunk when the key makes the tumblers fall into place, thereby unlocking the door. I chalked it up to my wandering mind which wasn’t paying attention to the unlocking process but instead had probably moseyed off somewhere looking for butterflies or shiny things. One day there would be a definite sound and sensation when I turned my key and the next there would be none.

But by the time I turned the key, it was too late to check the state of the door’s previous lockedness or unlockedness. I wasn’t really concerned until the other morning when I got up and found the front door unlocked for the first time in a long time, and I was almost totally for sure positive that I remembered locking up the night before.

Then a few days ago, I came home from church and for some reason, I was paying attention to what I was doing – something that apparently does not happen that often! I distinctly remembered locking the door when I left for church, so I thought it would be the perfect time to check the state of the lock and then see what happened when I turned the key. The door was already unlocked.

I was almost convinced that there was nefarious door unlocking being committed by my cat Buddy, but there was no witness to say that I had actually locked the door. I was sure, but I know I am not necessarily the most reliable witness. The next day, my sister Susan came up from the Big City to visit. We went out to shop a little and then have supper. When we left my apartment, I asked her to watch and make sure I had locked the door and then check the door to make sure it wouldn’t open. She did and it wouldn’t. I won’t bore you with what we bought or what we had to eat, but we had a good time.

When we came back to my apartment, I again asked Susan to be a witness while I attempted to open the door without unlocking it. She agreed. It opened without my key even leaving my purse. And right inside the door was the suspect – Buddy Anna Marie Ruth Brown. My sister agreed that something suspicious was going on, but she didn’t have time to stay and make an official statement because she had to get home to take her dog to a class to learn to do tricks.

Even though the evidence was circumstantial, I am sure Buddy is the guilty party. There were no fingerprints, but that was only because cats don’t have fingers. There was no DNA evidence, but that was only because I can’t afford that kind of equipment.

There was probably an eyewitness, but Sweetpea – my other cat – is not talking. She feels she is covered by the 5th Amendment which protects her from incriminating herself. This leads me to believe she aided or at least abetted the unlocking capers. Either way, she will not be testifying.

And there is no confession. Buddy has not exactly remained silent, but anything she has said would not be admissible in a court of law because she only repeats variations on “Meow!” I am not positive what she is saying, but I believe it is something like, “Neener, neener, neener!” or possibly, “Nana, nana, booboo!”

I am frequently outwitted by both Buddy and Sweetpea, but this time I believe I have solved the problem and thwarted any future attempts at unlocking the door. A box secured over my door handle is not very attractive or convenient, but it’s working. So far.

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