Marbles in the Medicine Chest
My second ex-husband or “Double-X” came equipped with a best friend, Andrew. They were two peas in a pod. Frick & Frack. Joined at the hip. Andrew (Frack) owned a chain of jewelry stores but never spent any time there. He and Double-X (Frick) would water-ski eighteen hours a day using my house as a mini Club Med. Double-X and I had been married less than a year. I was still sensitive to his tender male ego and worried about making him feel less than manly by forcing him to live in my house on the bay. His friends descended on Friday and left on Sunday night. Reluctantly, I welcomed the gypsy troop of wandering water-skiers, but there was always something slightly off with Andrew. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it.
After a particularly grueling day of sun and fun, Andrew, the jewelry store mogul, announced he had become a house painter. He placed ads, ordered business cards, and even bought himself painters’ jumpsuits for his skinny little body. And soon he had customers. I was intrigued.
It was the Sunday before Christmas. Double X, Andrew, and the gypsies were getting ready to water-ski. I sat next to Andrew on my dock. “Why did you start painting houses?” I asked. The skinny little toad looked me right in the eye and said, “People leave me alone in their homes all day while I paint. I like going through their drawers and closets. I find the most interesting things.”
I shuddered. Andrew made my skin crawl.
Now his new profession made sense. It rankled me whenever Andrew used the potty at my house, he would always wander into the master bathroom. I’d gently suggest he use the guest bath or the powder room. It soon became a contest between us. He’d stand as if heading for the bathroom, and I’d dash to body-block my bedroom door.
Double-X looked like a storm cloud had settled on his face when I told him what I’d learned about Andrew’s Paint & Snoop business. “Andrew’s just joking. He paints walls because he likes the exercise,” Double X said. I could see this chat was not going to lead to any great reformation.
I took a firm stance. “I don’t want Andrew to use our master bedroom bath. He’s snooping in my private girl stuff. He’s looking in our medicine chest.”
Double-X puffed up to twice his size. “Andrew would never snoop. He would never look in our medicine chest. You’re paranoid.”
The next Saturday while Andrew and Double-X were out and about setting up for a water-ski event to be held at the house, I swung into action. I purchased two bags of glass marbles…kids’ marbles. I cleared out the medicine chest, and oh so carefully filled one shelf with both bags of marbles. Shelving marbles is very challenging work. The technique takes great eye-hand coordination, a skill I lack. It took me two hours of rabid concentration along with an invention made of cardboard and two teaspoons. After countless tries, fueled by my desire to prove Andrew was snooping, I finally loaded the medicine chest with both bags of marbles.
I placed a baby monitor on the bathroom counter behind a decorative plant. The speaker end of the monitor sat on a patio coffee table in the middle of the gypsies’ drinks. No one noticed it as they sat and sipped, après-ski.
The time came for Andrew to prowl. He got up and headed to my master bedroom. I faked a blocking move so he wouldn’t get suspicious, but let him gain access to my bathroom.
Turning up the volume on the baby monitor receiver, I sat down with the guests, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. The sound of piddle, then a flush, called the gypsies to attention. They looked high, they looked low, and they looked at their drinks. They scratched their heads. Double-X frowned.
Just as all eyes zeroed in on the baby monitor speaker, one hundred glass marbles hit the granite bathroom counter with a confirming clatter.
Never underestimate a Woman Sleuth.
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