I witnessed a crime. It was the most heinous of crimes…a murder. The scene was horrendous. I turned away but suppressed my terror to investigate further. To my surprise, the evidence suggested the prodigy was responsible for this unspeakable act.
The Victim: an innocent tube of toothpaste. Crest brand, whitening, fresh mint flavor. It appeared the culprit of relentless middle squeezing ejecting more toothpaste than any self-respecting toothbrush could manage.
The Scene: the bathroom vanity counter with collateral fallout in the connecting hall and adjacent bedroom
The Evidence: a mangled tube. Toothpaste on the counter. Toothpaste on the throw rug and Toothpaste on bed sheets. Oh, the horror! Feel lucky you didn’t witness it.
Allow me to reenact the crime. Warning, the descriptions are graphic and may not be tolerable to some readers.
I suspect the prodigy entered the bathroom at approximately 06:30A to primp for the day. In a tired stupor, he primped in the dark. He groped for the tube and squeezed to eject toothpaste, but the toothbrush and toothpaste were not aligned so toothpaste spilled on the throw rug.
When he attempted to brush his teeth and realized there was no toothpaste, he squeezed more firmly — again, the toothpaste and toothbrush misaligned, but enough paste transferred to the brush to continue this time.
He spit and missed repeatedly dribbling spent toothpaste on the counter, sink and mirror. He discarded the mangled toothpaste and toothbrush on the counter, but when he left the bathroom he stepped in the toothpaste grinding it into the carpet fibers and carried some on his foot; hence the toothpaste footprints that lead from the bathroom to the bedroom where I found another blob of toothpaste in the bed sheets at the same elevation where feet lay when the body is prone. Allow me a moment to regain my composure for the harsh reality of a murderer in our midst was overwhelming.
I was afraid for him so I cleaned the counter, the toothpaste tube, washed the rug, scrubbed the floor and washed the bed sheets. No one but me would know the act or the person responsible. It was a terrible burden to carry but I had to ask the prodigy’s version. It seemed like hours waiting for him to return. [It actually was hours because he works late and returned 12 hours later.]
I confronted the culprit when he returned to the scene. I explained what I found and how I discarded the evidence. The prodigy and teacher listened in earnest. No one confirmed my suspicion, but the prodigy smiled faintly. The teacher furrowed her brow. Only two people know what happened that fateful day, the prodigy and the toothpaste. Lives returned to normal the next day. The prodigy and teacher returned to school. The toothpaste may never be the same and I earned a new moniker, the Cleaner.
Architect by day, Inspector by early morning.