Tuesday, December 09, 2008


We were out at dinner yesterday evening with our friends M. and S. and the topic of discussion shifted over, briefly, to the extensive remodeling work they are having done in their home.

“Extensive” does not, perhaps, do their project justice, since they are spending more on it than we did on our entire house. But when they are done, they will have a showplace.

Apparently, in the process of doing some work at the margins of the property – tearing out a fence, or some such task – their contractors discovered an old cache of empty liquor bottles. The supervisor speculated was that M. and S.’s kids and their friends may have been engaging in a little illicit partying, once upon a time, after which they buried the evidence at the edge of the yard where it wouldn’t be discovered.

There were several problems with this theory, the biggest one being that M. and S.’s kids never lived in that house – they were all on their own or away at college by the time it was purchased about ten years ago. “Did the neighbors have teenage kids?” asked the supervisor. Unlikely, answered S. – the neighbors on that side of the property were in their seventies, and no teenagers lived in any of the nearby houses.

Well, then, perhaps it was workmen, offered the supervisor. Maybe from when the pool was put in. He then dropped the subject, evidently getting tired of trying to figure out a plausible explanation for the Backyard Bottles.

She Who Must Be Obeyed had her own ideas. No, the culprits were not workmen, nor were they teenagers. The empties – all Crown Royal 1.75 liter bottles – were not what you’d expect a day laborer or high school kid in search of a boozy high to buy. Too big...and way too expensive.

No, what we were probably seeing was the hastily hidden evidence from an alcoholic homeowner – a previous owner or a neighbor, perhaps - who did not want the spouse discovering his or her quiet addiction. My guess would be the wife. Imagine her, living a life of suburban desperation, drowning her misery and rage in a sea of fine Canadian whiskey, then burying the empties in the back yard in a well-hidden spot before attacking the Listerine and waiting for hubby at the front door with a happy smile and glazed eyes.

A look at the actual bottles would help confirm the timeline, using clues such as label design, price tags, and the presence or absence of tax stamps. But, alas, the contractors tossed them out with the trash.

Ya gotta give the Missus props for her Mad Detective Skillz, though, eh?

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