A little backstory…
When I was in college, I was a faithful reader of our campus newspaper, “The Michigan Daily”. My favorite part of the newspaper was a tiny section about two inches wide called “Crime Notes”. I loved the “Crime Notes”. It wasn’t just about the petty crime; in order for a crime to make the campus crime notes it had to be absolutely ridiculous.
Naked dude steals biology book from unsuspecting sophomore. Sprints across library before being apprehended by campus security. He probably wouldn’t have been caught, but his public nudity made him rather noticeable.
Purple bike stolen from South Quad. Owner of said bike extremely downtrodden over the loss of bike basket. Forced to walk home and carry backpack in traditional manner. Later she consoled herself by buying a goldfish, but life just wasn’t the same.
Never mind that all of the stories were beyond trite, I eagerly awaited the campus crime notes every week. Eventually, it dawned on me, that germ of an idea. Maybe someday I could make the crime notes! Maybe, just maybe… I know. I know. I was supposed to aim higher than that. However, I never wanted to be president. Nope, I wanted to wow my grandkids with a magical story about how I made the campus crime notes.
And now for the actual story…
It all began one autumn day when a dead possum appeared on the curb right in front of our house. First, we did exactly what we were supposed to do. We notified the University and requested the revolting dead possum be removed. However, after a week of so of looking at mulching dead possum, other ideas began to fester in the mind of one Susan Calamine. To Susan, the dead possum represented a whole world of possibilities.
At heart, Susan was a prankster. She DID want the offensive dead possum removed; her methods were just a little “outside the box”. Why simply call campus maintenance when there were shovels in the basement and snooty sorority girls right across the street? Plus, secretly she was relishing the opportunity to wear black and participate in nefarious activities.
Luckily for the residents of the house, it was late October when the dead possum landed on their front curb. So the carcass didn’t mulch too quickly, and the smell wasn’t unbearable. i.e. There was plenty of time for Susan to hatch her plans.
The hardest part was organizing a task force. Susan couldn’t execute the plan by herself, and really needed the help of her housemates. She would need to be careful though, and pick only the craziest.
Susan quickly narrowed in on 5-6 girls. Nadine was an obvious choice, as she was openly wacky. Tall, solid, courageous, loud, and bizarre, Nadine would be an asset at each stage of the planning. Her next selection was Nadine’s roommate Tara. Smart, diligent, observant, and loyal, Tara would make an outstanding lookout. Next she asked Sally, one of the quietest girls in the house, but also the prettiest. Sally turned her down at first, but then Susan told she would get to dress in all black, and Sally couldn’t resist. After all, black was her best color!
Next came the least obvious choice. Me. I was new to the house, and still too shy to even come down for dinner most nights. Susan had started to befriend me largely out of pity. (Well, I assume she befriended me out of pity.) I think she also realized my unassuming ways would be particularly useful for committing petty crime.
Anyway, once she explained the plan to me I couldn’t resist, especially when she told me I’d be able to skulk around my own front yard in a black ski mask! This appealed to my highly romanticized notions about crime. Also, I was kinda hoping maybe it would be ridiculous enough to make the crime notes.
Susan really wanted to transfer the possum on Halloween or Devil’s Night, but due to scheduling conflicts, we had to settle for Tuesday, November 3rd.
Tuesday, November 3, 1998
After gathering together our supplies, black clothing, rubber gloves, rubber-soled shoes, shovels, and chalk, we began to watch the clock. It was important that no one see us transferring the possum carcass, and in Ann Arbor, the streets didn’t really empty until about 2 a.m. Even then there were always stray students stumbling home from bars and libraries. Tara would need to keep a sharp lookout. The problem was she always had her biology textbook with her, and this worried Susan. Nadine ended up distracting Tara while Susan hid her books. Better to be safe, and have our lookout paying attention.
Susan hid Tara’s books while the rest of us changed into black outfits, and then we were ready. Nadine wanted a picture first; she thought a snapshot of everyone wearing black and carrying shovels would be cute. She claimed if anyone did find the picture, they would think we were goth. Since we weren’t very accustomed to thinking like criminals, we ended up taking the picture.
At the last-minute, we hit several snags. Sally, despite her penchant for black clothing, decided it was too risky, which left only four of us to execute the plan. Shovels in hand, we crept outside. Nadine was the first to reach the disgusting carcass. With all of her might she struggled to lift the possum, but couldn’t. I walked over and tried, but I couldn’t lift it either. Susan would have tried but she didn’t want anywhere near all of those germs. Even though she had layered her gloves, the thought of rabies still left her squeamish.
Since neither of us could lift that inexplicably fat possum alone, we decided to try lifting it together with each of us holding a shovel, but layered so that we were both supporting it. Together, with Susan guiding us, we heaved the dead possum across the street.
As we darted across the street, we hit our second snag. Our neighbor’s porch light snapped on! Without knowing what else to do, we dumped the possum on their driveway, and raced off down the block, three blurs of black from head to toe. Since we didn’t know what else to do, we ran around the block, and then crept back to our house through the alleyway behind it. When we got to the back door, Tara was already holding it open. Sure enough, her blue and white biology book was on the kitchen counter!
And so it was. We had planned on outlining the carcass with chalk and leaving a creepy poem, but we were unable because Tara decided being a student was more important than being our lookout!
When I looked out the window the following morning, the sorority had already covered the dead possum with paper bags. By noon, someone came and removed the carcass. Although I was hoping our crime would be ridiculous enough to make the campus crime notes, sadly it did not. One can really only hope and strive when working toward such illustrious goals.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*All names were changed to protect the privacy of those who don’t wish to blog about petty crimes they committed in college.
Alright, I’m not sure if people were voting to find out about my desperate attempts to make the campus crime notes or for drinking stories… but I’m sure those will come out in due time. This was fun to write regardless. Also, my husband actually DID make the campus crime notes, but that’s another story for another day…