It’s A Small World After All

Many years ago, I was sitting and watching Kate’s kung fu practice when the woman next to me, the parent of another student, struck up a conversation with me. The small talk quickly turned to pets. “I have a yellow Lab named Saxon and a Golden Retriever named Bets,” I said.

She paused. “You have a yellow Lab named Saxon? I used to have a yellow Lab named Saxon.”

I was intrigued. “Did you used to live in New Hamburg on XX street?”

“Yes, about seven years ago. We had to give our dogs up when we moved to England. We just came back last year!”

Turns out, I had bought her dog. I didn’t even remember what she’d looked like back then, because I was so fixated on the dog herself, and if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know that if you think I’m saying hello to you, I’m actually talking to your dog, so it’s not unusual that nothing about the woman would have rung a bell. But it was great to show her pictures of Saxon, and she felt really good knowing that she’d made the right decision and that Saxon was well-cared for. At the time, I said to myself, “What a small world.” And last week, another incident happened that reminded me it truly is.

About a month ago, I bought a small black dresser at a thrift store out of town. I didn’t have any space in my booth, and it needed a little paint touch-up so it sat in the corner of our family room for a while. But last weekend, I got ambitious and repainted the top, then decided to take the drawers out and give them a freshening up as well. But when the drawers were all out, I realized that there was something in the bottom of the dresser. It was a driver’s license. I pulled it out and then got a flashlight to check for anything else—sure enough, there was a college student card in there as well. They both belonged to the same girl. Her name (which I won’t tell you here) sounded really familiar, but I didn’t recognize her—I mean, why would I? The address on the ID was from a particular part of Toronto where I’d never been, and the ID was ten years old. And of course, if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know my mind went immediately to SERIAL KILLER. As in, a serial killer murdered this girl then donated, as serial killers do, some items to a charity shop, forgetting that his trophies were in the bottom. I was determined to find out who the mysterious young woman was, and perhaps solve a crime! The program she was taking at college was on the student card, so I went to LinkedIn, assuming that she’d continued in that profession. Nothing. Until I added the name of the college to the search. Tada! It came up with a picture of what seemed to be the same girl but with a different last name. But she hadn’t posted anything for over a year, and the website link on her profile had been de-activated. The plot thickened.

“I’m pretty sure she was murdered,” I propounded to my 21-year-old boss at work.

“Or maybe she had a baby and she’s on maternity leave,” he replied. Unlikely, but I wasn’t going to argue with the kid who signs my pay cheques.

That night, I had a brainstorm. I would try to find her under the new name on Facebook. I began the search, and she came up right away, because WE HAVE A MUTUAL FRIEND. And we have a mutual friend who’s a former student of mine because she used to go to the high school where I taught over 17 years ago. AND I TAUGHT HER SISTER.

So I messaged her, hoping that saying “Hey, I found your ID in an old dresser that I bought at a thrift store—do you want it back?” wouldn’t be creepy AF. I did preface it with the fact that we had a mutual friend, and that I taught at her former high school. Still, she was a little hesitant when she replied, asking me to send pictures of the ID, so I did, as well as a picture of the dresser, and then she was delighted. Apparently, she’d had that dresser as a teen and loved it—her mom had recently donated it, and she didn’t know how the cards got in there, but could I mail them back to her? Also, she was on maternity leave. So mystery solved. What a small world indeed. And the best part is, I can incorporate my original serial killer version into my new novel, The Devil You Know (the sequel to The Seventh Devil), which I’m only four chapters away from completing.

In other news, we now have a cat. Kate applied to adopt one of the school cats (the students are allowed to do this at the end of each year) and she brought her back this reading week for a home visit. She’s an absolutely adorable, tiny tuxedo cat, but until she’s no longer the property of the college, I can’t post pictures of her on social media. Then prepare for the deluge. As for Atlas, he’s completely befuddled because we have to keep them separated until they get used to each other so in lieu of a picture of the kitty, here’s my sweet boy:

54 thoughts on “It’s A Small World After All

  1. It is a small world. And how funny that your youngster-boss had assumed maternity leave and was right! I love how your brain goes straight to Serial Killer. Ha ha ha. Best of luck on getting the book completed. 🙂 Let me know when they’re on kindle so I can read them!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I love small world stories! My favorite one involving me…

    I used to bowl on a team with my aunt and sister…. next town over because our local alley shut down. When our fourth had to quit due to health problems, the league found us a replacement, a nice lady who we’d never met before. She also lived in my town, and mentioned one week that she practically followed me back on her way home the week before, and that I turned off near where she grew up. Turns out, I not only lived in the same neighborhood she grew up in, but the very same house!!! And this isn’t exactly a small town!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My wife knows a lot of people through the dog shows she goes to and sometimes she’ll mention someone that I think I don’t know until she tells me their dog’s name and I’ll say I remember them even though I can only picture the dog. It’s also funny to me that we’ll see a Dalmatian on TV and she knows the dog and the owner. That’s just another reminder of what a small world we live in, but also how pets bring people together. And have you noticed that serial killers almost never have pets?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. “The Devil you Know”? I see one there at the bottom, dark demeanor, blazing eyes.

    On the topic of the discovery of lost possessions, I’m kinda surprised this isn’t one of your things. Old, ornate, broken clocks with “extra” keys, or stuck secret drawers; armoires with false backs; Victorian lap desks with odd, movable inlays; unsolvable puzzle boxes…

    I recall a conversation with an eccentric, unusually young fellow in some bar in Colorado. He made a habit of buying old farmsteads with farmhouses which he carefully disassembled. “Folks didn’t used to trust banks,” he claimed. Jars and sacks and tin boxes stuffed with cash and valuables were his targets. Almost every property had something buried or stashed away. At the time, in my 20’s, I was envious of his lifestyle.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love those anecdotes and you tell them with such humor and warmth.

    It reminded me of a tale. My Dad had retired and was living in San Antonio, TX, home to several military bases. As a military retiree, he used the commissary and post exchange for shopping, along with medical services. One day while walking around one of those places, he saw some guy watching him. The guy kept getting closer and closer. Dad described him as someone younger than me, and the intent way he watched Dad was freaking Dad out. (Yes, was he a serial killer stalking Dad? Or maybe he was plotting to abduct Dad as part of some huge and convoluted nefarious international plot.)

    Dad had enough and walked up to you and asked, “Something wrong? You’re staring at me.”

    The guy apologized and said, “I’m sorry but you look just like someone I served with in Egypt, but he was younger than you.”

    Yep, turned out it was me. Dad and I looked so much alike that it’d drawn the guy’s attention.

    Looking forward to the next book. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow all the cool things happen to you, lol. You find some girls IDs in an old nightstand/dresser. Then bam!! You have a new story for your book. Congrats you have a grand cat!!! Of course Atlas looks handsome as ever, had he cut back on the wine? 😆. Charlie started drinking vodka convinced he’s no longer Scottish but Russian. Cats, once they change their mind it’s hard to convince them otherwise 🙄.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Last year my daughter flew to Florida with a friend for 4 days. On her first day there she discovered that her debit card was missing. After back tracking to some places she had been and not finding it she locked it so no one could use it. The next day she got a facebook message from someone she didn’t know inquiring if she had lost her card. She replied that she had. The woman asked her where she was and she told her (same city in Florida where she found the card).. Since my daughter didn’t have a vehicle she couldn’t drive to the woman’s house to pick it up. The woman asked her where she was from and when she told her the woman said we’re from _____ which is the next city over from where my daughter lives and the city where she works. The woman said her husband would be flying home in two days – so was my daughter. He was on an earlier flight though. The woman sent my daughter’s card with her husband who ended up dropping it off at my daughter’s work. a small world indeed!
    Hi Atlas – Good Boy! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. just read Anne Patchet’s newest book where she describes how someone found some old stuff of hers at the bottom of furniture that got sold. the finder kept wanting her to be enthused about this long lost thing reappearing, but alas, she wasn’t lol.
    dear Atlas! you’re smart to have the dog before the cat.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I really love how the Universe works. The chances of you meeting Saxon’s original “people” are so minuscule, and yet, look what happened. This also reminds me how important it is to be friendly and chat to a stranger – that’s when the Universe “chats” too. Also, we humans should never ignore little “trivialities” like an ID in an old drawer, ’cause again, the Universe likes to have her fun. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Atlas’ face speaks volumes about the feline addition to your home. I think I too read too many mysteries because, OBVIOUSLY, the hidden IDs were left in there by a forgetful sociopath. It’s a good thing you’re an ace detective—the truth makes a pretty great tale too.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Atlas looks so handsome. As your mind turns quickly to serial killers, when I see photos of dogs and cats my mind turns to cartoon bubbles. Atlas in #1 bubble: “What?! You brought a c-a-t into MY house?!”
    #2 bubble: “ Please mom, I’ll be good. You aren’t serious about that fur-ball, are you?
    This will be fun to follow. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

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