He was lying on his stomach, fast asleep with a pillow over his head when she shook him gently and whispered, “Honey, wake up. I’ve got a surprise.”
Opening one eye, he peeked at the alarm clock. ‘Jeez,’ he thought, ‘Six o’clock on Sunday morning! Please go away and let me sleep.’ But she kept shaking him until he removed the pillow from his head and clumsily sat up, his morning hair falling over his eyes. “What’s up?” he muttered.
“Well, I’ve got something in my hand behind my back. Are you ready to see it?” she announced gleefully.
He sat up a bit straighter as his vision cleared and he grumpily replied, “Yeah, I’m ready to see what’s so important that you had to wake me up on my day off.”
Smiling, she brought her right hand from behind her back and showed him what she was holding. “Oh, God, you found it! My class ring!” He was wide awake now and excited. “Where in the hell was it, anyway? I lost this, what, twenty-five years ago, right?”
She reached out and put the ring on one of his fingers and they both looked at it for a moment. As he continued to gaze at his lost treasure, she got up and explained what had happened. “Well, I was scooping the poop from the cat box downstairs, and there it was, right in the scoop along with the rest of kitty’s little deposits!”
He looked at her with a slight frown and quickly asked, “You cleaned it, right?”
“Of course I did,” she laughed. “But, Jim, after all these years, how did it get there? I mean, the litter box? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?”
He didn’t have a good answer for her. Instead, he thought back to those days when the ring had gone missing from the house. They called in the police who did an investigation and then made an arrest. A kid from the inner city had been picked-up in the neighborhood the night they lost it. Wrong place, wrong time for him, and even though he professed his innocence, he was tagged with the theft of the ring and several other items from the neighborhood and convicted and sent to prison. The ring was never found, they never expected to see it again, and so they lost interest. Now this happened and it raised serious questions and doubts.
Finally, he focused on the problem. “Okay, we did a complete check of the house back then. Nothing turned up, and there were no signs of a break-in. And we didn’t get a cat until a few years ago. And we’ve repainted that room several times, and each time we removed everything in it. That ring was not in that room all this time! No way!” he explained. “Unless . . . . .?” he said, trailing off a bit.
“Unless what?” she wondered. Then she blurted out, “Unless some rodent stole the ring, hid it behind a wall somewhere and kitty found it and dragged it out! Is that what you’re thinking?”
He shook his head. “No, that’s not it.” He waited for a moment and then continued coldly, “You didn’t find the ring in the cat box, did you? Tell me the truth. I know it, anyway.”
She visibly gulped but said nothing. He went on, ”You’ve had it all along, haven’t you? It was you that kid was visiting the night he was arrested near here, right? And you had to come up with some reason he was in the neighborhood, some reason other than the real one, some reason that would keep him quiet for a very long time.”
She put her head in her hands and sobbed as he got up and paced slowly around the bedroom. “So, did the guy die in prison recently or something like that? Is that what’s bringing this out now?” She nodded as she sobbed.
Still sniveling, she looked up at him and asked, "Have you known all along?"
A cruel smile crept across his mouth as he said, “It crossed my mind. Now can I go back to bed now and sleep in a bit?”