Something shiny caught my eye as I trudged up the driveway this afternoon.
Shiny Object! Brass and Shiny Object. I picked it up. Oh! Shiny Brass Shell Casing.
Now, I've found shell casings before, because this is America, and there are deer. But this wasn't like those. This was button-sized.
I turned it over and read the marking: G.F.I. 9mm Luger. I immediately suspected Nazis, but it turns out the Luger is a modern Wal-Mart handgun. A handgun, not a killin-varmints gun, but a killin-peoples-and-small-varmints gun.
So I poked around the internet a bit, and investigated shell casings, and I found a number of instances in which dogs had sniffed out shell casings that were then used as evidence in murder cases. No one in my neighborhood has been murdered as far as I know, but if they are rotting right now I would feel bad to frustrate the police dogs. ("Sniff sniff! It was right here on the driveway! I've lost the scent! Damnit to hell!")
So I called the police - not 911 but the nearest station.
"Hi. This by no means an emergency, but I found a shell casing outside my house."
"Can you describe it?"
"It's a 9mm G.F.I. Luger -"
"What is your name?"
So! I felt vindicated. I told him my name and said, "I'm surprised, I really thought you'd laugh this off."
He answered with a stony, "I wouldn't do that."
Then we went through "What is your address," "When did you find it?" and the one I was dreading, "Did you touch it?"
"Well, yes I did. I didn't even think about fingerprints."
Then, "[unintelligible] an officer will come out."
I thought he said, "If you need one, an officer will come out,"so I replied, "Oh, no, I don't need that, I was just worried your dogs would be sniffing for it and not find it."
I WAS JUST WORRIED YOUR DOGS WOULD BE SNIFFING FOR IT AND NOT FIND IT.
Then a long pause, and then he said, "So are you saying you do not want to talk to an officer.?"
"Well, I don't need to talk to anyone, it's not like I'm concerned."
"So you are refusing to see the officer?"
What? What had he said? "No! No, I'm not refusing at all!" And THEN I shut up.
So, then I had to get dressed for the officer that would be visiting soon, and tidy up the house, and call Gary to tell him to remain calm when he arrived home to find a police car. (I told him the story. "You didn't touch it, did you?" he immediately asked. Gary's been in police crossfire. I should probably tell you that story. Another day.)
The officer showed up, all starched and khaki and twenty. He turned the shell casing all about and said, "Oh, it's spent." He sounded a little disappointed.
I thought that was odd. If it wasn't a spent shell casing, wouldn't I remark there was a bullet on my driveway?
At any rate he asked if I'd heard gunshots (No). He surmised someone had picked them up (after target practice, I suppose) and just dropped one.
When he left, he went to his car which was parked across the street at the neighbor's, since the neighbor's daughter was parked in front of my house.
I noticed they were out in the front gardening. I hope they weren't there when the police showed up. That would be alarming, to look up from gardening and find a police officer. What must they think! Hah! I was going to go over and explain everything, but now I think I'll let it lie.