6:55am, campground laundry room, waiting for jeans to dry…


The laundry room is open 24 hours a day. The hands of the clock are removed for our convenience. This gives me time to contemplate another blessing of camper life. Blessing number 4: The convenience of showering, drying off, opening the shower door, bathroom door, and closet door across the hall, selecting my clothes and bringing them into the bathroom without ever leaving the shower stall…

I notice that the laundry room posts several do-not signs, such as…

missing items sign

Items have been reported missing. My powerful inductive/deductive zero-sum intuitive reasoning may be required at my new home away from sold home. This could be considered clue #1. Time for my first mystery investigation since arriving at Kamp Katch a Kriminal. My disguise? A tired, cold, one-handed 50-year-old man.


They will never suspect a thing.

Clue #2: A gallon jug of plant water was placed on a table near the laundry room entrance. How do I know it’s plant water? Because the jug is labeled, “Plant water”.

plant water

Clue #3: Please return my two plants – vine and cactus, the jug says. Please it says. I’m convinced that, if the two stolen plants were returned in the dark of night, a thank-you note would be posted here the following morning. As it is, the substitute hanging plant is getting the attention from whoever happens to be the camp plant lover.

The stress of the case was overwhelming, so I stepped outside to clear my head. That’s when I discovered clue #4 …

smokeless cigAn electronic cigarette near the laundry entrance. The person in question had an obvious addiction to nicotine, but disliked the irritating smoke from a traditional cigarette. It was all coming together. All that was left for me to solve the crime of the stolen plants was to figure out who did it.

What would Shaggy and Scooby Doo? Did you notice my speed-of-light-in-a-vacuum quick wit? I just made a pun. I could have written, “What would Shaggy and Scooby do”. Instead I wrote, “What would Shaggy and Scooby Doo“. This sentence here is inserted as a deliberate pause while I wait for your laughter to subside. This sentence means that I’m still waiting.

What would Shaggy and Scooby do? Eat. Since I wasn’t hungry, I chose to process clues by undertaking the mindlessly repetitive task of walking and counting steps. That is how this engineer/artist/secret sleuth processes data.

I first mastered this concentration technique in undergraduate school as I walked several tenths of a mile from dorm to engineering complex, counting every step along the way.

It was difficult at first. My initial attempts at step-counting went something like this: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7-11 is where I’ll stop after class to play that new Pac-Man video game…“. Eventually, I could count several hundred steps before losing count, then several thousand.

On this day, I reached clarity state at step 2,237, which took me here…

2237 steps from camper door

With a clear mind and the sights and sounds of Spring, I rapidly solved the case. My thoughts instantly flashed back to my second encounter with Carel as I described in Episode #1, when I saw Carel carrying a plant into his trailer.

That’s strike one against him. He never mentioned that the plant was not stolen, so another swing and a miss. Strike two. Finally, I definitively recall detecting no hint of cigarette smoke whenever he was around; therefore he must smoke only electronic cigarettes, exactly like the one I found outside the laundry. Strike three, you Mr. Twin Peaks giant/Lurch lookalike!

My clear head also concluded that, even with three strikes, it would be unwise to implicate an entity like Carel to campground management. Anybody who has the power to appear at will, and who predicts past, present and future with a single word gets a free pass around the bases in my league. Home run, Carel!

I walked back to the laundry room no longer counting my steps, but finding solace in my problem-solving skills. Sherlock Holmes himself would be in a state of envy, if he were still alive and a real person.

My wet jeans! I almost forgot. I returned to the laundry room. I dragged my hot jeans (thermally hot, not sexy) out of the dryer, rolled them into a tight bundle and stuffed them under my one good arm. Just then, the laundry room door flung open.

I looked to see a tiny but muscular woman dragging in a large bag of clothes. She introduced herself first as, “The woman who lives in the third camper from the left if you count backwards,” then she corrected herself.

“Since last month,” she said, “I answer to, ‘the woman who lives in the camper in front of where the dead man was found’. I’ve been living here since June and his was the first death at the campground…” She looked around the room, then whispered, “…that I know of”.

Before I could reply with, “Uh…er…huh? I mean …um… what,” the lady who lives in the camper in front of where the dead man was found pointed a bony finger in my face and continued in a low deliberate voice, “And we all know who you are!”

Next week, Episode #3: Who Cares About Silly Stolen Plants! I’ve Got a Murder to Solve!