One of my coworkers is a thief and I’m on the case to bring him or her to justice.
As you all know, hand sanitizer is pretty much liquid gold and I had a full bottle at my disposal. Yes, about two weeks ago, before the world went on lockdown, I was given my very own, brand new, full-to-the-brim bottle of hand sanitizer. And like anyone who works in an office, I put that bottle on my desk for easy access.
Last week, I sat down at my desk and decided to give my hands a quick cleansing, and when I went to get a pump from my sanitizer, to my shock and horror, it was gone. That’s right, one of my coworkers got the itch for thievery and decided to scratch. And the victim was my hand sanitizer.
I wasn’t going to just sit back and let this injustice proceed without the perpetrator being held accountable for their actions. So, I decided to take on the role of my childhood hero and solve this crime, much like Angela Lansbury would do as Jessica Fletcher in “Murder, She Wrote.”
Like any good detective, I created a list of suspects. Fortunately for me, I do not have many coworkers, so my list wasn’t too long. After minutes and minutes of deep contemplation, I narrowed my list down to five people: editor Marc Lutz; reporters Davis Harper, Dakota Morlan and Noah Berner; and advertising consultant Nhu Bergstrom.
First, I looked at Marc. What would be his motivation for boosting my hand sanitizer? Well, he’s the boss, so who in their right mind would accuse the boss of being a thief? It’s the perfect crime. And, should I get the nerve to accuse him, and possibly find him guilty of having sticky fingers, he could respond by giving me a spot in the unemployment line. Is solving this crime worth getting my walking papers? Is this the sanitized hill that I’m willing to die on? Yes, it is. Needless to say, he didn’t prove enough for me to clear his name.
And then there’s Davis. By all outward appearances, Davis is a perfect young man. And that’s the problem; maybe he’s too perfect. While he acts like Beaver Cleaver, deep down I feel there’s an Eddie Haskell inside of him who strikes when it’s most convenient. Like most who are accused of such a heinous crime, Davis denied it. But as he left the building, he made a comment that sent chills up my spine. “Besides, hand sanitizer wouldn’t help much now anyway,” he said with a mischievous grin on his face. Is that his way of confessing? He remains a suspect.
Now, what about Dakota? Why would a former Bret Harte High School homecoming queen and burrito enthusiast do something so dastardly and heinous? Sure, in the past, Dakota probably wouldn’t have made the list. But the Dakota who once was, is no longer the same person. After making a starring role in a recent NBC “Dateline” episode, as well as being interviewed for the “California True Crime” podcast, overnight Dakota has gone from a face in the crowd to the hottest new local celebrity. And perhaps with her newfound fame, Dakota thinks that she is above the law and that the rules don’t apply to people of her status. If the world is her oyster, why not take some hand sanitizer to keep her stardom grabbing hands clean and germ-free?
And then there’s Noah. If guilty had a face, it would resemble his. Right off the bat, I noticed that he had a bottle of hand sanitizer resting on his desk, which was identical to my missing bottle. When asked about the missing hand sanitizer, his story changed more than a poorly written article going through multiple drafts. He first said that the bottle just showed up on his desk and he didn’t know how it got there. But after a more vicious interrogation, he changed his tune and said that he brought the bottle down from his previous desk to his new location. As much as I wanted to change his byline to Pinocchio Berner, without a confession, I couldn’t close the case.
And finally, there’s Nhu. Out of all my suspects, she may be the one who has the biggest motive to acquire something for cleanliness. With two young children at home, it would make sense that she’s always thinking about keeping them clean and protecting them from any possible germs. And who would accuse a mother of committing such a thoughtless crime? I would. But after I grilled her for over 37 seconds, she pointed to her bottle of sanitizer sitting on her desk. Her generic brand, which I’m pretty sure was called “Handy SanaTYser,” did not match my missing bottle. But, without sending samples of her sanitizer to the lab for testing, there’s no way of knowing whether or not she poured from one bottle to the other and ditched the evidence.
I’ll tell you, it’s tough to sit in a building with people who appear to be kind and thoughtful coworkers, but once you turn your back are nothing more than hardened criminals. And much like the mysteries of, who actually did let the dogs out, who took the cookie from the cookie jar, and why lists of three always seem to have the most impact, I may never know the truth about what happened to my hand sanitizer. Their hands might be clean, but I’d like to believe that their conscience is not.
But fear not, for while this case might grow cold, I’ll never stop hoping of one day bringing the culprit to justice and having the satisfaction of keeping the office safe from crime.