Column

Penkava: The game’s afoot when your wife’s a Sherlock

Michael Penkava
Michael Penkava

I covertly ordered two amber front turn signal lenses for my classic VW Beetle. The tracking information told me the package would arrive that day.

I anxiously waited for the mail to arrive that afternoon. I had to get there before my wife, grab my contraband and sneak it into the garage.

I planted myself outside, tinkering with pulling the weeds in the driveway until I heard the post office truck coming. I met the carrier at the sidewalk, grabbed my package and ran.

I dove into the garage, closed the door, opened the box and drooled over my lenses as I hid them in the Beetle’s glove box. Then I nonchalantly walked out of the garage, dropped the packaging into the garbage can and whistled my way back into the house.

I sleeked into my office, went to my high-backed leather office chair that I got at Savers for $9.99 and sat down with my hands behind my head, luxuriating in my audacious sneakiness.

Suddenly, my wife appeared at the door.

“Michael, what have you been up to?”

“Just sitting here thinking. Why?”

“Is there something you’d like to tell me?

“Um, yes … you look real pretty today, darling.”

As I waited for her to reply, I had the shuddersome feeling that she was on to me, but I kept my cool.

“Michael, did the mail come yet?”

“I think I heard the truck come a while ago. It’s probably in the mailbox. Want me to get it?”

“Do you think all of the mail is in the box?”

“What do you mean?”

I was thinking the jig was up, but I put an innocent look on my face and held my ground.

“Well, Michael, I saw you outside pulling weeds from the driveway.”

“I just wanted to get a jump on them.”

“And then you ran to the front and scampered into the garage.”

“Well, I wanted to check to see if my Bug was OK.”

“And your trip to the recycling container?”

“Just doing my part to save the earth.”

“And the guilty look on your face?”

“I’m just sad because I haven’t told you how much I love you today.”

I now knew I was in for it. She had the look of a young lioness ready to pounce upon a hapless elderly wildebeest.

Gulp.

“OK, Honey, you got me. I got some lenses for the Bug. But how did you know?”

“Here’s what made me think you were up to something, Michael,” she began. “You never pull driveway weeds unless I ask you, much less do it in the heat of the day. You never run because you think you look funny, plus your torn ACL knee won’t allow it,” she continued.

“Although you like to check on your Bug, you never check on it while the garage doors are closed. And your stop at the garbage can to do away with the evidence was classic husbandly modus operandi.

“Plus, I know every expression that your face can contort, and the last million times that I saw that very same look was when I found out you insidiously bought something on eBay.”

Geesh. The last time she used the word “insidiously” was when she caught me insidiously drinking out of the gallon milk jug.

“Golly, Honey, you sound like some detective, like Sherlock Holmes. How do you do it?”

“Elementary, my dear Michael, elementary.”

• Michael Penkava taught a bunch of kids and wrote a bunch of stuff. He now has a new eBay account under the name “Moriarty.” He can be reached at

mikepenkava@comcast.net.

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