I seem to have misplaced the first half of this year. I’m sure it was only a few weeks ago that I was girding various unmentionable parts of myself to deal with the Great Onslaught of Assorted Tradesman, and trying to put together classes to help with meeting their various (and generally quite reasonable) requests to be paid. So I can, in theory, account for January, and maybe February. It’s possible that March happened while I was attempting to undo the worst of the carnage that befell my garden. I know something whistled past me, but I’d assumed that was blackbirds, or possibly piwakawaka– there was one who did make a point of following me when I went to put out the washing. Very interested in my pegging strategies. But laundry, blackbirds and fantails can’t account for an entire month, surely. And even if they could, that only takes us to the end of March. Which leads me to the only possible conclusion.
Me: Hello, police? I’d like to report a theft.
Police: Certainly. What was stolen?
Me: April and May.
Police: And April and May are … pets?
Me: Well I wouldn’t put it quite like that, but yes, I suppose so. I mean, I do like them. So in the sense of ”teacher’s pets”, alright, yes.
Police: … Ok. Do you know when exactly they were taken?
Me: I assume right at the end of March.
Police: The Easter long weekend? (Sound of writing.) Had you gone away?
Me: Umm, well, yes. As a matter of fact I was working for the two middle days, but home the other two.
Police: I’m afraid there does tend to be a bit of an upswing in crime on holiday weekends. Was it well known that you would be away on those two days?
Me: Well yes, sort of. I mean, I was teaching poetry classes, so they had been advertised. But I don’t know that anyone local knew particularly.
Police: And were May and April valuable?
Police: April and May. Were they valuable? To other people, I mean. Would they have been easy to resell?
Me: I don’t quite know how to answer that. Um, yes, I think most people would be quite keen to have them. The colours are lovely, and it’s a good time for snuggling, so yes, I would call them both valuable and desireable.
Me: Valuable and desireable, yes. Both of them, both of that. Those. Yes.
Police: Ok. (Sound of more writing.) You mentioned colour. What colour were they?
Me: What colour? Are April and May?
Police: Yes. You said they were pretty colours. What colours, exactly? And do they have any distinguishing markings?
Me: Well, mostly golden, I guess. Russety yellowy goldy coloured.
Police: Both the same?
Me: I guess May is more russety red than April.
Police: Ok, and any distinguishing markings?
Me: I’m not really sure what you mean.
Police. Markings. Stockings, stars, blazes, brands, that sort of thing.
Me: Oh, ok. Well yes, I suppose blazes are a feature.
Police: Of which one? Or both?
Me: April not so much, but towards the end of May, definitely.
Police: Blazes are on faces, so if you’re talking about them near her end, it’s technically called a blanket.
Me: Oh, ok. Well yes, definitely blankets.
Police: (Writing) May … a … blanket. Big or small? How far down the legs does it go?
Me: Big. All the way down.
Police: (More writing ) all … the way … down. Got it. Ok, how about brands? Were they branded at all? Tagged? Microchipped?
Me: Yes, I think they were branded.
Police: And do you remember what the brand looked like?
Me: Sorry, no. I’d have to try and find the receipt somewhere. Do you want me to go look now, or—
Police: No, later’s fine. It’s more useful for establishing ownership when we do track them down. Let me see, what else— oh yes, size. How big are they?
Me: How big are April and May?
Police: Yes. How big.
Me: Um, the normal length?
Police: Yes, great, but how big? Just an estimate if you don’t know exactly. Centimetres, inches, or hands. Heck, even feet. Whatever you usually measure them in. I can do the conversion later.
Me: (Sound of something being sung under the breath) 30 … hath April … May 31.
Police: Ok, and is that in centimetres, inches …
Me: Um, days. It’s in days.
Police: (A pause.) Sorry, I was asking for size, not age. But ok. Hmm – thirty and thirty-one days is pretty young. Is there some danger that they won’t survive without particular care?
Me: Umm … no? They manage just fine on their own.
Police: Ok, so they’re precocial. That’s good, that’s good. Back to the question though – size. How big please?
Me: Yes, as I told you – April is thirty days long, and May is thirty-one days long. Even in a leap year.
Police: (Carefully): Just so I’m clear on this. What species are we talking about? What sort of animal?
Me: I’m sorry, what? An animal? I’m talking about April and May. The months. April. And May. It’s June already, and that makes no sense because April and May are completely missing, which means that someone has stolen them or something— Hello? Hello, are you there? Hello?
That went well, I thought.