Thursday, 7:30 PM – It was a fairly calm night as things go for a household with three boys. Nothing substantial had yet been broken. No one was rushed to the ER. 9-1-1 had not been called on purpose or by accident. Only moderate fighting was observed and it remained away from the staircase. Mommy and Daddy (er, Mom and Dad that is, sorry) were both home and everyone was the parents were looking forward to getting to bed at a reasonable hour after staying out late for fireworks the night before.

8:20 PM – Finally, the children were asleep in their beds rooms, talking quietly with lights off. With the finish line in sight, Dad laid on the couch with a beer and watched the ballgame and drifted off to sleep dragged the garbage cans and the recycling bins up the steep incline that is our driveway and out to the street.

8:25 PM – Dad staggered back into the house and sat on the couch, ready for stimulating conversation with wife remote in hand.

8:26 PM – Disaster strikes. “Daaaaaaddd!” a voice calls out from upstairs.

“#*%#$ Come on,” mutters Dad. He looks questioningly at Mommy hoping that she’ll have an easy answer for what might be troubling the beckoning seven year old.

“Something about his trophies not being on his shelf,” she answers.

“Of course, what else could be the problem at bedtime,” thinks Dad.

8:27 PM – Dad marches upstairs and goes directly to oldest son’s bed and questions him as to the whereabouts of his younger brother’s trophies. Son pleads innocent. Many threats are levied, terrifying punishments promised. Innocence is maintained. He seems sincere. Dad remains skeptical.

8:30 PM – Dad tells son that we’ll look for the trophies in the morning since it is bedtime. “I’m sure they’re here somewhere,” he promises. “Think about where you put them.”

8:31 PM – Son emphatically insists that the trophies must be found tonight or he’ll never be able to go to sleep. Dad reminds him that he was up late night before at fireworks and needs his rest. Son states he doesn’t care.

Dad reminds him that he was up late the night before that when he brought his pair of 4 pound weights into his bed and did 200 curls before trying to fall asleep to no avail for hours. Son doesn’t care, stating that his trophies are the most valuable things that he owns in the whole house and they must be found.

8:32 PM – Dad feels kind of sorry for the kid and can’t imagine where the $^&#(*^ blasted trophies have gone.

8:34 PM – Dad talks to Mom about where the trophies might be. Mom acts a bit fuzzy about anything to do with the trophies, stating she’s unclear about what they looked like and how many existed. Dad considers adding Mom to the suspect list.

8:40 PM – Lights on throughout the house, full scale search underway for the missing trophies. Integrity of house cleaners, next door neighbors and grandparents are publicly called into question. Brother turns against brother.

8:41 PM – Dad assembles a search party. “Alright, listen up, people. Our trophies have been on the run for over ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 4 miles-per-hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area. Checkpoints go up at fifteen miles. Your fugitive’s name is Dr. Richard Kimble. Trophy. Go get them.”

8:45 PM – Dad quietly searches his youngest son’s room with flashlight so as not to wake the three-year-old up. Boy wakes up and moans, “Daddyyyy,” in an annoyed voice.

Dad shines flashlight into his eyes and asks boy whether he took or has seen his brother’s trophies. “Trophies?  I want a trophy,” the boy responds before closing his eyes. Inconclusive at best, Dad decides, and exits the suspect’s room.

9:00 PM – Dad has sick feeling in stomach that oldest son is pulling a major prank and has secretly hidden the trophies. He holds son’s head underwater in toilet for 3 seconds pushing for a confession tries to take an understanding tone and explain that when he was a kid he thought something like this might seem really funny with everyone searching, but that now is the time to confess. Son gives shifty smile but swears up and down that he knows nothing. “I want the truth!” yells Dad, kids give a blank stare since they haven’t seen the movie Dad thinks shifty smile is eerily familiar to himself at eight years old but moves on.

9:05 PM – Dad blasts One Republic’s “Apologize” throughout the house until someone confesses continues the search high and low looking in attic, closets, bathrooms, kitchen and basement.

9:30 PM – Distraught son, he of the missing trophies, is scared, convinced that burglars have penetrated our home and absconded only his five dollar plastic sports trophies. Dad tells him that is unlikely.

9:35 PM – Mom finds oldest son’s long lost digital camera buried in his closet. Hooray.

9:40 PM – Dad accuses son of deliberately sabotaging his evening by hiding the trophies for attention.

10:00 PM – The trophies have vanished without a trace. Son is coaxed back to his bed, now nearly tired enough to agree to go to sleep for the night with only a small bit of whimpering.

10:15 PM – Frustrated, confused and stressed, Dad relaxes by catching up on the day with Mom downstairs, starts an argument with Mom about the best way to search for the trophies in the morning. Calls her methods of recreating the last time the trophies were seen to be waste of time and mumbo-jumbo, driving her off to bed and left to watch History channel George Washington documentary sci-fi thriller alone.

11:00 PM – Dad goes to bed and dreams all night about missing things.

Friday, 7:20 AM – Dad wakes up, mind tired from trying to solve the mystery in his sleep.

7:45 AM – Walks out to get the newspaper and looks through trash bins at end of driveway. Calmly picks through plastic bags with an iron stomach Gags from smell of past week’s garbage and 100 degree days. Notices one is particularly heavy. Unties bag to discover missing trophy booty piled in the bottom. Cleaners must not have noticed them when they took out the trash on Wednesday.

7:46 AM – Dad overcome with feelings of relief, thankfulness, exhaustion and annoyance.

7:49 AM – Shows Mom and son missing trophies to great joy. Family constructs a monument in Dad’s honor.

7:55 AM – Dad grills asks three-year-old whether he put trophies in the garbage. Son repeatedly says no but has great difficulty to maintain eye contact. Dad tries to remember if that is normal for three year olds. Dad remains very suspicious and makes him spend rest of the day on deck in blazing sunshine and heat as punishment lectures him at length about never putting anything in the garbage that isn’t trash.

8:00 AM – Case closed. Trophies found. Suspects narrowed but perpetrator still at large. Dad ponders what else could have been accidently thrown in the trash.

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