15 July 2005

Dean of Men Breaks the Case of the Fishy Finals!

Details Finally Revealed
The shocking and degrading prank upon the students, faculty, and staff of Nobadaddie Academy for Misfits (NAM) in Rosmell, Georgia, was solved within two days of the incident, but journalists working for the Ohoopee have just now uncovered the details of the investigation that uncovered the vicious perpetrators. After extensive interviews, examination of the records, and the co-operation of an inside source, the Ohoopee presents the entire story here, told in total for the first time.

The school year was coming to a close. Graduation was a few days away. The week of underclassmen finals was getting underway. The seniors had already completed their coursework and taken their final exams, and that, the Dean of Men of NAM knew, meant trouble. As at most schools, seniors at NAM had a long tradition of performing a senior prank on the students, faculty, and staff of NAM as a way of saying thanks for their contributions to the lives of the graduates.

Something Fishy is Going On

Dean of Men Moe Ron explained, “Well, honestly the pranks had been standard run of the mill stuff. We had been t.p.’ed a couple of times, someone played a silly song over the intercom during classes, nothing major. But this year, I knew things would be different. This was a senior class that had reached new depths of depravity. My spidey sense was tingling, I tell you!” After a pause Ron continued, “That last comment, that kind of falls into the ‘too much information category’, doesn’t it? Don’t print that.”

In fact, Dean Ron was the second person to school on the first day of finals. He entered the gym and, “I looked around. Everything seemed in order. The entire school takes its exams in the gym together by subject areas. We pack 200+ students in there at tables. There was a strange odor in the air. Something seemed vaguely fishy with a hint of oregano.” Ron dismissed the odor, thinking it consistent with the many transitory odors that accompany a building filled with over two hundred teenagers. What Ron didn’t know was that the scent he smelled was the first sign that the seniors had already launched their attack upon the testing area.
School of Fish
The school custodian, Bill Bixby, was the first to enter the building that fateful day. After unlocking the facility and turning on the lights, Bixby entered the gym to double-check the arrangements one last time. The scene he discovered still haunts his dreams. He described, “A scene out of ‘Old Man and the Sea’. Imagine if someone took about a two-pound grouper filet and cooked it up in a light butter sauce with garlic, oregano, and a healthy twist of lemon. Now, imagine that he leaves it out overnight. Then imagine that he takes that grouper and throws it at a table like a fastball. Imagine that same event repeated twenty times.”

Cooked fish had been scattered across the gym. Fish had been dumped in chairs. Fish had been splattered on the tables. A can of sardines had been dumped on a chair and the chair pushed under the table, the prankster clearly hoping some hapless student would sit in it. There was one more twist. It was Dean of Men Ron who found it, “Bill had told our secretary about the vandalism and she called me down to investigate. Fortunately, no students had arrived yet. I was appalled by the malicious nature of the prank. This was clearly intended to disrupt final exams. While Bill began work on the fish, I examined the crime scene. I saw an empty can of sardines. I found some more chairs with fish in them. Then, on the other side of the gym, I saw her. Lying on her back, her little legs twitching, was a medium sized lobster. Rigor had not yet set in. That lobster had been alive when the pranksters left.” Staring down at the still warm body of ‘Lobster Jane’, as she was later christened by investigators, Ron vowed to hunt down the culprits and bring them to justice.
Fishing for Clues
The fast work of custodian Bixby got all of the fish cleaned up by the time the first students arrived for their exam. While some students remarked about the fishy smell, the pranksters were denied the satisfaction of disrupting the exams. Most of the students never even found out about the prank, but the vandals were still out there, and Dean Ron was determined to keep his vow to Lobster Jane.

Further investigation extrapolated the time of death of the lobster based on the level of post-mortem rigor. By finding the average time of death of a medium sized Maine lobster when removed from water, Dean Ron was able to estimate the time of the break-in. Security tapes showed two shadowy figures bearing large bags through the parking lot. The time on the tapes lined up with the estimated time of the lobster release, but the identities of subject one and two could not be determined from the tapes.

By the end of day one of the investigation, Dean Ron found that the vandals had wedged open one of the back doors of the gym with a large stick. He knew what they had done, when they had done it, and even had the hooligans on tape, but he still lacked that one piece of evidence that would break the case open.
Working late that night, Dean Ron was one of the last to leave campus. On his way out and surmising that the pranksters might still desire satisfaction, he decided to take the precaution of checking all of the doors. At the door of the break-in, Ron stood thoughtfully for a moment, wondering what he had missed. Then he saw it, a Publix bag blowing in the wind. Could it contain the receipt? He ran after it and pulled it open. It was empty; his heart sank, but he refused to give up. If they had left some of their garbage here, maybe they had left more. He looked into the underbrush surrounding the gym. Another Publix bag! This time there was evidence inside. Ron found the top of a sardine can, a deli wrapper for cooked fish, and a deli box for the lobster. No receipt. Dejected, he turned to go to his car, planning on throwing away the garbage in the school’s dumpster.
Ron described his thoughts at this critical juncture, “I knew I could find out who did it with a receipt. It would tell me what date, time, and store the fish was purchased at. If I were lucky, it would even have a credit card number. But at this point I was completely baffled. I thought back on poor Lobster Jane. I mumbled a plea, almost a prayer, ‘Speak to me Jane. Come on girl, help me out’. I looked down at the lobster box in my hands, and there it was. The Publix store number.”

Hooking the Culprits
Ron did a quick Internet search and discovered that the Publix in question was a good twenty-five miles from the school. This greatly reduced the number of potential suspects to be looked at. He also knew the lobster had to have been purchased within the last twenty-four hours. He picked up the phone and hoped Publix kept good computer records. Besides, he reasoned, how many lobsters are typically sold on a Tuesday?

The manager at Publix did a quick computer search for “Medium Maine Lobster”. Dean Ron waited anxiously by the phone for the manager to call him back. The manager called back after a long ten minutes and reported that only one lobster had been purchased on Tuesday. The computer recorded the exact time of the transaction, a transaction that included over $50.00 of cooked fished, sardines, and one medium Maine lobster. Ron asked, “Now, can we cross reference that time with your store video cameras?” The manager was one step ahead and reported to Ron, “I’m looking at the tape right now. I see five teenagers at the deli purchasing a lobster.” Now it was just a matter of Ron going to the store to identify the five teenagers.
Reeling Them In
After viewing the Publix store security tapes, Dean Ron knew that ‘Lobster Jane’ had not died in vain. It was her box that had provided the vital clues to closing the case. All of the vandals were identified and brought to justice.
Revenge: A Fish Best Served Cold
Dean Ron was frank in confessing his thoughts after the events of two years ago, “I have to admit a certain satisfaction in that case. The prank failed to disrupt finals and all involved were properly punished. I have a peace and, I think, ‘Jane’ can rest in peace now.” But not everybody is at peace. Bill Bixby, the man entrusted to cleaning up the prank before students arrived, was given the thanks of a grateful school. That thanks was not enough. Despite two years of therapy, he still can’t eat fish. In fact, he says, “I can’t eat fish, I can’t look at fish, I can’t bear the smell of fish. And what they did to Jane. Think of what it must have been like to wander around a dark gym all night, slowly suffocating, occasionally coming across the dead, cooked bodies of fish you knew so well. Bumping into tables. Feeling your shell and body drying up minute by minute. Sometimes I dream that I am Jane that night, and I experience what she experienced that night. What kind of kids are we raising these days?” Bixby is only one of many employees to have exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder from their experience in NAM.

Rest in Peace
Jane (?-2004)


4BoyDad said...

If this is a true story, then you totally rock. If not, it's still a good story, albeit a fake one.

Splitcat Chintzibobs said...

The Editors Respond:
We must take umbrage at the suggestion that one of our stories might not be true! All of the news reported by the Ohoopee Letter News is true. Or has a basis in fact or possibility. At the very least, only some minor details are changed for dramatic effect. Occassionaly, we make up an entire story like last month's "Fated to Fat", but that was, at least, plausible. Thank you for your input.

Dean Moe Ron responds: Thank you for your praise. I am currently in contract talks with CBS for a spin-off series called: CSI: High School.

fiorinda said...

Sadly enuff, it's true (except the part about Bill Bixby and Jane). Isn't he so cool.

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how proud I am to be related to Moe Ron. He has done much to improve the reputation of our family! I have personally witnessed the sadness my relative has lived with while dealing with the demise of "Jane". We need more school officals who care about the students and members of the fish kingdom. Go Ron

Splitcat Chintzibobs said...

Dear Anonymous,
Moe Ron responds:
Thank you for the compliments and your understanding sympathy during that dark time in my life. By the way, lobsters aren't techinically fish; they are crustaceans, a group of mostly aquatic arthropod invertebrates.

4BoyDad said...

The spiders of the sea, if you will.

Splitcat Chintzibobs said...

Dean Moe Ron responds to 4boydad:
"I didn't really think about it that way. It really changes everything doesn't it? Not Jane. Not Jane."

The Ohoopee reports that Moe Ron has since resigned his position as Dean of Men and, after a lengthy period of therapy, taken a position at Orkin.