Smedley Overcome by “Autumn Leaves”
Geezer, Maynerd Smedley, of nearby Magnolia took a hard hit to his cranium the other day and, according to him, he almost died. Here’s the story he told his pals at the Dew Drop Inn.
As you know our town, Magnolia, gets its name from the great number of giant Magnolia trees that grace practically every street in our town. You are also aware that I enjoy walking our streets in the Fall so as to feast on the breathtaking beauty of the Magnolia leaf palette of warm golds and browns, toasty ambers and yellows, and especially, the bright vermillions and reds. So, last Tuesday, while I was on my early morning walk, I was suddenly engulfed by an enormous blanket of giant Magnolia tree leaves that were blown off by a sudden gust of wind, that knocked me to the ground. I was not able to scurry out from under this falling avalanche of oversized leaves to avoid getting buried, and after the deluge ended, I was too weak and battered to dig my way out. For several hours, I lay there buried, barely conscious under the heavy – and growing – pile of leaves. Fortunately, some time later, a passerby saw my right foot sticking out from under the pile and he quickly called 911, screaming, “Man Down!, Man Down! Leaficide in progress!”
Forty-five minutes later, three Magnolia Police cars arrived, sirens blaring. Without delay, they strung up hundreds of yards of yellow Crime Scene tape, setting up what they called a perimeter. Meanwhile, I remain entombed by the humongous and enlarging pile of these giant leafs, hanging on by a thread and gasping for air. Surely, I think, they are immediately going to grab my leg and pull me out, when I hear a voice saying, ‘Don’t touch anything as we don’t want to contaminate the crime scene! We don’t want to disturb the body. Let’s start by bagging and numbering these leaves, one by one – and be careful as we will need to dust each and every one for fingerprints!’ Oh My Goodness! The cops thought I was a corpse!
The leaf evidence bagging started that Tuesday morning around 10 a.m. It wasn’t until Thursday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. that the last leaf was bagged and numbered, the work of, by now, a totally exhausted squad of ten officers and twenty-nine volunteers recruited to help with the bagging. Finally! I was now deemed to be crime scene accessible for evaluation and removal. By this time I was so dehydrated and compressed, that one guy declared that I looked like ‘Flat Stanley!”
As the responders were lifting me onto a stretcher, one of them detected some very shallow breathing and that I was still alive! Quickly they shoved me into the back of the Rescue Squad Ambulance and raced to the nearby Magnolia Community Hospital where the medical staff dusted me off and hooked me up to all kinds of intravenous bags, hoping to restore me after my body had been squeezed in a leaf press for more than two days.
By Saturday afternoon, I was feeling pretty good and looking forward to being discharged, when two ‘suits’ showed up in my room. As they flashed their badges, announcing they were Magnolia police detectives, I realized that I knew them from something in the past. I thought, ‘How nice, that these officials would drop by to see how I was doing after my leafy ordeal.’ Wrong! They had some questions for me – but did I have some questions for them!
As calmly as I could, I screamed, ‘How could the Magnolia police not extract me from the pile of leaves when they first arrived at the scene? Did they not see my foot sticking out from under the pile? What madness allowed them to let me ripen near unto death under that moldering pile for over two days? And the business about ‘bagging each and every leaf, needing to dust for fingerprints? Are you kidding? This was an accident scene – not a crime scene!’
‘Slow down there, Smedley!’, said Detective Rufus Holmes, a guy I now remembered from a bogus DWI charge going back a couple of years. ‘I can explain it all. When the 911 call came in, the caller said that he had heard a shot just before he came upon seeing your foot sticking out from under a huge pile of leaves. He told us that he saw someone running away from the pile with a gun in his hand. So, hearing this, we naturally assumed that we had a homicide on our hands, and especially so, when we saw no movement in the foot that was sticking out from under the pile. In addition, when we got to the scene, we saw so much bright red and vermillion we thought that it was blood slpashed all over the place and that whomever was under the leaves was a goner. This is why we treated the scene as a CSI situation. We were all quite surprised, some of us pleasantly, when on Thursday, you were found to be alive.’
Stunned with this bizarre explanation, I asked the other detective, Myron Muscatine, ‘Who was the moron that made the 911 call? I’d like to get my hands on him!’
“Yes, Smedley, we did talk to this guy later and it turns out that he is your brother-in-law, Amelio Strichnine, the brother of your estranged wife, Eunice.”
“Oh” I said.”