Cello

I walk to work frequently. I talk with local and Thai friends over ham radio on the walk into work. On the walk home I usually try to talk with my brother.

A few years ago, “Michael, you’ll never guess what I just found.” It was a cello in a soft case, about as fragile as a baby in a onesie. I checked the case for ID, there was none. I picked it up and started carrying it in to work. You cannot just leave a cello on the side of the road.

I work in the same building as the music department and I figure they would be able to figure out whose it was. By the time I got to campus my brain had started to work and I wondered if carrying what might be stolen property to work was dumbest thing I ever did. I stopped at the guard booth on the way into campus.” Can I use your phone to call the police?”. They said “no”. “O.K. , says I, “can you call em for me?”. Shirt stuffing says, “no”. Louis, a bit miffed says, “What kind of guard booth is this? Do you just stand there and get paid for it?”. He says, “OK you can use the phone.” I call the campus cops, and they send some one over. “We can’t take possession of it, it was not found on campus”. I say, “OK, I am just letting you know I have it so you don’t think I stole it. I am going to take it to the music department to try and find out whose it is.” Just as I finish this I hear my ham radio call letters on my handi talkie. Its a local ham who is also a police lieutenant. He heard my earlier conversation. “Louis we found the owner of the cello. It was stolen this morning. Can I send my officer over to pick it up?” The officer and I missed each other and the pickup took way too much time. I saw the lieutenant the next month and apologized for wasting the officer’s time. The lieutenant said, “Anytime we can return stolen property with half a day from when it was stolen, don’t quibble about wasting a few minutes”.