(The following is a dramatization - names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
It was a typical day in the New Richmond News office.
The reporters were hard at work at their computers, banging out the latest headlines. The graphic artists were engulfed in their darkened room -- their faces illuminated by the monitor screens. The ad staff members were at their desks, punctuating the silence with their sales calls.
Suddenly, a exasperated cry split the air.
"HEY!! Whose is this??"
"Cheerios," one of the reporters, employed her superlative investigative skills and discovered something very interesting lying at the top of the trash can.
It was an empty Reeses cup wrapper.
Horrified gasps rose from the ranks. More than half the office staff was on a diet and had been competing to see who would lose the largest percentage by the end of the 10 weeks. They'd been paying $1 a week to participate, sometimes even paying an extra dollar if they failed to lose their required one pound minimum. The winner of the contest would walk away with 60 percent of the kitty -- the second place winner would get 40 percent.
All the competition and dieting was getting to some, however. It was tough to eat lettuce and pretend it was lasagna. Tougher still to weigh in each week and report your status to "Scales" -- the keeper of the weights and doler of the diet tips.
It was not a competition for lightweights (pun intended). Now there was physical evidence someone had cracked.
But who was the guilty party?
The first suspect was "Candy" -- the only one in the office who didn't need to compete. She constantly had a stash of confectionary delights in her desk drawer.
"I have been true to my multiple handfuls of tootsie rolls," she stated in her denial via e-mail. "But if anyone would like tootsie rolls, sweet tarts or cardboard baked chips, come see me."
The next suspect was "Boss." He was not in the competition either, and as he usually brought his lunch, "Cheerios" thought it would be best to interrogate him.
"I asked him if he ate any Reeses earlier that day," she reported back to the group. "His reply was 'No, but I'll take some if you have some.'"
Another dead end.
Going back to the scene of the crime, they discovered that the wrapper had been included in a Target bag containing other lunch trash.
"Hey, "Sherry" (one of the ad reps) shops at Target," "Fashionista" said in an accusatory tone.
"That's a huge wrapper," commented "Laurel." "It's king-sized."
Another collective gasp.
Questioning the rest of the office personnel was fruitless. No one admitted to eating the candy. All we could do was imagine someone broke into the office through the back door, ate their lunch in our breakroom and left the wrapper in our trashcan. Not the most logical solution, but it was better than smelling breaths.
And so the wrapper just sat there, muted through the Target bag, taunting all those who ventured into the kitchen. It finally disappeared on trash day, and took with it the secret of the last person to have shared its final moments.
On the other hand, we can see who has to pay a dollar this week...