“It’s the darnedest thing,” said the senior crime scene investigator, scratching his head. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“You mean, how this entire cottage was built inside a hollow tree?” asked the assistant. “Yeah, that’s a first for me, too.”
“No, I mean I’ve never seen so many ‘biologicals’ left behind! The word ‘trace’ doesn’t even apply! Long blonde hairs on the headrest of the big easy chair in the living room… on the medium-sized wing chair… and even on the child’s rocker! Whoever this is, she sheds more than my golden retriever, and that’s saying something.”
“How do you know it’s a ‘she’?”
“Well, they’re very long strands, for one thing,” said the senior investigator, carefully picking up each with a tweezers, to place in an evidence bag. “I’m pretty sure these follicles will prove to be female. Plus, not too many men spend this much money on highlights.”
“Check out the mess in the kitchen! One spoonful from each bowl, then on to the next? Who eats like this? It’s so wasteful!”
“At least we’ll have no trouble getting epithelials off the three spoons, or DNA from the saliva in three bowls of left-over, spat-out porridge.”
“Was it a gang of teenagers?”
“I don’t know, but I’m only finding one set of fingerprints.”
“You mean, one set besides the homeowners?”
“No — I mean, only one set of fingerprints! Everything else is a paw print from Papa, Mama or Baby Bear.”
Suddenly an officer appeared at the kitchen doorway. “Boss,” she said, “You’d better see this.”
They walked down the hall. “I hate doing bedrooms,” said the senior investigator. “They’re always such a mess. Well, what have we here? Is this young Goldilocks, from down the street?”
“I’m afraid so, said the officer. “Rise and shine, young lady, and keep your hands where we can see them. You’re coming downtown where we can fingerprint you properly, get a hair sample, and take a cheek swab, to see if you’re responsible for this… this… I don’t know what to call it.”
“It’s a ‘cereal crime spree’,” said the boss.
But once downtown, Goldilocks had to wait. They were shorthanded, having just dispatched a team on another call.
“What am I looking at?” the criminologist asked the very short man in the doorway. “Is she alive, or dead? And what should I call you?”
“Call me Doc,” said the dwarf. “Her name’s Snow White. We don’t think she’s breathing.”
The criminologist bent over the young woman. “She’s so beautiful,” he said. “But so pale! Let me check something I remember from Scouts: A-B-C for Airway, Breathing, Circulation. First is airway… Hey, what’s this?”
He stood up, his gloved hand holding a half-chewed bite of something that had been in her mouth.
“Oh! That must be from the poisoned apple!” cried another dwarf, Grumpy. “I saw this ugly old witch offer her a bite, and I warned Snow White, I said, ‘Don’t take candy from strangers,’ but she said it wasn’t candy, and before I could stop her, she had fallen over! It was all we could do to carry her inside!”
“Send this to toxicology,” said the criminologist to his assistant, bagging the apple fragment. “And tell them to rush it.”
“Oh, I feel so much better,” said a voice from the bed. It was Snow White, sitting up with a yawn. “All that housework was wearing me out!”
“Please don’t move, Ms. White,” said the criminologist. “Not until the hospital can check you out.” Then he and his assistant slid Snow White and the bed right into their vehicle, and drove away.
Meanwhile, the office was scrambling to cover yet another crime scene — this one at Grandmother Riding-Hood’s place.
“You’d better send a ton of evidence bags,” the field agent was barking over the phone. “We’re going to need blood spatter experts; a textile specialist; and enough plaster to cast two sets of foot-prints for miles. And we’ll need the portable X-ray equipment, because the girl — Red — says her grandma’s been swallowed whole by the suspect here. Plus we need dental records from the suspect’s dentist, Dr. Wolfgang Pack.”
“That last one might be a problem,” said the dispatcher. “Dr. Pack mysteriously disappeared a week ago.”
“Hmm. Better send some extra plates with that X-ray machine. And put us all down for double overtime!”
It’s a tough job, making sure that everyone in a fairy tale lives happily ever after.