Thieves sneak into our house and swipe the oddest things.
''Why would anyone steal my blue pen? I left it right here by my chair with my book. Say, where's my book?''
My wife peered behind canisters on the kitchen counter. I waved her off. ''My pen was in the living room, not the kitchen.''
''I'm not looking for your pen. Somebody took my spatula again.''
I looked around without spotting anything I was missing.
''I thought burglars stole jewelry. Why don't our burglars steal any jewelry?''
Terry paused from rifling cabinet doors. ''When was the last time you gave me jewelry?''
''Well, I... There was that... Wait, it was... OK, never.''
''There's your answer. We don't have any jewelry.''
I pulled a blue pen from my shirt pocket, scratched my head with it, and dropped the pen into my pants pocket. ''I don't understand how the crooks keep sneaking past us. Or why they don't take money instead of pens.''
''That reminds me. My coin purse is still missing. Now where'd that box of spaghetti run off to?''
I smacked my head. ''The thieves stole spaghetti?''
''And my coin purse. I had at least 78 cents stashed away.''
I was so mystified that my head rang.
''Don't just stand there,'' Terry said. ''Grab my phone. Can't you hear it ringing?''
''Oh. Yeah.'' I sunk my hand into her bag and came up with the coin purse. I tossed it to her.
''How about that,'' Terry said. ''They returned it.''
By the time I found the phone, the ringing stopped.
''That's OK,'' she said. ''I think I see the spaghetti. It's way in the back on the top shelf.''
She picked up the spatula from the top of a nearby laundry basket and clawed the spaghetti to the front where she could grab it. ''Why would crooks steal spaghetti from our house, then hide it right here in our house?''
She then slid the spatula into a file folder of recipes.
Terry dropped the spatula into a folder of recipes while squinting at the spaghetti box, which she held out as far as her arm could stretch. ''Sure wish the crooks hadn't taken my reading glasses.''
I flicked at a set of glasses sitting atop her head. The glasses dropped into place onto her nose.
''No problem. Your other set of reading glasses are still up there.''
''Weird,'' she said. ''If my glasses are on my head, where's my barrette? Can you get me the butter from the fridge?''
I opened the refrigerator door. ''What's my book doing in here? There's a glass of milk sitting on top of it.''
''You poured yourself a glass a while back, remember?''
I hauled the milk, book and stick of butter from the fridge. ''Terry, our burglars aren't thieves. They're pranksters. They sneak into our house and move things around just to befuddle us.''
''What rotten rats. Are you sure you haven't seen my spatula?''
''Let me just buy you a new one. I'll write it on the shopping list as soon as I figure out where the twerps hid my blue pen.''
''Thieves sneak into our house and swipe the oddest things,'' she said.
''Yep,'' I said, scratching my head with a blue pen I found in my pocket.
---- Search for ''stolen goods'' at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.