The Case of Mom and (Mom?)

by R.J. White

It started out just like any other day. I rolled out of bed with little recollection of how last night ended. I shuffled into the kitchen where the site of empty glasses reminded me. After a quick shower and shave, I bought a coffee and a newspaper (in that order) on the way to the office. I was halfway through the boxscores when the one-year-old strolled in. One-year-olds don’t stroll into a detective’s office on any other day.

“Mister, I was hoping you could help me find one of my mothers,” the baby said.

“Kid,” I answered after a moment, “You’re gonna have to let me finish this coffee.”

***

The kid laid it all out for me, and then laid it all out for me again when it didn’t take the first time. Apparently, the kid had two mothers and no father. Easy enough to understand. The mothers brought the kid to this neck of the woods from back east. The mothers had a falling out, and that’s where things got screwy.

“Tell it to me one more time,” I told the kid.

“One mom thinks she should have joint custody of me in the divorce,” the kid said.

“That’s a reasonable request,” I offered. “Joint custody comes up in divorce cases all the time.”

“Tell that to my other mom,” the kid responded. “She says that the first mom can’t have joint custody because she doesn’t exist.”

“Did she say to the first mom’s face? Because talking to a person that is standing right in front of you, and that everyone can agree is standing in front of you, seems to me like a pretty good case for the existence of that person.”

“I can’t answer that. They don’t let one-year-olds in the courtroom.”

I’m thinking I should consider adopting the courtroom’s policy on one-year-olds, because this one was making my head hurt—well, hurt more than it did before the kid walked in.

Read more in the June 2014 issue of S.A. Scene.