I'm my most recent novel, SECRETS OF MY SUBURBAN LIFE, heroine Ren D'Arc jumps to a pretty spectacular conclusion based on what she thinks is solid evidence.
Back in August 1993, my husband and I took my mother to England after my dad died. The man that drove us in his black cab from Heathrow to the Russell Hotel was a lovely elderly gentleman by the name of Freddie. Really, he was so totally British, his full name might as well have been Freddie Crumpet, although I never did learn his last name. At any rate, as my husband and mother half-slept in the cab, Freddie and I had quite the conversation. He was a sweet and talkative man, was Freddie, he even told me about the recent death of his son and how tough the loss had been on him and the Mrs. I listened and said what I hoped were the right things. When we got to the Russell, Freddie wrote out his number for me and told me to give him a call when we needed a ride back to the airport. Since my mother worries about little details, and since I'd liked Freddie so much, I called him eight days later.
On the ride back to the airport, Freddie was just as talkative as he'd been on the ride in. And when we arrived at Heathrow, he had a present for me. It was oddly shaped and someone had obviously taken great care in trying to wrap it well. "I just wanted to give you something," Freddie said, "because you have been so kind to me."
How flattering! What a sweet man!
Inside the airport, I unwrapped the present. It turned out to be a brass and gold-plated object with a brush inside - a tool for sweeping out the fireplace.
How perfectly British! How perfectly Freddie Crumpet! How -
Hang on a second here. Could there be a bomb in this thing???
OK, I know this may sound insane, but you have to realize that this was 1993. The first bombing of the World Trade Center had already occurred. Airport security had begun to tighten up dramatically. There were signs and announcements everywhere: "Has anyone you don't know given you something today...?"
What if Freddie, sweet Freddie Crumpet, wasn't so sweet after all? I mean, I didn't really know the man. What if he'd been driven insane by the loss of his son? What if he was angry at the Crown? What if...? And how could I be so irresponsible as to board the plane with this, this, this...*chimney-sweeping* object, what if we blew up over the Atlantic - I wouldn't feel so good about that, plus I'd feel dreadfully guilty - or even if I left it behind at the airport, didn't take it on the plane, Heathrow blew up instead...
"Greg," I urgently said to my husband. "You have to show this to the policemen over there. I think it may be hiding a bomb."
My husband. My poor, poor husband.
He did take the terrifying object over to the two policemen. And then I watched the pantomime safely from afar as one of the policemen used the handle to slowly plunge the brush in and out...and then they both laughed in my poor husband's face, handed the brush back to him, laughed some more as he walked back to me. Really, it's surprising my poor husband didn't run away *from* me. I can be such a whackaloon.
OK, it wasn't a bomb. But there *could* have been a bomb hidden in there somewhere...only there wasn't.
So that's your task today. Tell me: WHAT IS A CONCLUSION YOU JUMPED TO THAT LATER PROVED TO BE SPECTACULARLY WRONG?
I'll give away one signed copy of SECRETS OF MY SUBURBAN LIFE to one commenter below and we'll let the comments run through Tuesday night just to give stragglers a chance to wander in before awarding a winner. Looking forward to hearing your stories.
Be well. Don't forget to write.