The Buggies

December 28, 2011
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I spent my whole life wondering about the buggies. Those two little buggies sitting side by side on a crowded street in NYC that never seem to move. They have to move because there are street cleaning days and on those days, even the two seemingly immobile buggies must surrender to the demands of the street cleaners.

But how do they always end up in the same spot? That’s the question.

Are they owned by a major force in the City, possibly the mayor? An extremely rich movie star who hides his buggies away from his apartment building and pays for them to always be parked there in case there needed?

It wasn’t until New Years Eve of 2011 going into 2012, that I got my answer. I was going into the city with to spend New Years with my grandparents who lived in Manhattan.

“Grandma, in all the years you’ve lived here, have those buggies always been there?” I asked.

“Oh yes! It was a bit of a scandal actually, could be considered a horror story by those of the light-hearted. But I think it’s interesting,” she explained.

“Can you tell me the story?” I inquired, wanting to hear more.

“Sure! It’s funny you asked … the story takes place in 1999 at the turn of the century on New Years Eve! The two buggies belonged to the Couplet family… but first you need some background information. The couplet family had been suffering from marital problems, and two months before New years eve, their son, Jaime ran away,”

“How do they know he wasn’t kidnapped or something?” I interrupted.

“He left a note. It said something like, ‘I can’t stand the fighting anymore, I’m off to go and find some of my own people.’ Problem was, no one knew who his “own people” were, and so they had no clues to find him. They searched and searched all over the city. The following months were horrible for the family. Instead of bringing them closer together in times of trouble, it brought them even farther apart,”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, Mrs. Couplet soon cheated on Mr. Couoplet, with her husband’s best friend named Chester. When Mr. Couplet found out, he was outraged! It was a huge debacle. Mr. Couplet threw her out of the house in a very public scene…

“Good morning Mrs. Couplet!” the driver’s cheerful voice exclaimed as he opened the door for Mrs. Couplet, as she climbed out of her red Volkswagen Buggy. The morning was crisp and cool, and an endless expanse of gray clouds blanketed the sky.

“Why thank you Walter,” Mrs. Couplet replied.

“Mrs. Couplet, if you don’t mind me asking, is um, everything alright between you and Mr. Couplet?” the driver timidly asked.

“YES! Now why wouldn’t there be? Mrs. Couplet snapped quickly.

“Well I just heard some things ma’am… rumors I suppose,”

“Well Walter, if you’re taking enough time off to listen to petty gossip, you must not be doing your job well enough, so maybe it’s time for a new driver!” She slammed the door and stalked off into the building. Mrs. Couplet had not made it more than a few steps into the main lobby, when the elevator dinged, and out stepped her husband, and many of his assistants carrying luggage.

“Christopher! What on Earth are you doing?! We’re not moving!” She rushed to his side and he pushed her away.

“Christopher! How dare you! What is going on! I can’t even begin to imagine what you’re doing! Let’s bring all of this back inside, I don’t have time for this!” She screeched.

“Well obviously you had enough time to cheat on me with my best friend!” Her husband growled. Mrs. Couplet stopped dead.

“Christopher…I… this isn’t the time or place…”

“Well too bad!” Christopher cried.

“Sweetie, c’mon don’t make a scene-“ she reached out to touch his shoulder.

“I don’t care what you think!” Christopher roared and slapped her hand away. The couple was beginning to attract stares from passersby.

“Christopher! What on Earth! Stop this right this instance! People are starting to stare!”

“Let them stare! I want everyone to know! MY WIFE IS A CHEAT! A CHEATER I TELL YOU! SHE CHEATED ON ME WITH MY BEST-“she clamped her hand over his mouth to silence him, her fake nails clawing at his cheek.

“Christopher that is just about enough! We shouldn’t be discussing this here! I thought we put this manner behind us!”

“Get out! Get out of my sight! Here is your luggage! It’s all packed! Everything you need! Just don’t. Come. Back!” He screeched and ran back into the elevator.

“Christopher!” Sally ran to the elevator door and banged hopelessly on it but her husband was gone.

“Um, Mrs. Couplet, where should we, um, put your luggage?” A nervous assistant asked,

“Do I look like I want to be talked to right now?” Sally screeched, and swung her light blue scarf over her shoulder. She got right up in the assistant’s face, her own features turning a dangerous red, and shrieked,

“Do not speak to me unless I speak to you! What I need you do to do, is right now, go upstairs to my husband and tell him I will be back tomorrow and we can sort this…bump in the road out then. NOW GO!” the helper ran out, and Mrs. Couplet gave an angry sigh and sat down on a suitcase. She crossed her leg and pulled her phone out of her pocket, and flipped it open. As the dial tone rang, people walked past her and gave her confused looks.

“Oh this is just a temporary manner, a practical joke! Nothing out of the ordinary here!” she commented to each person who stared. Finally, when the dial tone ended and the person picked up, Mrs. Couplet snapped, “CHESTER! I need a place to stay!” she paused, and then continued, “No! When did I say that? I don’t recall telling you I never wanted to see you again, oh darling you’re just so sweet! But I need to cut to the chase, I need a place to stay, pronto, and you’re the one I want to stay with! I’m just going to take my car on over, and I’ll be there in 5 minutes with all of my things,” She snapped her phone shut and ordered to a passing assistant, “YOU! Help me take my stuff, now!” Mrs. Couplet grabbed a suitcase and stalked outside to her car and climbed in while her other bags were loaded, and in a minute she was off to Chester’s house…

“Mrs. Couplet sounds like a real catch,” I remarked sarcastically.

“Yes, Mrs. Couplet wasn’t the nicest woman. Now anyways, when she arrived at Chester’s house she made herself comfortable. The next morning was when things got really interesting...”

“Mrs. Couplet! Are you up?” Mrs. Couplet’s assistant called as she walked into Chester’s apartment like she owned it. She walked into the bedroom to find Mrs. Couplet sleepily rolling over, her hair a mess, and Chester not beside her.

“Good morning Mrs. Couplet, can I get you anything?” the assistant asked.

“Yes, Michelle, why thank you, I’d like my coffee, black please, look in Chester’s cabinet next to the fridge. Speaking of Chester, where is he? Did you see him when you walked in, is he up?”

“No Mrs. Couplet. Why don’t you go freshen up and I’ll go make coffee,” Mrs. Couplet nodded her head in reply, and rolled out bed. She padded down the hall to the bathroom, while the assistant headed towards the kitchen. Just as the assistant was about to reach for the coffee, she heard an earth-shattering scream.

“Mrs. Couplet! Mrs. Couplet! What’s wrong!” the assistant cried. She rushed down the hall to find Mrs. Couplet kneeling over the tub in the bathroom.

“Mrs. Couplet, whatever is the matter? Are you alright-?” Mrs. Couplet turned around, hysterically crying, with blood on her hands. She screamed pointing to the tub, where Chester lay, with two bullet wounds, and his feet cut off…

“His feet cut off?” I interrupted once again.

“His feet were indeed cut off, but the scary thing was…no one could find his feet! But that’ll come into play later, just wait, but anyway dried blood coated the bathtub and the assistant fainted dead away. The police were called and the bathroom was declared a crime scene. Later, Mrs. Couplet was being made a cup of strong tea in the police officer’s office, was when things took a turn for the worse…”

“Mrs. Couplet, can you think of anyone who could possibly want to hurt Chester?” Mrs. Couplet wordlessly shook her head, and blew her nose into a tissue.

“Who would want to hurt, lovely Chester? I just… I mean there’s one person, but it’s just impossible…no I don’t think that he could have had anything to do with it…”

“Mrs. Couplet if you have even the slightest inkling is extremely important that you tell me. The slightest suspicion could lead us to the killer,”

“Well, I suppose if it could help lead to the killer, by all means I do mean to help officer,” Mrs. Couplet smiled and gave another sniff, “But I was just wondering, if maybe, well Chester and I did have a brief affair, is it possible my husband could have had anything to do with the murder? I just don’t know!” Mrs. Couplet broke cried and leaned her head against the desk.

“Calm down Mrs. Couplet, we’ll bring your husband in for questioning, immediately,” the officer tried to consol.

Mr. Couplet was brought into headquarters an hour later, and at first glance, he saw Mrs. Couplet being comforted by a police offer.

“Darling, you’re here!” Mrs. Couplet looked up and said. She hopped out of the chair and stepped back.

“Yes, I’m here, and might I ask why I am?” Mr. Couplet responded rather gruffly.

“Well dear, I do think you know!” Mrs. Couplet exclaimed.

“Know what?” Mr. Couplet inquired

“Oh Sweetie, please be reasonable, just admit it so we can be together!” Mrs. Couplet exclaimed and rushed forward and grabbed her husband’s collar.

“Admit what?!” her husband gasped and pushed her away. Mrs. Couplet stood on her tiptoes and whispered quietly into Mr. Couplet’s ear, “that you were the one who murdered Chester,”

“No, it, it, wasn’t me! What is this? This insanity! Has the world gone crazy?” Mr. Couplet cried.

“Mr. Couplet, I’m going to have to ask you to come with me,” an officer gently prodded Mr. Couplet.

“Go where! I’m not a felon! He was my best friend!”

“A best friend who betrayed you!” Mrs. Couplet butted in.

“So we had some differences towards the end! That doesn’t mean I’d kill him and cut off his feet!”

“Oh his feet! His feet! Who would do such a thing! He had such cute little toes, his pinkie was adorable! And to think someone went and stuffed them in the garbage disposal! Oh honey,” she rushed to her husband, “take me back so we can mourn together!”

“Wait…I thought they hadn’t found Chester’s feet yet…” Mr. Couplet slowly brought up. Mrs. Couplet’s eyes widened and flashed, and she innocently whispered, “What?”

“We didn’t find his feet…” the police officer who was holding Mr. Couplet whispered and let go of him and grabbed onto Mrs. Couplet.

“Well now this is just ridiculous! I simply, I-,”

“Mrs. Couplet you have the right to remain silent,” the officers handcuffed her, just as another police officer walked in holding a bloody, light blue scarf. As two more officers walked towards her Mrs. Couplet began to pale and sweat.

“Mrs. Couplet, this was found hidden in a cabinet in Chester’s kitchen, with your DNA on it, and Chester’s blood, can you explain this?”

“I, well, um,”

“Mrs. Couplet, can you please explain why we found a fake nail next to the bathtub that Chester was laying dead in,”

“Well maybe Chester had a girl over a few days ago and-,”

“Mrs. Couplet, maybe I phrased it incorrectly, why did we find YOUR fake nail next to a dead Chester?” Mrs. Couplet strained against the silence, and licked her lips.

“I’m sorry!” she burst out. “I thought that if Chester was gone, my husband would take me back! He’d realize I made a mistake! A one time thing, and he’d feel sorry for me and take me back! Chester was an infuriating attempt to get my husband’s attention! He didn’t deserve me! My husband did! He ruined my life!” mrs. Couplet screamed.

“No Mrs. Couplet, you ruined your life, you’re under arrest for the murder of Chester Livingston, you WILL remain silent…”

“And that’s the story of the Couplets,” my grandmother finished.

“I’m sorry, but what does that have to do with the buggies?” I asked.

“Well, Mr. Couplet a day after died, some people say out of grief. The tricky thing is, because Mrs. Couplet was in jail, and Mr. Couplet died suddenly, neither left a will. The buggies were left to be on their own, and to this day, no one has claimed the buggies. They just sit there,” my grandmother explained.

“But who moves them on street cleaning days? How come they weren’t repossessed?” I ask.

“Nobody knows, no one ever sees. Everyone has their own opinion of what happened. But I have my own. I think that the Couplet’s son, comes back to take care of the cars whenever it’s needed,”

From that point on, whenever I went to the city, I kept a careful eye on the two buggies. Hoping that one day, I would see someone moving the buggies.

But I never did.

The buggies remain motionless, and the mystery of who they belong to now, unsolved.

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