by J.D. Rhoades

You may remember a few months ago,  after I came back from vacation, I posted about odd things I'd seen. I talked about  how the writer's mind can't help but take  those little anomalies and run with them, spinning stories out of those glimpsed threads of other people's lives. 

So…let's do it again.  I've been collecting little snippets, odd and unexplained occurrences for you to think about and, if you are so inclined, to spin your own stories from. They don't have to be full-blown novels or even short stories..but see if your imagination can come up with creative explanations for these little "WTF?" moments. 

THE PIANO IN THE WOODS: Authorities in Harwich, Massachusetts, are probing the mysterious
appearance of a piano, in good working condition, in the middle of the

Discovered by a woman who was walking a trail, the Baldwin
Acrosonic piano, model number 987, is intact — and, apparently, in

Sgt. Adam Hutton of the Harwich Police Department said
information has been broadcast to all the other police departments in
the Cape Cod area in hopes of drumming up a clue, however minor it may

But so far, the investigation is flat.

Also of note: Near the mystery piano — serial number 733746 — was a bench, positioned as though someone was about to play.

The piano was at the end of a dirt road, near a walking path to a footbridge in the middle of conservation land near the Cape.


Police in Framingham are trying to figure out who keeps leaving chunks of meat on the town common, and why.

People who live near the common have been finding butcher-quality cuts of meat under a tree there for about five weeks.

the most recent incident, the fifth one overall, a resident discovered
a large piece of raw, unwrapped meat, along with what appeared to be a
liver and some bones on Tuesday.
Henry Field, who lives across
the street from the tree, told WBZ he's found 4 of the 5 pieces. "It
was a large chunk of meat, two to three inches thick. A delicious
looking steak."

He's already stopped his dog Dorje from eating
it, but he's worried someone might be trying to poison animals in the

Framingham's public health director Ethan Mascoop
told WBZ the meat does not appear to be tainted and, at this point,
there is no reason to be concerned.


WELL, WHOEVER IT BELONGS TO, HE CAN'T HAVE GONE FAR ON FOOT: A severed human foot has been found in Canada's westernmost Gulf
Islands, marking the third such discovery in six months stumped police
said Saturday, noting all three are right feet, size 12, male and shod
in sneakers.

"It is not known at this time what relationship, if any, this foot
has with the two feet recovered last year in the same area," Constable
Annie Linteau of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement.

The two previous cases are still under investigation and federal
police "have yet to determine if foul play is involved" in the first
two cases or in this latest discovery, she said.

The standing mystery began in August 2007 when a severed foot in a
white and blue runner was discovered washed ashore on the beaches of
Jedidiah Island in the Georgia Straight between the Lower Mainland and
Vancouver Island.

Authorities speculated it might have been lost in a boat propeller accident, due to foul play, or a hoax.

Six days later, a second right foot in a black and white sneaker appeared on nearby Gabriola Island.

The most recent find was on February 8, when a third right foot washed up on the east side of Valdes Island.

The local coroner is conducting DNA tests on the feet. But so far, there has been no match to missing persons, police said.

I TOLD YOU THAT CULLEN BOY WAS UP TO NO GOOD:  19 vials of HIV-infected blood were stolen from the locked freezer of a
downtown Vancouver hospital.

The blood samples were being stored in a locked freezer on the sixth
floor of the facility's virology lab when they were stolen sometime
between Saturday and Monday morning.

The samples, which were awaiting testing, are labelled with the patients' names, identification number and the letters "HIV VL."

St. Paul's Hospital spokesperson Shaheen Shivji said this was the
first time HIV-positive blood had been stolen from the hospital.

"We've not had such a break-in in any of the freezers before. They
are locked and the area is part of the regular security personnel
patrols," Shivji told CTV Vancouver on Tuesday.

She said the hospital's security video tapes would be checked and security measures were being stepped up.

"If people do come across a vial and they suspect it could be a vial
that was stolen, we ask them to call police right away," Shivji said.

Dr. Akber Mithani, vice president of medical affairs at St. Paul's
Hospital, sought to reassure the public that the only way to infect
someone is to introduce it into the blood stream.

"As long as the vials are sealed, they pose no danger to the public," Mithani said, appearing on CTV Newsnet.

Mithani is baffled as to why someone would steal the vials.

"It is strange. We haven't had any incidents like this one ever before in St. Paul's," he told The Canadian Press.

"We could come up with all kinds of theories around it but it would
all just be speculation," he said. "I have no idea why somebody would
want this."

So speculate! Make four stories, or weave it all into one,  or pick any one  you like. Let your imagination go wild.Tell us WTF you think was going on here.

21 thoughts on “WTF?

  1. Louise Ure

    “It is not known at this time what relationship, if any, this foot has with the two feet recovered last year in the same area.” Ya’ think? Would we be going too far to suggest that all three right feet do not come from the same person?

    Ay yi yi.

    What a collection of weird tales, J. D.

    I’m off to an early meeting, but will while away the hours coming up with stories for you.

  2. pari

    “At last, the terms of Clayburn Lytle’s have become public.

    Known as the ‘Wacky Philanthropist,’ Lytle didn’t disappoint in his final gesture. Among the lesser known mandates for the Lytle Foundation is this:

    ‘Pianos will be placed in wilderness areas throughout this great country. A team of tuners will be charged with ensuring each instrument remains in good, playable condition. Let there be music in the hills and valleys, at the tops of mountains and by our celestial shores!'”

  3. Jake Nantz

    I kept my eyes forward, focused on the patient records. I had no interest in talking to Marcie today. I just didn’t think I could conceal it, not today.

    “Jane, you okay?” she asked. Well, that’s a philosophical question for all time, but I ignored it. She took my silence for something it wasn’t, clucked her tongue.

    “Yeah, I’m a little on edge too,” she continued. “Ever since that blood went missing, everyone’s been a little tense.”

    I didn’t want to be obvious, so I nodded. Maybe she’d take the hint.

    “I mean, who steals HIV-positive blood?” Nope, missed it completely. “What a weird mistake to make.”

    I nodded again. If she didn’t get it at this point, I was just going to have to make small talk.

    Her voice flat, she said, “It’s just creepy. Let’s talk about something else Janie. Got any plans for the weekend, you and Rick?”

    I let a sigh out slowly. No getting around it, she was in chit-chat mode. I took a breath, turned to her. “Actually, I think I’m finally going to do it.”

    “Do what?”

    “I’ve decided I’m going to leave Rick.”

    “REALLY?” A little too excited. She recovered quickly. “Er, I thought things had gotten better between you two.”

    That’s because he doesn’t want to work for a living, so he decided to fake it to keep me around. I didn’t say that. Instead I replied, “We were for a while, but now it’s back to the same old Rick.”

    Her eyes darkened. She shook her head. “Yeah, I guess it’s definitely time to go then.” I didn’t look, but I felt sure she cast me a furtive glance. “Are you worried he’ll be upset?”

    I smiled. “He won’t even get off the couch to get himself another beer. What’s he going to do to me?”

    She shrugged. “I don’t know, I was just asking.” I caught a whiff of sulleness, gone just as quickly. “How are you going to do it?”

    “I’m already packed. I’m going to fix a celebratory dinner while he’s out bowlng this evening, then tell him when he’s finished eating, and leave.”

    “You’re leaving him the house?” Was that hope I heard? Could she be any more obvious?

    “Yep. I’m moving back to my parents’ house until i can find my own place. I just want out.”

    She nodded quietly. Then, “Is it really that bad?”

    “He just doesn’t do anything. It’s like he never has any energy.” I turned my face away from her to hide the grin. “I just don’t know why he’s so tired if he doesn’t do anything all day while I’m working.”

    “Oh.” A little worried, perhaps? “You don’t think he’s…?”

    “Him? Nah, he wouldn’t cheat on me. He’s not the type.”

    She smiled, visibly relieved. “Okay, well my shift’s almost up, I better get going. And hey,” she added. “At least you’re getting what you want, right?”

    I nodded agreement. You have no idea, honey.


    I heard the car pull into the driveway outside just as I finished setting the table. After spending the afternoon with Marcie, he’d check for telltale signs before coming in. No doubt she told him what to expect. Moron would think he’d hit the lottery.

    I set his wine glass down, added a few drops from the last vile. Between that, the “extra” au jus on the steak, and what I poured in the bisque, he didn’t stand a chance.

    I wondered how soon he’d infect Marcie. Probably later that same night. The door opened and I turned, smiling. “Hi honey.”

  4. Stephen D. Rogers

    As a Massachusetts resident, I’m just proud to be able to say that two of the four events took place in my home state. Heck, I use to live in Framingham, and handled computer support for their PD.

  5. Allison Brennan

    Jake, you should be a writer 😉

    Okay, I have to go finish my book, but I’m sure I’ll mull over these all day, darn you. The right feet really have me curious. I’ve heard of serial killers targeting blondes, redheads, chubby girls, and the like, but never men with size 12 feet.

  6. Kathleen Peacock

    He had always loved his music. Even after he became infected—became something almost feral—he retained some shred of the dusty musician she had known and loved. He couldn’t remember his name or what it felt like to hold a toothbrush or watch a ball game, but he remembered Mozart and jazz.

    Sometimes, when he played, he would let her come near him. Once she had gotten as close as ten feet before he barred his teeth and took off into the night. She knew it couldn’t last. Eventually a hiker would stumble upon the piano or he would hurt someone.

    She knew it couldn’t last but that didn’t stop her from coming back, from keeping the piano perfectly in tune.

  7. Jake Nantz

    Mr. Rhoades,Don’t worry. If you stopped by to see the wife and me, there would be no au jus or bisque, just fresh-off-the-grill. And red wine? You might get a Killian’s Red, but that’s about as close as you’ll come.

    Pari, Ms. Brennan – Thanks (I think….)

  8. Becky Hutchison

    That was really creepy, Jake! Great story!

    Now about those feet… just a few days ago investigators determined that a woman’s left foot found in November matched a right foot discovered in May:

    Evidently it’s not unusual for pieces of bodies to come apart if they’ve been submerged in the ocean. But why six floating feet in a year and near the same location? Very bizarre!

  9. Tom

    Kathleen, that’s beautiful. Breath-taking.

    As to other thoughts . . . it’s well-known that three right feet don’t make a left.

  10. Catherine

    The piano in the woods has been placed there by a group of eco musicians from Boston. They believe that buildings are binding music’s true beauty, and that only in the wilds can the acoustical purity of each note be truly realised. They labour over keeping the piano at perfect pitch.

    An anonymous spokesperson for group has claimed that an evening of Mendelssohn’s Spinning Song, Mozart’s Fantasie in D Minor, Liszt’s Un Sospiro UNTAMED is beyond most people’s imaginings.

    ‘We just want to free the music, man.’

  11. Cornelia Read

    I can’t come up with a story, but that piano made me think of the great scene where Jack Nicholson jumps into the back of a pickup truck to play on the piano in its bed, in the middle of a traffic jam.

  12. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Dusty

    Just got back to my desk and am up to my neck in deadlines, but just wanted to say what a great post and what a weird and wonderful collection of news stories.

    But, once again, I believe these are prime examples of why people like fiction – and particularly crime fiction – so much.

    In real life, we may never find out the answers to these mysteries. In a book, by the final page you’d know who the meat fairy, the heavy-footed comedian, the blood thief and the shy pianist were, and all would be revealed.

    But, speaking as someone who used to live in an apartment directly below a tone-deaf child who was ‘learning’ to play the clarinet, perhaps the piano was moved there by a music lover, who just couldn’t stand listening to ‘chopsticks’ any longer … ?

  13. cathy

    I am still pondering the feet, but the piano – I think someone, since she was a little girl, dreamed of a wedding in the woods. In the dream, she heard piano music. So years later, the dream took form, and she had a piano, in perfect tune, moved to the spot she’d picked. Now, all she had to do was to remove the ropes binding the groom and let him out of her car trunk.

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