While Americans play Agatha Christie, attempting to ascertain which "senior White House official" authored the infamous Op-Ed in the New York Times, we have our own anonymous note mystery to sleuth.
A day after we had decorated our new bland-gray Renault with an array of blue butterfly stickers, we received a scrunched-up slip of paper in the driver's door. The note, reproduced above, is written in English - unusual in itself for a small Catalan French village - and read something like: "Now, that's a true frey(?) Danish Beaver(?) with blue buttaflies(?)"
As you can see, some of the words/letters are a bit difficult to discern. The a's, e's and r's seem to have two different styles. Not sure what a "Danish Beaver" would be, unless they are referring to the shape of the car, and the last word may be "sommerfugl," Danish for butterflies, or literally "summer birds."
Very few of our friends in the village even know about the butterfly stickers yet, and the most obvious couple quickly issued a public statement that, no, they did not write the anonymous note.
Of course, we cannot assume the anonymous writer is a friend, or even an acquaintance, as they did not specifically address it to us by name.
It could have been someone who disliked the "political statement" expressed by our butterflies. Or an artist offended by the design we chose (the butterflies "flow" from the front of the car to the side, then up across the roof, and down the back on the other side - as if we were passing through a kaleidoscope of butterflies … as their groups are referred to, I discovered).
We are turning the note over to a graphoanalysist, both to determine the accurate wording and to provide clues to the writer's character and likely heritage. We are also consulting an expert in pen manufacture and ink chromatography to narrow the list of suspected writing instruments. The paper is a cross-hatch notebook, the kind I even use myself, common in France, but we will be checking recent purchases. (The writer is obviously cheap, as they tore off only enough for the two-line message - we will be looking to match the tear-pattern as well.) No forensic stone will be left unturned.
The "Danish Beaver" could indicate a Scandinavian, as could "sommerfugl."
Then again, it might be someone who is a butterfly aficionado, a person for example who has been to the papillon garden in nearby Elne - http://www.tropique-du-papillon.com/ (notice the subtle way I worked in that advertisement for a local attraction?).
The odd spelling of "buttaflies" might indicate someone from Boston - it's spelled the way they pronounce butter. Perhaps our Massachusetts friends who left town in a hurry this morning?
Unfortunately, the village has not yet installed the promised surveillance cameras, so there's no video of the culprit sticking the note on the car.
We have ruled out Mike Pence, who has an alibi for this past weekend, and Betsy Devos, as she does not spend money on school supplies.
So the search continues … both for the New York Times traitor and the coward who did not even have the courage to identify themselves on the Argèles sur Mer butterfly missive.
We demand that anyone who was in Argèles the past weekend issue a notarized, embossed statement if they did not write the note on the car. Those who do not issue such a statement will be subjected to a lie detector test at the next Saturday marché - in public at La Noisette (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g196598-d5804339-Reviews-La_Noisette-Argeles_sur_Mer_Pyrenees_Orientales_Occitanie.html) so everyone can see when we unmask the culprit.
What kind of society do we live in when people are free to voice their opinion to others through any "publishing medium" they choose?