Clean up to cost 3,756 weeks of allowance.
A derailment of a CSX train in Canton, NY this week was apparently caused by vandalism, local authorities say. Though originally thought to be the result of a broken axle, additional evidence discovered at the scene now points to a deliberate act. “There’s a lot of snow cover right now so it took us awhile to complete our investigation,” said lead investigator Jeffrey Colomze of the Federal Bureau of Train Delays and Derailments. “We got some big cranes in here to move the cars back on to the track. They’re pretty heavy,” he explained. “Once we were able to get them out of the way we had a clearer picture of what happened. We could see that this was no routine axle breakage. The evidence pointed to a deliberate and premeditated effort to cause wanton destruction to our nation’s most efficient transportation system,” Mr. Colomze concluded.
DNA evidence at the scene was able to identify Jimmy Smickles, longtime youth of Canton, as the likely suspect. The young man reportedly confessed to the vandalism after undergoing a barrage of questioning that lasted fifteen or twenty minutes investigators say. It was, however, the denial of access to his beloved Wii that finally broke the lad.
Mr. Colomze spoke to the press after the interrogation to explain the series of events that led to the derailment. “Mr. Smickles was apparently looking for ‘something to do’, when the alleged near do well absconded with a coin from his father’s prized collection. He placed it on the tracks near his home ‘just to see what would happen’. Well something happened alright. We’ve been spending the last several days cleaning it up. Let that be a lesson to all you wannabe hooligans out there. Placing coins on railroad tracks is no joke. It can lead to serious consequences.”
The senior Smickles, Jimmy’s alleged father, did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. Neighbors report that he is an avid coin collector. “It’s hard to shut the guy up on the subject once he gets going,” says well known neighborhood gossip Genevieve Womuts. “He’s a nice enough guy and all but he about drives me to drink whenever he wants to show me his latest acquisition. It’s to the point that I run in the house every time I see him. I know just about all I want to on the Roman aureus, denarius, and double denarius. I mean who gives a shit. Mention you were heading to beach for a vacation and he’ll start boring you to tears with minutia about the shell currency of Western Africa. Did you know that tulip bulbs were the basis of the Dutch currency in the early 1600’s? It about ruined their economy. See? Now he’s got me doing it. The guy’s obsessed with coins. It’s like a disease. He even built a 2,000 square foot addition off the back of his house to display them. The freaking things a scale model of the US Treasury. Ok for Washington D.C I admit. But for a Victorian neighborhood in a small college town in northern NY? I don’t think so. It’s a goddamn eye sore. Probably shot our property values to hell.”
What caused investigators some initial confusion was that the coin was not just any old 1947 wheat penny or 1924 Buffalo nickel squished beyond recognition by the massive weight of the train. Oh no. The offending coin was 3 ton slab of stone from the Yap islands. “We thought at first that maybe there was a rock slide that covered the tracks. But then we realized there’s no rock face next to the tracks. Then we were thinking maybe a freak mini volcanic eruption. The molten lava could have cooled quickly in the snow. But lab analysis of the rock concluded that it wasn’t magma we were dealing with. Strangely the rock type turned out to be native to the southern pacific. The ocean not the railroad. That got us scratching our heads. It wasn’t until we were able to reassemble the stone that we put the pieces together, so to speak. Luckily one of our team is great with puzzles. This baby was like one of those jigsaw puzzles with about 3,000 pieces that all look alike . I’m not talking some cute kitten hanging from a branch here that fits on a coffee table. I’m thinking some impressionist crap all in aqua marine and weighs upwards of 6,000 lbs. Anyways, the picture that emerged from the rubble was the ancient coinage of Yap. Talk about being weighed down by one’s wealth. How the kid ever got the thing on the tracks I’ll never know. I’d like to see the size of the coin operated laundry machine that will take one of these.”
Mr. Smickles is scheduled to be arraigned in Federal court on Friday. The family has engaged a team of lawyers to provide defense. Donations to offset the cleanup cost may be sent to the Village of Canton’s train derailment fund. All donations are tax-deductible.