I couldn’t believe it was happening.
My long-awaited vacation was falling apart before it had begun. I was about to be arrested. Maybe even get thrown in jail. Then all of my rootin,’ tootin’ relatives would have to bail me out and—
But wait! I’m getting ahead of my story. You won’t believe it, of course…but it’s true. Every word of it.
You see, my kinfolk were planning a big holiday reunion in the Heartland. Everyone would be there…People I hadn’t seen for eons! It was exciting, but nerve-wracking, too.
Panic time! I was ten pounds overweight. Wrinkled. Full of sun spots, and as old as Methuselah. I couldn’t go to the reunion looking like this!
I started jogging and doing exercises. Hair treatments!..Skin-toning!…Extreme measures to make up for lost time. One evening, my husband came home to find me using the vacuum cleaner on my face.
“What now?” he said, “What are you doing?”
“It’s called suction-microdermabrasion,” I said, shutting off the suction hose. “A salon treatment like this costs $100’s—maybe even $1000’s. I’ve saved a fortune…See?”
He was speechless. And not at all appreciative.
“I’ll use a bit of vinegar and baking soda, too,” I said. “It’s better than the Hemorrhoid Cream I used to wear. It makes me look years younger…don’t you think?”
My husband could only shake his head. “Scary…” he said. “That’s scary.”
Ungrateful man! I ignored him and went to get my suitcases.
I spent a week packing and repacking my luggage, finally jamming it all into my car in the usual disarray. My monkey-puppets would be going with me, as well as my pet rose plant, “Rosella.” I couldn’t leave them at home with the Hubs for a whole month. He wouldn’t care for them properly. They would all die.
I set off on my 2000 mile trek—well prepared for the journey. I had bags of celery, carrots, and zucchini. I planned on losing ten pounds by the time I got there.
The trip was long and boring, but I made good time. I was halfway across the country before I ran into trouble. Red lights started flashing behind me. A trooper pulled me over. I’m not sure why.
The officer made some flimsy excuse about a blinker. He was a young rookie cop. He took one look at my vacuumed cheeks and greased-up hair, and said: “I need to run my drug-sniffing dog around your car.”
“Go right ahead,” I said. “I’m squeaky clean. I haven’t even had a speeding ticket in 35 years of driving!”
The trooper and his dog walked ‘round and ‘round around the car. They came to a halt by my trunk. Something was wrong.
“I’ll have to ask you to open the trunk,” he said. “My dog says there’s something in there—and she’s always right.”
I felt stunned. Dear Lord! I was about to be arrested. And for what?
With cars whizzing past, I waited there on the roadside while the trooper rifled through my suitcases. It was like watching a burglar ransack your house. Everything was scattered about. My underwear and holey socks. The rookie didn’t miss a thing.
He questioned me endlessly. It was too much. I started to laugh…it was better than crying. He stared at me, mystified.
“Sorry, sir,” I said. “But I write a newspaper column—you see—and I’m thinking how my readers won’t believe a word of this story when I tell them. It’s too wild.”
The rookie smiled as he was thinking of a few wild stories himself. Monkeys and mayhem! Carrots and zucchini. Hysteria.
“Oh Lord…!” I said. A sudden thought had occurred to me. A rational one, at last. “I think I know what the dog detected,” I said. “I’ve got money stored in my trunk. Could there be cocaine on my cash?”
The rookie nodded. “Possibly. Most bills have traces of drugs. Where is the cash exactly?”
“I stored it in a canning jar. I don’t trust banks, you see, and—” I trailed off.
Right…! It sounded fishy even to me. Nowadays, everybody carries debit cards—not cash—all except for drug dealers, of course. And paranoid country-folk like me.
The trooper found the canning jar and thumbed through my money warily. He wasn’t yet convinced of my innocence, and he was struggling to reach a rational decision. Setting a person such as me loose upon society was serious business.
At last, the officer made up his mind—deciding that I was harmless. Mostly.
“I’ll let you go for now,” he said. He closed the trunk and stood looking at me. “By the way,” he added. “If you write your article about this, don’t use my last name. Just call me John,” he said, indicating his name tag. “You can use my dog’s name, though. Her name is ‘Buelah’.”
“Buelah?” An odd name…but I wasn’t going to argue. “Well, Buelah it is!” I said. “Don’t worry, sir. My readers don’t pay much attention to my stories. They don’t believe a word I say.”
We parted on friendly terms. I made my happy escape, and the rookie drove away to harass other unsuspecting motorists. And that’s how it all went down, my friends.
Harassment in the Heartland! Cocaine on cash! It was scary…and it was all too real and personal.
And now, folks, I’ve got just one more thing to say.
When you’re packing for your Holiday Extravaganza, this year…don’t hide your cash in a canning jar in the trunk. Make sure you leave behind your traveling monkeys, rose plants, carrots and zucchinis.
And for good measure, don’t vacuum your face beforehand. It’s sure to bring bad luck.
Well. Goodbye, for now, my friends. Have a happy, hysteria-free holiday in the Heartland.
God bless you all!