by R.T. Fitch
Okay, I confess ,this is not equine related, but it is, once again, another chapter in the wild and wacky life of one, R.T. Fitch. If it is weird and off the scale, it WILL happen here. For your enjoyment…
Several weeks ago, I wrote in a “Feel Good Sunday” that I was going to take the day off and enjoy the day with Terry as I had just flown her up to Omaha to spend several days with me. You see, in the last year I have been on a consulting spree that started in LA, ran back to Houston, up to Mankato Minnesota out to Bangor Maine back to Houston and then up to Omaha Nebraska. This is my last Hoorah as the bulk of my paying job work career has been all international and the idea of traveling domestically is defiantly a change of pace, and Terry joins me in places where we probably never would have traveled.
Back to the story; most of you who have known me for any length of time are aware of the fact that adventure, or misadventure, follows me like a cloud and with that being said, only minutes into Terry’s Omaha visit STUFF started to happen.
I fervently tracked Terry’s flight from Houston to Omaha, arrived way too soon at the airport and probably drank a few too many draft brews while waiting, (8 bucks a beer?) but by the time her flight landed I had worked myself up into a near cardiac arrest zone of excitement. I even conned a passerby to take a photo of us standing at the welcome sign, shameless, just shameless. (see photo).
I showed Terry where the restroom facilities were, so she could freshen up after her flight, and then we walked out to the parking garage where I was pretty well shocked to be able to find a parking spot for “Big Red”, my trusty Dually from Texas. Terry was only toting a small carry-on, which I had been pulling, so I stood it up and opened the passenger door for her to climb up and get in. Once accomplished I opened the back door to stow her carry-on when she asked if I had prepared a surprise for her like she used to do for me when I would fly home from China, Angola, Bangladesh or Nigeria and she would pick me up…I confessed, yes, I had a little surprise for her and to this day I pleasantly remember how she giggled and jumped up and down in the front seat like a little kid on Christmas morning.
You see, when Terry would pick me up from my 28 day stint and 2 travel days from overseas she would always have an ice cold American craft beer cleverly stowed in a cooler awaiting my arrival. The driver never sipped, but the travel weary passenger would and granted, her trip was only two hours but, in my heart, I aimed to please. (Again, the driver did not imbibe)
I was pleased to hand her a local, craft brewed bottle of liquid magic complete with a Koozy to prepare her for our trip to my current digs. She was actually coming up to help me move from a very nice basement apartment that I was temporarily renting to a very nice house across the river in Iowa. I like my privacy and the house has some very nice features, not my home, but in my head, closer to home.
When we pulled into the driveway at my basement apartment I assisted her out of the 4X4 and opened up the back door to retrieve her luggage and much to my surprise, the only thing on the back seat was the cooler. I turned to her and asked one of the dumbest questions in my life, “where is your luggage”.
It did not take much time to mentally process but I was resistant in accepting the obvious, her bag was NOT there. Terry said that it must be in the bed and I was engaged enough to know that I never dropped the tailgate, so the only OBVIOUS answer was that…drum roll, I left it sitting in the middle of the parking space at the parking garage.
“Good GRIEF”, only minutes into her arrival and I had already screwed everything up, bigtime. I asked her to bring a bevy of electronics and several other high-ticket items and they were all in that bag. What a weenie.
I grabbed her by the hand, took her down to the apartment, said that there was a six pack of her favorite beer in the fridge and handed her the remote to the TV…I was going back.
Off I blasted; back to the airport. I couldn’t believe what a complete and total dork I was. How could I be that stupid? Granted I was excited to see her but to leave a bag just sitting there? Hell, I am a member of the Million Mile Flying club, travel is my middle name. Am I really getting old? Am I losing my cookies? Hell, I beat myself black and blue as I headed back to the airport when my phone lit up. Normally I will not answer while driving but I needed a brief break from the self-bashing and I noted that it was Terry.
“Are you there yet?”, she asked.
“I am about 5 minutes out.” I replied.
“Well don’t speed, the bag has been secured and is safely awaiting pickup at the police station which is located down the hallway from entry door 3 at terminal B.”
“Oh good, oh good, I can’t tell you how relieved I am as I have been kicking the crap out of myself the whole way here and just can’t believe how stupid that was. Phew, all good news.”
Terry paused, “Well…not exactly, the authorities want to have a few words with you.”
“What, what are you talking about? Authorities?”
“Lone bag, left on the ground floor of an airport parking garage in plain view at its central core…need I explain further?”, she chirped, and I hate when she does that.
“Yup, bomb scare, and you are the suspect.”
I started to do the mental math of how much we would lose if I just turned around and never picked up the bag and then logic kicked in and reminded me that not only did the authorities have Terry’s number but our home address and everything else…I HAD to go to the police.
A sort of melancholy calmness settled over me when I realized that I would be forced to demean myself in front of uniformed officials and confess that I was a full blown butthead for leaving the bag there. I felt sort of a fatalist’s twinge knowing that Terry, being a woman, would never forget this and remind me for the remainder of my years of what I putz I had become so when I pulled into the parking garage, again, it was all a blur…drive in, turn left, pick out the big open spot and walk to the terminal. Just a blur, all hope dashed, a realization that I really, really am getting old so that when I opened the door to the police station and all eyes turned on me, they almost laughed as it was obvious, I was the idiot.
“Are you the….”….”IDIOT” I finished the desk sergeant’s question for him in fear that it might have been an elevated expletive.
“Yup, I am the idiot who left the bag in the parking garage.”, I sighed.
“You know you put us on full alert with this act?” said the desk sergeant.
“No, but I do now.”, I whimpered.
“We take this sort of stuff real serious, ya know.”
“Yup, and I am glad you do.”, I replied.
“There’s a pretty hefty sentence that comes from stuff like this, ya know.”, said the officer and the other two policemen stood up and moved to the counter where I was standing.
“Oh, great.”, I eked out.
“Yeah”, he sneered.
“And, and, and what might that be?”, I inquired.
“A lifetime of your wife ragging on your ass for being so friggen stupid.”, he blurted out with a big laugh and the other guys all joined in and patted each other on the back while having a huge laugh fest while I shriveled into nothingness across the counter.
I replied, “Whoppie”
“Here’s your bag with the pretty pink tag”, said the Sargent as he respectfully put it up on the counter with care.
“Do you need to see my ID?”, I whispered.
“Nope,” he replied, “Anyone brave enough to put himself through that sort of abuse is obviously the owner.”, and his demeanor softened.
The other guys smiled as the desk sergeant leaned forward and said, “Your wife asked us to give you a bit of crap and, of course, we were glad to oblige BUT, your sentence IS a clear and present possibility for as long as you live, you know that don’t you?”
“Yes sir, and thanks”, I replied.
“Hope your wife enjoys her stay in Omaha.”, he called as I exited the station.
“Fat chance I will.”, I called back as I heard the explosive laughter breakout before the door slammed closed behind me.
And as I walked back to Big Red with the bag I tow I wondered how I managed to go from an equine advocate to a mono-bomber in just 0.025 seconds. I don’t know but the officers were correct; the sentence was adjudicated immediately, and I am certain that it will be reinforced for many years to come.
May God have mercy on my miserable soul. (sniff)