Anybody got bail money for their best blog buddy Val? Or a place to harbor this fugitive until the heat throws in the rice towel? Just in case. I don't need it right this moment. But I almost did a couple hours ago! Here's how it went down. We talk like that, you know. Us almost-arrested innocent bystanders who don't give a hoot about grammar.
I had a faculty meeting after school. Then I waited for The Pony to finish a session of his independent study Personal Finance class on the counselor's computer. We took off like bats out of not-heaven for the bank, to deposit some money into Genius's account. He bought a futon to fit under his dorm bed that he jacked up so he can lounge about watching the TV he bought himself. Which he did NOT ask us to pay for. But since he was looking for a futon at the Goodwill store and insurance salvage stores, and asked Hick to keep his eye peeled for one at the auction, Hick and I decided we would pay for a new one from Walmart. Because who wants their Genius bringing home bedbugs over the Christmas holiday? Not this tender-skinned family, that's for sure.
After leaving the bank, we stopped to gas up T-Hoe. It's not my regular gas station, but I go there a couple times a month when it's convenient, either for gas or for lottery tickets. Let the record show that Val never runs T-Hoe's tank down to EMPTY. Nope. Not gonna do it. I'm not forking over that much cash on gas. I fill it at half a tank. Which is bad enough. But at least I'm not like my mom, who refuses to put in more than $20 at a time. If I did that, I would be getting gas every two days.
So...as is our habit, I climbed down to put in the gas, then gave The Pony the cash to go in and pay. I'm not using a card at the pump. People can steal your identity like that, you know! So The Pony trots across the lot, not very far, it's just a Casey's with four pumps, to look for a donut snack and pay for my gas. He does this every week at my regular gas Casey's, with nary a problem.
After putting the pump handle back, I opened my driver's door to grab some change. The gas was $45.30. I handed The Pony three twenties and a quarter and a nickel. "Here. Get something if you want, but if you don't see anything, pay with this change, so I can get a ten and a five back." The Pony jumped out of his back seat behind the driver's seat, and I climbed in. Let the record show that our seats were on the building side of the car. The road was to my right. I was the only car at the pumps, and there was one more car parked by the building, with an old man who had gone inside. That left just The Pony and a geezer inside as customers.
My window was down. I turned to get some Green Apple Germ-X out of my purse. I slathered up my hands and rubbed them together. Waved them around to dry, inhaling the scent. Then I put the Germ-X back in my purse. I put on my seatbelt. I laid my left elbow on the window ledge, waiting for The Pony. T-Hoe was not running. You turn your car off while pumping gas, you know. And who turns it on to burn up the gas you just pumped in while you wait for your son to pay? Not this ol' Val. I turned to look inside to see if The Pony was coming out yet.
"Did you send someone in to pay for your gas?" A youngish chubby dude in a brand-spankin'-new Casey's shirt was halfway across the lot, coming toward me. I'd say he was maybe 15 feet away.
"Yes. I'm not a drive-off. My son is inside paying."
"Oh." Dude stopped and stared at me. Then turned around.
I swear. There must be a traveling ring of late-middle-aged, L'Oreal-medium-brown-coiffed, pleasantly plump schoolmarms marauding about the countryside stealing gas. Because never have I ever, in all my years of driving, been suspected of being a drive-away. It's not like this was a 24-bay gas station truck stop mere feet from the interstate. I guess Dude was planning to grab onto my trailer hitch and let me drag him along while he called the police on his cell phone. And me with my bad neck and creaky knees, itchin' to ditch my T-Hoe and run from the police.
The Pony came out with a donut and a handful of change. He was chuckling.
"I was just accused of being a drive-off!"
"I know. I saw him come out. He said something about he was going out to see if you were paying for your gas."
"And you didn't tell him?"
"No. He didn't ask me. He wanted to go out. The other guy didn't say anything. He was waiting on that man. But this guy acted like he wanted to go out."
"Thanks. I can't believe that after all that time I sat here, the car not even running, waiting for you...he thought I was going to drive off. I'd be a pretty bad criminal, I guess."
I hope my picture is never posted in the dead-mouse-smelling post office.