I opened the package several days ago. After giving the contents a quick once-over, I tossed them on the bed of our spare room. The bed held a pile of clothes…it was quite out of control. I glanced at the closet, looking for a coat hanger worthy of my new purchase. I spotted nothing but those cheesy wire jobs that you get from the cleaners. Most of the time the cheesy hangers had a paper wrap on them that read: “We Love Our Customers”. Well, I wonder how much I’d be loved if I found the cleaners home address and stopped by one evening telling the guy that I loved his wife, and could she go bowling with me?
I wouldn’t do that, mind you, that’s too cheesy even for me.
My attention went back to the pile of clothes on the bed. It wasn’t my fault there were no decent hangers.
“Mariam, there’s no decent hangers in the spare bedroom!” I figured she’d know where they were or where she put them.
It was lotto night, so I slipped on my new purchase. I grabbed some change from the kitchen counter. They were brand new L. L. Bean Lined Jeans. Did you notice I said “lined”? Just like I had in the 1950’s when I froze in my parents house. Now, I’m freezing in my own house. The difference is that now I can buy my own lined jeans and not wait for my older brother to wear his out. Once they’re worn out, they’re not very warm, are they?
I drove to the nearest market. I didn’t like going there because they spiked the prices on everything. They were counting on your desperation and unwillingness to drive another twenty minutes to where the prices were normal. I mean, they want $1.19 for a Mounds bar, when in town, the drug store is only asking $.99! It’s outrageous! It’s unfair! It’s blackmail!
Anyway, I scrounged in my right pocket for the $1.19 and for another $2.00 for an Instant Scratch Lottery Ticket. I grumbled something about highway robbery as I paid the $3.19 + tax for the Mounds bar and ticket. I had some change so I put it in my left pocket. I feel it’s important to keep “new” money, i.e., the stuff yet to be spent, in a different pocket than the change. That way, I can keep track of how much I spend and how much I get to take home (that would be the change, in case you weren’t paying attention).
On the way to the car, I double-checked my left pocket, fingering the loose coins, when I felt it! They had made a mistake and given me too much change back. I pulled out the paper. It was small (not big enough to be legal tender even in really small countries like Andorra or Monaco). There was some writing on it. It must be a code. If only I had my glasses, I could read it. I drove home with the secret slip of paper in my chest pocket. That was always a safe place because I only put my Bic pens in there, but I really hate Bic pens so I never use the pocket. That way the pocket stays safe and untouched.
I’m no fool.
When I got home, I put the slip of paper on the floor and bent down to examine it.
The message was simple. It read: INSPECTOR 4.
I began to wonder who this Inspector 4 was. A guy or a girl (not that it matters, mind you). Were they trying to say something to me? What was their life like? If it was a guy, was he handsome? Strong? Buffed? And if it was a girl, was she petite? Cute? Available?
All I can say is that whomever this Inspector 4 is, this I know: He or she is from Maine.
And we know a thing or two about those Maine folks, don’t we?