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Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #1852856
A trip to the Building Center

So, I’m renovating this restaurant and the contractor asks me to go to the lumber store and pick up some moldings. After telling me he needs five fourteen foot pieces, I grab the company pick up and head down to the local building center.

Once inside, I find the moldings, load them onto the cart and head for the cashier. After banging my way through the narrow lanes, I am greeted by a smiling young lady who takes my money and out to the parking lot I go.

Now let’s think about this, Chevy pick up with a regular box of about eight feet, me with moldings of about fourteen feet. No problem! I’ll just stick them through that fancy ‘headache rack’ and let them hang over the windshield.

All’s well as I slip behind the wheel and begin to motor out of the lot. That’s when I noticed another contractor in a Dodge pick up, staring at my load and shaking his head. That was my first clue that all would not go well.

As I cruised down the street I saw that the moldings were getting caught up in the wind and were bending back towards the box. I knew there was no chance that I would get them back to the job site without breaking them since I still had to hit the highway.

With a certain air of confidence, I pulled down a side street to stop and secure my load. Now remember, this isn’t my regular pick up. It’s the one I provide for my staff, I rarely ever drive it.

Lifting the seat forward, I pulled free a tangled bundle of fiber rope. Pleased with the find, I went around to the passenger side and began wrapping the rope around the end of the moldings and the outside rearview mirror. Once they seemed secure enough, there was still about twenty feet of rope left.

Normally I would have some kind of knife kicking around but since it wasn’t my usual truck, I had to resort to burning the rope with a lighter. After a few burnt fingers, I was finally done. Satisfaction mirrored my face as I tossed the remaining rope back in behind the seat and climbed in while out of the corner of my eye, I could see a police car pass by. Thinking nothing of it, I motored away. Glancing back, I was surprised to see the police car turn around and pull me over.

Just as this was happening, smoke began to cloud inside the truck as I guess the rope wasn’t quite out when I put it away. Pulling the truck over, I leapt out flipping the seat forward and began to pull free the rope. The next thing I know, I’m laying on the ground with my lips and cheek pressed against drainage grate with a two hundred pound policeman on my back firmly holding my right arm with one hand and my hair with the other.

“Did you toss it behind the seat?” He asked.

Confused by his concern for my rope, I stumbled my words but managed to answer, “..yes, but I guess it wasn’t quite out.”

“Penticton…eleven alpha seven.” He called into his radio and once he received a reply he continued, “Can I have a supervisor and back up to four eighteen Ellis Street for one in custody.”

Now I’ll admit that my load wasn’t exactly perfect and surely there was no chance he could have seen my earlier illegal u-turn and even if he did, ‘one in custody?’ is this a police state? Surely there must be some misunderstanding.

A few minutes later, three other police cars arrived and they collectively handcuffed and threw me into the back of a patrol car. They made it quite clear that they weren’t ready to listen to me at this point.

I sat and watched as they pulled apart the contents of the pick up leaving them strewn about the street until they produced the still smoldering rope. The supervising officer held up the rope, snuffing out the ember with his gloved hand. Taking a whiff, he began to laugh as he passed it around to the other officers. After a lot more laughing and several jokes that I couldn’t hear, the supervisor, grinning from ear to ear, came over and let me out of the police car and removed the handcuffs.

“Sorry for the misunderstanding sir.” He managed between his uncontrolled laughter, “But you have to admit, it is pretty funny!”

Still completely in the dark about what was going on, I nodded and agreed with a half witted smile. The Supervisor patted me on the back as he walked away. A moment later and I was the only one left on the street.

Half an hour later I was back at the restaurant where Brian, the head contractor, was helping me unload. He began to untie the rope from the mirror as he began to notice an unusual smell. Grabbing the burnt end of the rope, he carefully inspected it. His face broke from concerned to amused, “Hemp rope!”

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