M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, October 16, 2002  

For various reasons, our trip to New York didn’t cost us a lot of money. The only way it could have been cheaper would be if we were getting deported and the INS let us get off the plane for a while at JFK. In fact, we’re looking into that for our next trip. Never let it be said that we aren’t bargain-hunters.

One of the ways we saved a lot of money was by forgoing a hotel in favor of staying with a very generous friend who moved to New York last year. I’ve referred to her as Laure in this space, after the character she played in the last show I saw her in. But since she’s now a diligent legal student, I should probably change her pseudonym to Lawre. Don’t worry, it’s still pronounced the same.

In any case, since she was kind enough to lend us keys to her place and let us sleep on her futon, I thought I’d repay her hospitality by relating an embarrassing story about her. See, this is why you should never do anything nice for anyone who maintains a weblog, ever.

One evening, years ago, a group of us were sitting around relating stories of our varied youthful indiscretions. You know, the kind of stories that you always wrap up by explaining how you avoided getting caught, or what happened after you got caught (I got caught every time, so there’s nothing new here for you, Mom and Dad). Most of us had taken a couple of turns already, except for Lawre. We prevailed upon her to spill.

Her story started off ordinarily enough. Parents out of town. She and a friend decided to take the car to get some coffee, despite having nary a driver’s license between them. Time passed, and when they were ready to put the car back in the garage, it was too late; the neighbors were home. And they were outside, in clear view of Lawre’s garage. Worse, these were neighbors who talked. Lawre figured she was pinched for sure.

But it wasn’t too late. I think they’d walked back from the coffee shop to make sure the coast was clear. For that reason, their joyriding hadn’t been noticed yet. All they had to do was get the car back into the garage without the neighbors seeing it. Being resourceful and quick-witted, Lawre came up with a sure-fire plan.

Her friend would go back and retrieve the car. Meanwhile, Lawre would distract the neighbors and get them out of the incriminating line of sight they currently occupied. The scheme couldn’t fail. It was absurd in its simplicity. And the diversion would be irresistible.

She would go into her basement, get the clown costumes out, and explain to the neighbors that she needed them to dress up in them and let her take pictures of them at the park for a school project.

Okay, maybe it was just absurd, period.

First of all: who has clown costumes in their basement? Aside from the Brady Bunch, I mean. Secondly, can you imagine a teenaged neighbor approaching you with such a bizarre request? Did Lawre think that “pictures of the neighbors at the park” sounded like a transparently false assignment, whereas adding the phrase “in clown costumes” gave it that necessary ring of verisimilitude? What would her answer have been a few days later when the neighbors, still Q-Tipping white greasepaint out of their ears, asked what grade she’d gotten on the assignment? What would her answer have been when the roll of film came back from the processors after a few weeks and her parents flipped idly through them, going, “us at the lake, birthday party, cat, cat, lake, party, lake, what the hell is this?”

As much I would have loved to hear about any of this story’s potential denouements, the sad truth is that by the time the clown suits had been exhumed from storage, the neighbors had left again, allowing Lawre to return the car to the garage without risking exposure. It’s a shame it turned out that way, really.

But at least now you know what to do the next time somebody asks you to dress up like a clown and go down to the park. Just offer to drive the car back yourself and pledge eternal silence.

posted by M. Giant 3:27 PM 0 comments


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