Sunday, June 16, 2013

“It Depends,” a short story by Suzanne Burchell

She’s be okay as long as he didn’t look in the glove compartment. This had been the perfect day for a scoot across the border for a wee bit of shopping – until this moment. One car to go before her turn with the border guard and she could be in the biggest trouble of her life. How could she have forgotten? If she turned around now, it would not look good. How could she have been so stupid beyond stupid?

 There in the glove compartment was a wee gift given to her by her best friend, Myrtle. It was in a ziplock baggie, a few freshly rolled joints from a cool and caring friend. Why had she left home with them still in the car ? How could she have forgotten?

Breathe Zen breaths, she told herself, and in no time you’ll be flying across the bridge. She could toss the joints before the second inspection. What the hell, weed is legal in a lot of states. But was it legal in New York? She couldn’t remember. Her mind reeled with might happen if she were caught.

Oh-oh. Her turn.

“Where were you born?” the guard barked.


“What year ?”

None of your business! she thought but then came to her senses   “1947, sir.”

“How long will you be staying?”

“Just the afternoon. I’m going to hit the malls.” She gave him her best little old lady smile. He didn’t smile back. What a robo cop. At this thought oh, no! – out came a wee nervous dribble onto her slacks. Today of all days to leave home without her depends.  The warm stream made her giggle.

“What’s so funny, ma’am ?”

She laughed again and dribbled some more.

“Pull over there,” he commanded.

Oh crap, she thought, and did as she was told. Two armed officers with sniffing dogs were waiting her arrival. They demanded she step out of the car. This was getting serious. There she stood with a stained crotch and on the brink of becoming a criminal. Worse, she was about to wet her pants even more.

The dogs could hardly be contained. The one dog tore into the glove compartment in a frenzy, burying its nose. The dog backed out with a bag in its mouth tearing the bag to pieces. The officer grinned until he inspected the bag.  Purina dog treats.

“Rusty!” the guard said, his tone conveying deep disappointment. Clearly the dog had shamed itself. It was, after all, a constable and this type of behaviour was totally unbecoming to its station.

“Bad dog!” the guard scolded and in a quick cover up, he snatched the treat bag form the jaws of the canine and told her to get back in her car and move on.

OMG! She sat back down on the moist seat, unbelieving of her good fortune. The dog treats were for Ike, her friend’s rescue dog, a thank you for the joints.. She’d planned on taking the treats to her friend tomorrow at bridge, so she had stuffed them in the glove compartment just before she left this morning. As she put her car into gear and sailed across the bridge, she slipped the incriminating baggie of joints out the window, smiling at her good karma.

She drove to a near-by mall to purchase some dry undies and slacks, then headed to a pet store to replenish the dog treats. She would have something to declare all right when she crossed back over the bridge.

And tomorrow night at her lady’s bridge game, she’d have an excellent story to declare.

Suzanne Burchell retired from teaching secondary school drama after 38 years but continues to  lecturer in Drama in Education at Brock University. She is developing a new profession as a story teller in Ontario after having a lengthy time of story-telling in the summer in her homeland of Nova Scotia. “It Depends” was previously published on CommuterLit.

For information on submitting to CommuterLit, see here.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia, Bracebridge, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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