By Russ Towne
The trip had been grueling. He still had to get their luggage before they headed home. It was in an endless stream of suitcases on the over-stuffed carousel. Adding to the ‘fun’ was that the color of the vast majority of the luggage was black and of the same design and shape.
Like most of the rest of the crowd, Ray Johnson was tired and getting impatient. He’d found Jan’s bag, and the one for their five-year-old daughter Grace. “Now where’s mine?” He was grateful that, before the trip, he tied a strip of material with miniature playing cards to his black suitcase. “Ah, there it is!” He grabbed it but was interrupted by his wife as he bent to check the name on the tag.
“Jayce and Vickie are nearly out front. Let’s go before they have to drive around the airport again.”
The Kendalls were long-time close friends. After brief hugs and greetings, the luggage was loaded, and the trip home was full of stories about their daughter’s first trip to Disneyland.
The Kendalls helped unload the baggage, said goodnight, and drove away when the phone in the Johnsons’ house rang. Ray muttered, handed off the sleepy Grace to Jane, fumbled for his keys, and barely reached the phone in time. “This is Ray.”
“YOU STOLE MY BAG AND I WANT IT BACK!”
“What are you talking about?”
“AT THE AIRPORT! YOU’RE DEAD IF YOU OPENED OR TOOK ANYTHING FROM IT!”
“Whoa! I don’t take kindly to threats. You want to calm down?”
“NO! I WANT MY SUITCASE!
“Hang on a minute. Let me check the suitcases. Did you have a ribbon on tied to it?”
“Yeah. A ribbon with playing cards on it.”
“Uh oh, I tied the same kind of ribbon on mine. Hang on, let me check. What’s your name?”
“Billy Burdett. Yeah, go check, BUT YOU BETTER NOT OPEN IT!”
Ray set the phone down, grabbed the suitcase, checked the name on the ID tag and sighed.
“I have your bag. I’m sorry; I must have taken yours by mistake. Do you have mine?”
“It’s late. I’ll be happy to meet you at the airport tomorrow morning to swap our bags.”
“NO. I’M COMIN’ NOW! REMEMBER, YOU’RE DEAD IF YOU OPEN IT.”
The line went dead.
(To be continued…)