She braked audibly in front of my doorstep and rang the bell insistently.
“It is a glorious day. Why are you wasting it indoors?” she demanded.
It was no use saying I had bills to pay and my accountant’s exigent letter to answer. She barely listened and then responded with an impatient shake of her long, unruly mien.
“You do that later. Now, you come with me.”
She hardly gave me the time to put on my shoes. As I tied the shoestrings, she brushed her hair and answered mail on her phone, both at the same time.
As she stopped, I noticed a liquor store next door. “I finished my bottle of Campari last night,” I said. “Why not I pick up a bottle why you buy the lemonade?”
It was a large store, and they had a few items on sale. A bottle of Absolut vodka caught my eye and I took it too. As I placed the bottles on the counter, the salesman said, “Sir, we have some gin too on heavy discount.” I nodded and paid.
A few miles ahead we were past the city traffic and Diane pressed on the pedal. The cool breeze hit my face. It was agreeable to be out of the city and its noise and grime. Life seemed very pleasant and peaceful.
Just then we both heard the siren, the police signal. A police car was following us with flashing lights. Disgusted, Diane muttered, “What’s this? I certainly wasn’t speeding.”
She stopped the car. The police car stopped right behind us. The cop took his time checking our number on his computer before he came to ask for our driving license.
More checking and then he came to the window with the strange message, “There is the report of a stolen vehicle.”
Aghast, Diane replied, “I have had this car for three years. It has never been stolen.”
The cop looked at me and asked, “Who is that man?”
“My friend. He has nothing to do with my car.”
The cop went back to his car for more checking. Then he returned, a little abashed, and said, “I am sorry. There was a mistake about the number of the vehicle. Apologies for stopping you.”
Hardly had he spoken when he noticed the bottles that had rolled out of the paper bag on the back seat.
“Do you realize that it is against the law to transport liquor bottles from one state to another?”
I spoke up, “I am not transporting anything across state lines. I saw some liquor being sold at discount and bought them for my own use. They are going home with me when we return from our trip.”
The cop looked askance and examined the paper bag gingerly. He realized there were only three bottles, hardly the stuff for a major commercial transaction. He let us go.
The last word was of course Diane’s. When the cop left and the car started again, Diane heaved a noticeable sigh and asked, “Did you really have to buy so many bottles?”
I maintained a discreet silence.
We had a pleasant time in Frederick. We went to a small museum and then we had an excellent lunch in a cozy pint-sized family-run restaurant.
She took a look at her glass and asked suspiciously, “What is this stuff?”
I replied, “It is called a Poor Man’s Vodka Martini. It has only ginger ale and vodka – the vodka that we took across state lines but, unwisely, did not sell for profit but brought back for our own delectation.”