The Briefcase Caper – 1981 One warm summer evening, I flew into Greensboro, N.C. and drove two hours to a small town where a company manufacturing site was located. I had dinner at a friend’s house and for desert we smoked some of his home grown pot. From where I sat on the patio I could see what appeared to be a wall of green weeds about eight-feet high. We strolled over and he picked a huge marijuana bud for my inspection. I laughed in amazement at its size and the extent of his garden. He gave me a few buds that I put in my briefcase.
From past work trips, I knew I was in a dry town, so after work the next day I drove over the town border to buy beer at a drive up window in the package store. I didn’t have enough cash in my wallet to pay at the window, so I pulled my briefcase from the back seat then placed it on the trunk to get more cash. When I arrived at my room, I reached around the seat for my briefcase, but it was missing. I had forgotten to put it back in the car after buying the beer.
I got a very sick feeling, not because I remembered my plane ticket and $200 cash that were in the briefcase, but because of the baggie of marijuana buds. The briefcase could have fallen off the trunk when I pulled away or flew off when I turned onto the road to leave, or anywhere between there and here. “Damn, if somebody finds it and turns it into the police, I’m screwed.” The only scenario I could not shake was the good ol’ boys coming to cuff my Yankee ass and throw me in the hoosegow.
“Troy, you won’t believe what I did,” I said nervously. “Take it easy. What happened?” he asked. “You must be kidding,” he said after I explained my circumstances. “I’ll be over in my four wheeler and we’ll find the briefcase, don’t worry,” he said.
It was dusk when we started to back-track through the gullies to the package store. He poked along with his flood lights on. He stopped at the drive-up window. “Did you see a briefcase fall off my car?” I asked. “Nope.” She said. “I’m thinking whoever found it will not turn it into the cops but will probably keep it,” Troy said. I had given up hope because too much time had passed so I agreed. He drove mostly in the gullies on the return trip because it was dark.
I sat up most of the night with my irrational thoughts waiting for the posse. As I was getting ready for work the next morning the phone rang. “Did you lose a briefcase?” a deep voice asked. “Yes. I did. Do you have it?” I asked excitedly. “If you want it drive to the McDonald’s a few miles west on the road in front of your motel. I will meet you there.”
In a panic I called Troy. “Troy, this guy called me and has my briefcase. He wants me to meet him at the McDonald’s west of here. Would you go with me?” “Sure. I’ll be there in a few minutes.” He said. When we got to the McDonald’s a big black guy walked over and put the briefcase on the table. I opened it quickly and looked through it. He hadn’t taken the money or the plane ticket. “I only took your marijuana buds,” he said. Only an addict would be pissed he took the pot but I was grateful so I gave him a finder fee.
This incident was one of many that reinforced my fear of living on the road and the imminent danger. But I didn’t change because I skated through the crisis.
Next: A crumpled, dog-eared paper with cryptic notes scribbled in the margin were connected with arrows that pointed to my future. Success or failure didn’t make any difference.
The articles published here by babyboomers.com are small excerpts of a 268 page manuscript titled “The Courage to Surrender” that I would like published. Call 678.361.4709 for information on the manuscript.