I received a strange phone call yesterday. My husband’s phone rang and when he said, “Hello,” they asked for me then hung up. Again, the phone rang. My husband said, “Hello.” They asked for me and then hung up.
I’m thinkin’ I’m lookin’ really bad right now. I said, “Honey, if I were having an affair, I’d be having the pool boy call me on my phone.” Then my phone rang. Fantastic. Would this happen were it anybody else’s life?
I answer the phone and a man said he was the D.A. I wondered, “What ticket have I not paid or what friend of mine is in trouble now?” He starts out with, “Mam, I think you have been the victim of fraud.” I said, “Oh, no. What do you mean?” He explained that some season passes to the local waterpark Schlitterbahn were apparently sold fraudulently. I said, “Are mine good?” He said, “Yes, but they are fraudulent. Could you please tell me where you bought them?”
“Sure,” I replied, “I bought them at HEB. We had to go to the next town to buy them because this town’s HEB was sold out.” He said, “Let me remind you, ‘mam, that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” I said, “I know. We got them at the store.”
“Let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect in this case,” he said. “So can you tell me again where you bought them?” he asked. I said, “I told you we went all the way to the next town to get them because this one was sold out. It was the HEB on …” and I tried in vain to think of the name of the highway that I used to know as 802 but was renamed in honor of somebody who had lived some kind of remarkable life. He repeated, “Let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” I said, “I know. I am trying to think of which HEB it was. We bought it there are the store office.”
“They don’t sell this kind there, Mam. Could you please tell me where you got them?” he said.
“I told you, we got them at HEB in Brownsville because this one was sold out. We got in line at the customer service center and are on videotape buying them. We have to be. They have cameras everywhere there because it is the office.”
“Mam, let me remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect,” he reiterated. “Just tell me where you bought them.” I said, “I told you where I bought them… at HEB, in Brownsville, at the store’s office in line with everybody else.”
“Mam, they don’t sell those there. Could I remind you that you are a victim here and not a suspect.” He went on, “We have it narrowed down to two people you probably bought them from.” I said, “I bought them at the store in Brownsville, in line with everybody else. We have to be on camera buying them. I know we bought them there. Didn’t we?” I turned to my family who was intently listening to my end of the conversation.
I looked at my family questioningly. Was I losing my mind? I asked them if we went to Brownsville to buy those Schlitterbahn season passes. They assured me I had not lost my mind yet. I told him, “My family remembers going down there and buying them,” then realized that would have no impression on him either. A family of scoundrels produces scoundrels so I’m sure he thought he was dealing with another Ma Barker. I pictured myself coming out on the 10 o’clock news in a few days, handcuffed and chained to the other people who were really involved in this.
I was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and so help me God this guy wasn’t believing a word of it. I was getting frustrated because the truth was NOT setting me free. I thought, “This is what it feels like to be accused of a rape, convicted of a rape and sent to prison for a rape you did not commit.” I dejectedly said, “Maybe we have some proof here somewhere,” and I hung up.
My better half said, “Maybe I have the receipt,” when I told him what was going on. I said, “Yeah, sure. Who is going to have a receipt for something from five months ago?” He pulled out his anti-Pandora’s box of important documents, started digging and lo and behold.. there it was. An HEB receipt that when unfolded almost began to glow with its power. I clutched it and said, “Thank you God!” I hugged and thanked my husband for saving me yet again from a hell I didn’t even bring on this time.
Redemption in hand, I called the detective and told him I had found the receipt and told him the date of the purchase, the time and even the name of the cashier. “I’ll send somebody out to get it,” he mumbled disbelievingly. I hung up and realized that I was going to be asked to hand over the only evidence I had of my innocence and that if the other authorities involved were as trustable as this guy, I’d better go protect myself and make myself some copies of this document vital to my freedom. We went to HEB, of course, where we told the manager of the brewing scandal, and asked her to make copies of our innocence. She gladly disappeared into the back of the office and came back with two copies, for good measure. We went home and waited, relishing in our redemption.
When the two lawmen came over, I invited them into our innocent home and sat at our innocent table where I showed them the copy of the receipt. He repeated assuringly, “I want you to know that you were always just a victim in this situation and not a suspect.” “Can it!” I wanted to tell him but smiled kindly and understandably and said, “I know.” Of course, I had to show him the original receipt which we ended up handing over because we had copies and witnesses now to the validity of our claim. The four of us in the room knew our involvement in this scandal was over.
The detective who so loved the phrase, “I need you to know that you are a victim and not a suspect in this case,” handed me his card and said, “If you ever need anything…” I countered by handing him my card and saying, “And if you ever need anything…” We shook hands and I walked them to the door gladly closing the door behind them and the trouble they had tried to bring into my world.
When the scandal breaks and it comes out on the newspaper or on the evening news, I am going to know how close I was to being sucked into that horrible mess and how easily one can go from being a victim to a suspect… for lack of a tiny piece of paper. I am going to save all my receipts now, no matter how insignificant they may seem for it is alot easier to save a receipt for ten years than to do ten years.