Like Walter White in Breaking Bad, I used to traffic in illegal drugs. Or so it appeared. And I’m not gonna lie. Things got pretty dicey.
One afternoon last year I went to get my car washed at Red Carpet (not A-1 but similar). I was in the waiting area, when I noticed a din of activity surrounding my vehicle. Several of the workers were gesturing among themselves and beckoning others to come over. Afraid that they had discovered my bootleg “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” box set, I hurried over.
“What’s going on?” I asked the growing group.
“Is this your car?”
One of the workers held up a plastic baggie containing a white powdery substance and a spoon.
“Then this must be yours too.”
I stammered a bit. “I’ve never seen that before in my life.”
Even though the majority of the group didn’t speak English, an exaggerated, nervous denial is a universal language. So they all laughed a mocking, accusatory laugh.
“Well this doesn’t look good. I can’t just let you take it,” announced the former lead car detailer turned Hank Schrader.
“What are you talking about? I’m sure it’s not mine” I said.
Then sounding more like Tuco, he whispered conspiratorially:
“I can call my manager over or I can make this disappear for you.”
“Just take it,” I said.
He tucked the baggie in his pocket and handed me my keys.
Later that evening I told my wife about the car wash incident.
“I think they were trying to frame me,” I said.
She thought for a split second. “Oh that was Sophie’s baggie,” she said.
“What in the hell are you talking about?” I asked.
“She was making cookies at Avery’s and they ran out of powdered sugar. So I put some in a baggie for her.”
Still trying to figure out when I could schedule an intervention for my oldest daughter, I set the trap. “Why was it still in my car then?”
“I was halfway to Avery’s house when Sophie called and told me they found some sugar and they didn’t need any. I guess I put it under your seat and forgot about it. That was weeks ago. You should really get your car cleaned more often.”
“Why was there a spoon in there?”
“I must have been in a hurry and just stuck it in there. I’m glad you found it. Did you bring it in?” she asked.
“No I didn’t bring it in. Tuco has it.”
“A ruthless drug dealer who is about to discover that I duped him into believing confectioner’s sugar was Grade A nose candy.”
She didn’t give a second thought to my predicament. But I had visions of Skinny Pete in a back alley riding a brief and disappointing sugar high. Word on the street would spread that I sold flex (look it up) and I’d be in serious trouble. I haven’t been back to Red Carpet car wash since.
Then I got to thinking. It really was an effortless transaction. Powdered sugar in a baggie. Whacked out junkies can’t be that difficult to fool. By the time they discover your product is fake, you’re on to the next addict. Easy money.
And believe me, I could use a little free cash flow right now. I feel ya Walter White. Two kids in college. One in high school. A mortgage, four car payments, insurance, taxes. I mean, who isn’t looking for a some extra jingle?
We just went to Parents Weekend at TCU. My daughter’s sorority had a charity auction to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The first item up for bid was a quilt. As in patchwork blanket. The bidding started at $500. About 7 minutes later the quilt sold for-no shit-$21,000.00. If the poor bastard who spent $21,000 for a quilt wasn’t into drugs before, I would be willing to wager he is now.
The next morning I reviewed my well worn list of “get rich quick” second careers. I have considered and crossed through several over the years. Celebrity chef, mobile embalming studio, psychic hotline, men’s yoga clothing designer, Betamax store owner. Finally something to get excited about. Fake drug dealer.
So I consulted my wife. The same one who hears about every ninth word I utter.
“I’m thinking about a new career.”
“This is good. Remember the mix-up at the car wash? And the fake stuff? And think crazy money. As in spending $21,000 for a quilt crazy.”
She looked confused.
“You’re going to have to put 2 and 2 together here” I said. “If I’m going into this business I can’t just broadcast my intentions. The walls have ears, if you know what I mean.”
That afternoon, my wife returned home and gave me a wink.
“I thought about what you said this morning” she whispered. “I completely understand why you don’t want a lot of people to know about this second career.”
I smiled and gave her a knowing look.
She continued: “So I signed you up for a private class.”
“A private class? What are you talking about?”
“At Joann’s Fabrics. A sewing class. The lady said you’d be able to make a quilt in about six months. Sell two a year. 42 grand.” She held her hand aloft. “High five.”
Oh well. I probably wasn’t cut out for the life of a fake drug dealer anyway. But I did read that Vince Gilligan made millions on Breaking Bad. I’m going to pitch him on a new series. It’s about a guy who has three kids, a wife and lots of expenses. Since he can’t really stomach being a drug dealer, he just sinks deeper into debt. Working title: Breaking Dad.