It was a pleasant March morning. Brisk breeze. Unseasonably warm for the Ohio Valley.
Today was the big day of the Bonsai Show at the Louisville Convention Center. I had the back seat of my car filled with tiny trees and was excited about the prospect of spending time with other oddballs talking about bonsai.
I pulled into the parking lot of my bank to get some cash (never know when you'll find that tree you just can't live without), and as I drove toward the ATM machine, I noticed two guys walking from the door of the bank toward me wearing ski masks. I remember thinking, "That's odd. It's not that cold out today." I thought nothing more of it. As the two guys passed me, one of them made eye contact with me and I with him, he nodded and so did I. You know, the guy-kinda thing where you're too cool to actually say, hello, so just nod? And they walked casually past me.
I got to the door of the bank. It was locked. Oh, shit. I turned to see if I could still see the guys that were in the ski masks and by now they were sprinting out of the lot and vaulted over a bush into the next lot. Double oh, shit.
The bank had been robbed and I happened to stumble into it. All I wanted to do was play with tiny trees!
Being a good citizen, I whipped out my trusty cell phone and dialed 911 and excitedly explained to the dispatcher that I'd just seen two guys in ski masks fleeing the scene of an apparent bank robbery. She was sending an officer.
I felt proud.
A silver Camaro screams into the lot and a young, athletic, black man in street clothes jumps from the driver door, pulls a pistol, aims it at me, and hides behind the open door of his car. Triple oh, shit!!!!
"IT WAS ME THAT CALLED!!!!" I screamed, holding my cell phone above my head. I think he may have yelled something like, "PUT YOUR HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD!" but I didn't hear him, I was busy pissing my pants and putting my hands up because that's what you do in the movies anytime a gun is pointed at you.
All I wanted to do was play with tiny trees.
After yelling a few things at each other, the plain-clothes officer ordered me to get in the passenger's seat of his car. I yelled back, "I HAVE TO LOCK MY CAR. I HAVE BONSAI TREES IN THE BACK SEAT." I learned that day when a police officer tells you to get in his car and you disobey him to protect your bonsai, the police officer gets VERY angry.
So AFTER locking my car, I jumped into the passenger seat of a very pissed-off Jeffersonville cop. And off we went. On a high-speed chase. What pee hadn't come out of me with the gun pointing episode now came out as the g-forces approached about 10. We whipped around corners, shot through openings, it was real Bullit-type shit. If I hadn't been scared that we'd actually FIND these banderos, I might have enjoyed myself - I LOVE to go fast in cars!
The whole time he's driving, he's asking me questions and talking on his cop-radio-thingy. As I said, I like to go fast in cars, but I usually exert ALL of my thought processes on driving the car and NOT doing other things like talking to guys I want to punch and talking on cop-thingies.
I gave him the best description I could. Two guys. One black. One white. Both wearing ski masks and carrying a duffel bag (I hadn't thought about the oddity of the duffel bag before this point - I'm really naive).
We never saw them again. Actually, he never saw them in the first place. I was the idiot that nodded at them before they did the Bambi-thing and leapt out of the parking lot.
He took me back to my car.
All I want to do is play with tiny trees.
I went to another branch, mine was still locked and under investigation. I got my money and made it to the Convention Center.
Finally, I can play with tiny trees.
Now, you'd think that was enough crazy-magnet-shit for one day, let alone a year ... nahhhh:
We had a terrible thunderstorm that afternoon and I don't know what happened, but while my friends and I were sitting in the bonsai booth talking like any geeky-bonsai-enthusiast would about the little trees, a line of fire fighters in full gear runs down the aisle toward us, pushes past us, through our booth, and disappears behind the curtain in the back of the booth.
To this day I have no clue what that was all about.
About a year later, my bank sold the branch that had been robbed (that wasn't the first time it had been the victim of a heist) and another bank moved in. I don't have an account with them. And won't get one either.
And all I wanted to do was play with tiny trees.
Beware the Crazy Magnet.
There's just so much I need to warn you about - And yet, tragically, I cannot.
5 months ago