Short Stories - non fiction

Would You Swap Your Tide?


When I first lived in Ottawa with Katherine, we used to go to the local laundry mat to do our laundry. It was actually close by, and provided there weren’t bums hanging around to keep warm, it was sort of convenient.

Also just across the bridge was Hull, in the Province of Quebec. My dear friend Cynthia and I would sometimes venture to Hull after the bars in Ottawa closed. We were young, and we liked to party, and Hull was always a happening place. We were in our early twenties and life was a party.

Cynthia and I both worked in retail. She had a job at Holt Renfrew, and I worked at Joggers. For the record, I was not a runner, but I was thin, and could get away with looking the part I suppose. Cynthia was and still is a beautiful girl, and she fit right in with the Holt Renfrew image.

Anyhow, all that to say, we both had Monday’s off. So Sunday night was party night, and Hull was a popular place to end up when the feeling was right. 

So one Sunday night on a cold winter’s night we decided to head over to Hull to keep the party going. We were having a great time. Getting a lot of attention from the young men, and enjoying every minute of it. Well we also noticed that the bouncer was hanging around in a conspicuous kind of a way. “He’s hot for one of us for sure”…we thought. 

We also met a nice young man that night who was a private pilot for the Reitman family. His name was Doug, and he was a hoot. We had a great old time, and when the bar finally closed we all got our coats from the coat check and we hailed a cab to make our way home. Doug joined us.

The cab drove for about a block when suddenly we were pulled over by the police. There was not just one cruiser, there were several. We thought this was very funny. I mean, when does a cab ever get pulled over? Ha ha, we laughed and laughed until wait…..the police opens my door and asks me to step out. Again, still chuckling I step out of the cab. Thinking that they probably are impounding the taxi and are going to arrange for us to take another cab home. I mean, what else could it be?

But I was wrong. Dead wrong. I was the person of interest in this police “sting”….I was the reason for the pull over. And yes, I was the reason the bouncer was keeping a close eye on us all night. And by the way, it does not appear that he was hot for us after all.

Why would they have any interest in me? I mean those of you who know me realize that I am a pretty straight arrow. 

Well remember the laundry mat that I mentioned earlier? When I would take a load of clothes to that laundry mat, I would save myself the effort of lugging a big box, and I would pour the detergent into a zip lock bag. Sure enough, the bright red jacket I was wearing had one of those baggies with left over laundry detergent in my pocket. 

It turns out that the bouncer was also a narc. He must have discovered the illicit Tide when I checked my coat, resulting in the sting operation.

Trying my best to explain to the French speaking police I said “Officer, c’est detergent”…with my best french accent. Although in retrospect perhaps I should have said “Officer, I’m clean!” The officer did not seem to believe me, instead he stuck his face into the baggy and took a giant sniff. I am sure he regretted that, as it did not have the desired effect. In fact, by the look on his face, I’d say it didn’t feel very good at all to get Tide up his nose.

In the end, I was set free, and the cab ride home proceeded with a lot of laughter. We remained friends with Doug for years to come, but eventually he became a friend of the past. I am pretty sure when he realized his pursuit of Cynthia was not going to come to fruition he faded away. 

The question remains though, would you swap your Tide?

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