. . . I was in New Orleans.
So begins the ballad of Matthew and Amber.
It was January 2005 and I had been married for three days. My husband and I had driven all night from Florida, arriving at the river front Hilton at three am. We slept like newborns after a week of the family and friends and chaos that surround a wedding. With one day until our honeymoon cruise, we woke up ready to dance through the city on our cloud of marital bliss. Before the next day dawned, we’d be lying to the law.
The day was a dream: we ate at Cafe Du Monde, kissed in the French Quarter, bought our first Christmas ornament along the Mississippi in a random little shop that celebrated the holiday all year round. Frivolous and drunk on love (we abstained from the devil’s nectar), we wandered the streets of New Orleans, stopping only to buy the occasional trinket or cigar.
Our day was to end at Harrah’s with a few dollars thrown away on luck and chance. But then, then, then my new spouse discovered the horrible truth. His driver’s license had gone astray.
Frantic, we retraced our steps. It wasn’t in the cigar shop, the last place he’d used it. It wasn’t in the car or the hotel room. Again and again we poured over them. For how could we take a honeymoon cruise when my new lord and master had no proof of who he was? (Remember this is before the security beef up).
In desperation we called the cruise line. What could we do if he had no identification?
Was it stolen? They wanted to know.
We didn’t know for sure. Which was true.
Well, if it was stolen, you can get a police report. Does he have another form of photo ID?
Just one it turns out. An expired Six Flags Over Texas Season Pass. With his picture.
If you can get a police report and have that ID, we can let him on.
Our next call was to the police. They would hear our case, but before we could make our report, we had to get an incident report from our hotel.
Our first lie was to the New Orleans Hilton Head of Security. And it went a little something like this . . .
On Bourbon Street we noticed a strange man behind us, but we didn’t pay him much attention. We bought a cigar and noticed him in the back of the shop. After that we didn’t see him again. When we went to enter Harrah’s the driver’s license and twelve dollars were missing.
(Notice this wallet wasn’t missing. We threw in the twelve dollars for authenticity. After all, what driver’s license pick pocket can pass up that tempting sum?)
The security guard sent us out into the New Orleans night, lie still thick on our tongues and scrawled on the green hotel incident report. On the six block walk, we did not discuss what we were about to do. Perhaps we feared voodoo would curse us.
Officer Davis didn’t even take us beyond the lobby of the precinct. He interviewed us at the desk after we waited a few minutes on the comfy coaches, flipping through magazines. We might have been opening a checking account to get a free toaster.
Lying to the police took less then 10 minutes. Officer Davis sent us back into the night with only the slightest smile as he told us that they probably weren’t going to find the guy. How could they? He was such a stellar criminal mastermind. I wouldn’t be surprised if they based a character on him for Treme.
The next morning my spouse and I lied once more to the cruise line check in lady. By then our story had developed a deeper meaning and even a motif or two. It was a little sad that the story was then retired.
And so the lying Andersons boarded a Carnival Cruise with a false police report and an expired Six Flags Season Pass.
The moral? Don’t clean out your wallet. You never know when you might need an expired theme park pass.