Note From Jon

Adieu.

Friday, December 14, 2007

“You’ve got the keys right?”

Except that I didn’t… and Flea wasn’t kidding. Dread crept into our eyes with each empty pocket we checked. We really shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, the Redskins had actually won the game… they’d finally held a fourth quarter lead… with their backup quarterback even. Something had to correct this cosmic imbalance, and apparently that something was going to be us. Oblivious to the revelation Flea and I just had, our friends JB and Swag called out cheerily that they’d found the car. Flea and I just stared at each other. Warm thoughts of the car heater I’d been craving since the second quarter faded away with the color from our faces. It was 30 degrees at 12:30am on a Thursday night, and the four of us were standing in the middle of the parking lot at FedEx field… without any car keys.

“I gave them to you when you turned the music on” I reminded Flea, but he already knew. I calmed down a bit. We’d probably left them in the car and not locked it when we finished tailgating. Right? Flea and I joined JB and Swag at the car… praying it was unlocked. You could literally see the sigh of relief in the air when the door opened. Flea jumped into the car to search, and immediately returned with… a girl’s hand purse? Holy shit, was this the wrong car!?! … No, it had Flea’s aftermarket stereo, Redskin stickers on the doors, and all our tailgating gear in the back. This was his car. “Britney”, whose license, credit cards and cash we now had must be a friend of Flea’s wife. The four of us scoured the car wondering how a set of keys magically transformed into a girls purse! But. there. were. no. keys! Seriously, what do you do in this situation?

We split up. Flea headed back to the stadium (we had done a lot of jumping up and down as the Redskins won). If the keys could be found at this point they’d be at the seats. JB took a moment to check with 411 for the mysterious Britney. They didn’t have a number… nor did they have a joke like the clever group a few cars down that JB checked with (no they didn’t know Britney ****, but they did know Britney Spears! Hilarious I tell you). Well unless Britney had our car keys, she wasn’t going to do us much good, so JB and Swag decided to retrace our path across the parking lot. Really, what are the chances you could even remember which cars you walked between across an entire parking lot, let alone spot a set of keys in the dark. And they were pretty trashed. But I let them stumble away and I crawled around looking under every car anywhere near our spot and the one where we’d tailgated. I turned up a knit hat and a lone glove… but no keys. I was too upset to remember that the spot where I was crawling around on my stomach… had been the pisser before the game (just remembered that now actually. Damn. I feel the need to stop writing and go shower).

As I lay in (hopefully) evaporated piss, I prayed things were going better for Flea. Turns out he was at the seats now… about to get arrested. Security didn’t take too kindly to his return as they cleared out the stadium. “You’ve got to leave now, or you will be arrested!” the guard shouted. Flea could hear the radio crackle out commands of sections where stragglers remained. “Section 410, get them out of there now!... Section 109… he’s got to go!” Flea pleaded just long enough to search all around the seats… and not find anything. Ok. So one more shot. Flea turned into the bathroom we’d stopped at on the way out. Except that when he turned in… a woman walked out. WTF? Yep, this was a women’s bathroom, not the men’s which had been right outside our section, which meant… Flea checked the wrong seats! Hope was still alive. This time he went back to the right section… where his newest security friend was unthrilled to see him again. “You want to spend the night in jail!” he yelled so loudly that I’m surprised I didn’t hear it out in the parking lot. Flea was on his knees practically in tears begging the guard to let him check the seats. “I was in the wrong section before, look, here is my ticket!” Finally, luck was on our side because the enforcer relented and even helped look for the keys, which turned out to be…

...nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, back at the car I’d exhausted all of my search options and decided to see what AAA could do for me. They’ve helped with keys locked in the car before… but I was already in the car, without the keys. A friendly woman named Leslie answered and I was happy to learn that their locksmiths can make ignition keys too… if the car doesn’t have advanced security features on the ignition… and if there are any locksmiths working in the area at say 12:30am on a Thursday night. Shocker, there weren’t. BUT, I was a AAA “Plus” member so we could get a free tow up to 100 miles away. Loudon county, where Flea lives, felt 100 miles away at that point, but I am pretty sure it isn’t. So that was a possibility for the car, but what about the four of us? Well, she could check on whether there was an extended cab tow truck in the area. I’ll leave it as an exercise to you to guess whether they had one. Yeah. Not so much. Metro is closed. Leslie offered to call us a taxi but we’d have to foot the bill for that, halfway around the Beltway to my car in Merrifield. She sounded as upset as I was that AAA couldn’t help.

The situation couldn’t be much worse. That is until I dropped my head on the steering wheel… and the car started going berserk. Lights blinking, horn blaring. Great, I’d set off the alarm and guess what I have no keys to shut it off! Then it stopped. Then it started again… and I knew we were saved. It wasn’t the alarm, it was the panic button and someone had the keys! Leslie and I were practically hugging each other through the phone as I explained what was happening.

I stared out through the windshield and my eyes picked out JB triumphantly holding the keys in the air. So what happened? Had Flea gotten them from customer service and met up with JB and Swag on the way back? Nope. JB had found them on his hike back to the stadium. And where exactly had he found them? In. A. Bush. Let that sink in for a moment. He found them in a bush. All the way across the parking lot from our car, next to the stadium. In a bush. At night. Of course when JB found them, Swag logically pointed out that was great and all but that they weren’t our keys. Why should they be our keys… they were across the entire parking lot… in a bush. They spent the entire walk back from the bush arguing about whether the H on the keychain stood for Honda or Hyundai. As they explained where they’d found them (did I mention it was in a bush?) I remembered a moment on the walk back when I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see Flea as he tried to jump into me. I know now his jump is when the keys tumbled out of his jacket pocket and into, well you know, A BUSH! What I will never know is how the hell JB found them there…

And this story has an epilogue (yeah I know, it’s long enough already). Flea joined us back at the car and we started all over explaining what happened from each person’s perspective… and expressed our disbelief at the discovery in the bush about as many times as I have here. As we all stood around the car laughing hysterically and gasping for air... a girl walked right between us all and opened up Flea’s car door! BRITNEY! I recognized her from her ID. She was as happy to have her purse back as we were to have the keys and joined in the revelry as she retold her story.

It was so cold. She was so drunk. She’d lost her friends around halftime and was supposed to meet back up with them at their car. Britney got to the car but no one was there yet. It was unlocked so she curled up in the back seat of her friend Adam’s car. Only of course it wasn’t Adam’s car. It was Flea’s car. And apparently she’d napped (or passed out) there happily for most of the second half. Turns out Adam was parked just a few cars down. And he too had a white car. But it was a car, and Flea drives a Hyundai SUV! How drunk do you have to be to not know the difference?!? Well Britney had been that drunk...

Britney eventually walked back off to her group of friends with her recovered purse and as we drove home we realized two things:

  • If we hadn’t lost the keys, we’d have been long gone with Britney’s purse
  • The group of friends who Britney walked back too… were the same clever ones who didn’t know her, but knew Britney Spears.

10 comments:

Alexandra said...

What, you even gave that group Britney's freakin' last name and they didn't know her? Are you really sure she was with them?

Amazing story, glad you found the keys!

Anonymous said...

So you guys didn't lock Flea's car when you went into the stadium? I was in splits reading the long passage. Couldn't Jack Bauer have helped? He could have called Chloe and she could have hacked into some "Start a car without keys" system and have you up and running in no time.

Jb's wife said...

Unbelievable!!!!!

Candice said...

ok, your "lost keys" story is better than mine. but i can relate to the feeling of panic at not having such a valueable thing as keys. :)

techkitty said...

Why is it that the sober one of the bunch [Jon] ends up crawling around in piss?

Flea said...

Okay, not only did we leave our car unlocked, with an ipod, cd's, and who knows what else just lying around in the car free for the taking for the entire game, but somebody actually took a nap in the car and we STILL didn't lose any of our stuff.

The next few days, driving that car to and from work, and sometimes to lunch with co-workers, it still smelled like beer. Until I finally found the open, still-full can of beer in the back-seat door where Swag was sitting.

Crazy night!

AB said...

Holy shit, that is hilarious! I can't believe Washington actually won a game! Oh, yeah. The part about the keys and Britney and stuff was pretty funny too.

Swag's wife said...

I'm not sure why anyone leaves Flea responsible for keys esp. when you're far from home. I'm having a flashback of waiting hours for the locksmith to unlock his car back in Dewey Beach, summer of 2003 (?) when the keys also mysteriously vanished...

Flea we still love you though.

Emily said...

This should be made into a short film.

Mitchel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.