Bring Cash, Tell No One, Be Cool

MUST-HAVE BIRTHDAY GIFTS -- Bring cash, Tell no one, Be cool.  # funny #birthday #gifts #shoes #humor #kids

So then…he whispers into the phone, “I’ll bring the package to you, but you must bring cash.”

“OK, OK,” I say. “But dude, why are you whispering?

Pause. “I don’t want my boss to hear me.”

“Oh, right, right,” I agree. Definitely don’t tell your boss.”

At this, my 10-year-old daughter Chloe lifts her head and looks at me quizzically. I wave her off and go back to my clandestine meeting arrangements.

“So I’ll meet you tomorrow at 2:00,” he whispers.

“OK, great,” I say. “My address is-”

“MOM!!” Chloe shouts.

“Hang on,” I say into the phone, and put him on hold. I turn to Chloe and ask, “What, what?”

She jumps up and comes over. “Mom, you can’t give that guy your HOME address! That’s not safe! You said never give out our home address! You don’t even know this guy! He could be a murderer!

Hmm. She’s right, of course. I have told her and her brother Tucker never to give out our home address to strangers.

So I say, “Yes, you’re right. But he’s driving all the way down here so I need to meet him somewhere. How about Barnes & Noble — will that make you feel better?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” she says reluctantly.

So I hop on the phone and “arrange the meet.”

Chloe grills me about this top secret meeting. So I confide in her:

“Look, I’ve searched high and low for a pair of purple and black checkered Vans sneakers your brother desperately wants for his birthday. But they discontinued that style and I can’t get them in the stores or online. But I found a Vans outlet that has ONE PAIR left in his size, but they aren’t allowed to ship from there – you have to GO to the outlet – and it’s 2 hours away!”

“Can’t he just pick a different style?” she asks.

“Have you met your brother?” I ask.

“Oh, yeah, right,” she replies.

“And with work being so busy this week, I just don’t have time to make a 4-hour roundtrip to drive to the outlet to get the shoes. But this super nice guy named Dylan who works there offered to buy the shoes himself, then drive them here, and then go hang out in LA for the night to go see some friends. He said if I reimbursed him for the shoes and gas money, he’d make the trip so I could have the shoes in time for Tucker’s birthday! Isn’t that great?”

“But what if he’s a murderer!?

(Honestly, what is with this kid? Is she watching Law & Order behind my back?)

“Chloe, what are the chances that the guy who just happens to answer the phone at the Vans outlet is a murderer waiting for someone to call with a desperate need for a birthday gift for a style of shoe that they have only one pair left in that size?”

“How do you know they only have one pair left? How do you know they can’t ship from there?” she asks.

“Well…Dylan told me.”

She shoots me a look like: “Exactly.”

Omigod, I’m raising a master criminal. I hadn’t even thought of that.

I reassure her that I’ll be safe at the “public meet.”

But the next day, when I slink over to Barnes and Noble at the appointed time by myself, Chloe’s trepidation has clearly influenced me. I hover nervously near the cash registers, on the look-out for Dylan (if that’s his real name).

I walk over to the little Starbucks café in the corner of the store and pull up a chair. My cell phone rings.

“Are you alone?” asks Dylan.

Omigod, that’s an ominous question!

I stammer, “Um, no, NO, I’m NOT alone. My uhh husband is here with me.”

“Oh,” he says. “I thought it was you sitting alone at a Starbucks table ‘cause you said you’d be in a blue sweater, but I guess that’s someone else. Where are you?”

Ohhhhh. He meant “are you SITTING alone” so I can identify you – NOT “ARE YOU ALONE” so that I can kidnap you, skin you, and make a human suit from your flesh.

“Oh, um, yeah, that IS me, sitting at Starbucks,” I babble. “My um husband is uhh elsewhere. In the store! Definitely in the store. Um looking at books. Sports books.”

Omigod, I’m giving too much detail. He’s gonna know I’m lying!

“I’m coming down the escalator,” he says. “My friend is up here looking at stuff. I’ll be right down.”

I look up to see Dylan (still not sure if it’s the real name) on the escalator – black jacket, late 20s, tall, longish brown hair. (Giving you the description in case I disappear so you can alert the authorities.)

As he approaches holding the shoe box, I wonder about his friend who was staying upstairs to “look at stuff.” Who is this friend? He didn’t say anything about bringing a friend. And why isn’t the friend coming down to meet me? Is he deliberately ensuring I can’t identity his face when the two of them secretly follow me from Barnes and Noble back to my house to kill and cook me?

Or…did Dylan just make up a pretend friend in the store, just like I pretended my husband was here too? Is it possible that Dylan is afraid of ME? Were his friends saying, “What? You’re gonna drive 2 hours to meet some crazy lady who’s promised you cash? What if she’s a psycho? What if we never see you again? What would we tell the police? All we know is Barnes & Noble, blue sweater, and Darcy (if that’s her real name).”

He sits down and slides the shoe box across the table. I slide the envelope of cash toward him.

We both inspect the contents of our respective packages. I’m suddenly feeling all Sopranos-y.

I’m wondering what passersby must think of this little transaction. (Totally looks like a drug buy. Suburban mama gettin’ her fix from her long-haired dealer.)

I want to stand up and loudly explain to everyone about the purple sneakers birthday gift.

But I decide it’s way cooler to look all mysterious.

I thank Dylan profusely for making the trip down with the beloved shoes. I tell him the cash covers the merchandise, gas money, and some extra for him to enjoy his night out in LA (presumably with the “friend”) – (who we’re still not sure is real or imaginary.)

I’m truly grateful he’s made the trip – I would’ve happily paid overnight shipping fees to get the shoes on time for the birthday – so gas money and a little bonus are a fair deal.

In fact, I’m so overcome with gratitude — and he seems like such a nice guy, I actually HUG him when we part.

I can just imagine the other Starbucks patrons thinking, “Ah, how sweet — that suburban junkie mama really loves her dealer.”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Anything odd you’ve done to ensure you got the birthday/Christmas gift you simply HAD to have for someone? Ever meet a stranger to exchange cash for goods or services? (Check the statute of limitations before you answer that.) Share any funny tales about shoes, gifts, or feeling like a super secret agent in the Comments!)

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36 replies on “Bring Cash, Tell No One, Be Cool

  1. OMG I love everything about this b/c I would be totally freaking out over nothing too! I also like the way your daughter thinks:-)
    I hope he loves those shoes and that it was totally worth it!
    Allie recently posted..My Husband’s First 5K!My Profile

    • yes – he LOVES the shoes! Well worth risking life and limb as a potential flesh-suit donor to get them! :o)

  2. very daring. obviously your daughter has some sort of spidey sense that you are missing. you could be dead right now.
    mike recently posted..Let them eat cake!My Profile

    • Yep, I guess I trained her well in the World of Paranoia! :o)

    • ha! thanks, fishducky, love the comparison to Hitch! :o)

  3. Lol I hope your son REALLY LOVED and appreciated those shoes for all the hustle you had to go through. It’s sad when the daughter becomes the voice of reason :) Have a great one Darcy! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted..The Turtle-esque ReaderMy Profile

    • Exactly! When my daughter has better sense than I do — uh-oh!

  4. Bwahahahahaha. This might be my favorite story EVAH!! I love that Chloe was on top of this making sure you were safe. She’s adorbs! SO glad that “Dylan” came through for you and wasn’t a murderer!! The hug at the end with the suburban mom and her dealer sent me into a giggle fit!! Bwahahahaha. GREAT post! –Lisa (if that’s my real name!)

    • Dear Lisa (if that’s your real name!) so glad you enjoyed it! and yes so glad Dylan turned out to be a cool dude and not a serial killer!

  5. William Kendall said:

    Very funny!

    When you mentioned Law and Order, this went through my head:

    “…the people are represented by the police who investigate the crimes, and the One Named Chloe, who prosecutes the offenders.”

  6. That’s brilliant. I’ve seen sinister people at the book store and have often – well, maybe not often – wondered what clandestine adventures awaited them in the coffee shop…and how I could invite myself along without scaring them away. Next time, I’ll just bring shoes! So obvious. Actually, maybe I’ll just giggle and spend the would-be shoe money on more books. There’s a plan!

    Note: I once heard a secret phone conversation like that with my mother and a zookeeper. She was ordering elephant dung for her garden and didn’t want him to get in trouble for it since he was doing it on the side. Still, she whispered all secret-like on her end and I happened to hear it…and never let her live it down. To this day, she just says “But it’s REALLY good for the garden!” I’ve tried telling her if she just eats more peanuts and…but she won’t listen. The old woman cracks me up.

    • your mom is AWESOME! ordering elephant dung directly from a zookeeper? brilliant!!!

  7. Julie said:

    Too Funny Darcy! I am surprised Chloe didn’t want to go along, you know, so she could sit at another table and “read the newspaper”. I so totally would have done something for this for my kids, but after all that either a)the shoes wouldn’t fit, b)they don’t look like they did in the ad, or c)both a & b. I happen to like long hair, as discussed previously, so in my mind he was also hot. Oh yeah, and haven’t you confessed somewhere Darcy isn’t your real name?? just saying. I am pretty sure I pay attention…

    • Zingchowa! Yes, you are VERY observant! Darcy is not my real name, so all the more ironic, right? :o) (If this is news to anyone, please read my FAQ page to see why I use a pseudonym! Am I a secret agent? witness protection? go read the FAQ to see!)

      As for your comment about Chloe going along to sit at another table reading a a newspaper — that’s hilarious! What a great visual! And she would LOVE to have done that! She’s a super sleuth. One time she thought she recognized some houses in a band’s Instagram photos, so she and 3 of her girlfriends scouted a neighborhood until they found all 6 houses by their Christmas decorations! She’d be an uber-detective one day!

      • Julie said:

        HA! I am glad you found it as funny as I did, I could just picture her peering ever so slightly over the top, or better yet cutting out eyeholes! Maybe with a pair of glasses with the fake nose/moustashe too? Do people even read newspapers anymore? Oh how I amuse me!

        PS the check is in the mail…

        • omg, now that you mention it, there WAS a mustachioed tween girl peering at me intently over a Teen Beat magazine…maybe that was Chloe!

    • You ARE a secret agent, Phil! A secret agent with a discerning palate! Love the restaurant reviews on your site! My daughter wants to try Schmackary’s next time we’re in NY because her favorite Broadway actors are always talking about how delicious their cookies are on Twitter and Instagram!

  8. Hilarious! I love this story. And as someone who’s sold more than a few things on Craigslist (which is not much different) I totally get the whole fear thing. I wonder if “Dylan” really did have a friend upstairs. Suburban moms CAN be rather scary! :)

    • haha! yes, we CAN be rather scary! don’t even THINK about gettin’ between us and our lattes! amIright? :o)

  9. Lol, hugging him is too funny! You’re a sweet woman, even if you are a little bit on the nutty side. In a good way though. And you’re a great mom to get boy child the shoes he wants.

    I’m always leery about these sorts of purchases or sales. It’s sad that we have to be so cautious of everybody and assume the worst instead of assuming people are good and kind initially. It’s great that your daughter has a good head on her shoulders. That will serve her well, I’m sure.
    donofalltrades recently posted..G$ has a little fetish…NMy Profile

    • thanks, Don, hopefully Chloe will keep me out of trouble!

  10. HAHA, I love this! What a brilliant way to tell the story.

    I once had to pick up a Christmas gift in the “ghetto” parts of town and I couldn’t believe I put myself at risk for a Christmas gift.

    Love the post, love the blog!

    • thanks, Ryan! :o) we’ll risk life and limb for a good gift!

  11. Paul said:

    That is too funny Darcy! It is so true that whenever we are doing something odd (like exchanging a box for cash) it always seems like we’re being bad. My wife and kids and I moved into a new home (some years ago) with 14’ cathedral ceilings in the living room. One snowy night, approaching our first Christmas in the new home, I set out to get a tree while the rest of the family was out. The tree lot down the road had some really large trees and my mind was intrigued. I measured the big trees and one was 16’ high. I figured I could trim a bit off the bottom. I made a deal with the owner to have 4 guys deliver the tree on a small flat-bed. For their time I paid them each cash in the dark lot and they loaded the tree on their trailer and followed me home. They were a scruffy crew and the truck and trailer were beat up – we wouldn’t win any awards for presentation. The new neighborhood was pretty swanky and everyone had neatly shoveled driveways and Christmas lights blinking. As newbies, we were under scrutiny to see if we measured up to expectations. My wife had already warned me to behave and act as if I were normal. To no avail. I could see blinds moving in windows as our operation was sized up. We tried to get the tree, which weighed about 500 pounds, through the front door, but the bottom branches were way too wide to fit. My “crew” threatened to leave the tree on the porch (or rather, covering the porch) so I had to think quickly. I explained that there was a set of wider sliding doors at the back of the house that lead directly into the living room. The five of us set out bravely between the houses, dragging a 500 pound tree through 2 feet of snow. The back yard lights of the adjacent homes came on as we turned the tree in the dark yard and attempted to get it through the sliding doors. I am sure they were concerned for their safety and I was surprised the cops didn’t show up. I was furiously thinking how I would explain this if we were confronted – no way would they believe the truth. We eventually stuffed the tree through the doors and into the living room but it was too long to fit. We had to maneuver the base part way down the stairs to the basement before we could finally close the sliding doors. My “crew” was mumbling because what they had though would be a 10 minute job turned into an hour. They left and I was inside busily cutting the base of the tree when my wife arrived home and discovered all her furniture moved back to the walls and a veritable forest occupying her living room. That’s another story. Ha! For the neighbors, it was just the beginning.

    • Ha — so funny just picturing you and the Dirty Dozen draggin’ that monster tree through your new neighborhood! I love this line because this probably happens on a daily basis at your house: “My wife had already warned me to behave and act as if I were normal.” !!!

  12. I’m with Chloe. And that’s sadly because in big cities, we’re not so used to unusual acts of kindness. It’s great though, if more people were like him, then less people would be suspicious!
    Gunmetal Geisha recently posted..Duct Tape for the EgoMy Profile

    • Yep, every human interaction carries risk — and sometimes it works out great!