Family Vacations and Felonies

If you need to wear a wire for the feds on your next family vacation, keep Florida in mind. The official sunshine state offers white sandy beaches, water sports, immunity, and all-you-can-eat oranges for the kids.

In our case, it was the perfect place to host a complex drug deal with a cast of criminals while the federal government watched. All-American good times were ahead. It would have been a shame to leave a nine-year old at home (me). Other hoodlums brought their offspring on this adventure as well. Thanks to spending summers traveling with my dad, the drummer for Ringling Bros. and his showgirl wife, I was adept at making new friends quickly, and inventing games that could be played with children who didn’t speak English. On this vacation, with my mom and step-father, all the kids would know at least some English. I was psyched.

Once we arrived, the children were immediately banished from the premises for 18-hour stretches while shit went down. It was sold to us as a privilege we had earned by being such awesome kids. We bolted out the door with a sense of pride and purpose.

Technically it was due to the risk of open gunfire.  Inside:  large.  Outside:  Small.  Ish.

Keeping children outside is responsible parenting. I respect it.

We didn’t know what was happening inside, and we couldn’t have cared less. I’ll tip my hat to the south on this one. Only southern women can make you believe you’re on a family vacation when they’re cooperating with the feds.

We climbed orange trees and played freeze tag until we vomited or declared war on someone for cheating. Proper nutrition and personal hygiene were abandoned with the authority of pirates. We ate the oranges we picked, peed on the ground, and slept where we collapsed. It was awesome!  We lived every kid’s dream for two days: no rules except the ones we made up along the way.

Meanwhile, 100 yards away, an international crew of drug smugglers and dealers were negotiating with one another in pools of sweat and fear. I’m guessing hygiene was abandoned by this group as well. They probably could have used a candle or something.

We had no comprehension of how high the stakes were inside, or the preparations involved. I mean, someone has to get the cases of ammunition and unmarked bills, right? Nor did we have any idea members of our families would soon be in prison. Again.

In hindsight, even though we were on the same property, we were having totally contrasting experiences. Inside the building, there was chaos, jitters, and the hope of delivering the performance of a lifetime. Outside in the orange grove, there was deliverance from everyday life into a world of beauty and fantasy.

It was kind of like opening night for a Broadway musical.  Choreographed by felons.

Comments

  1. Miss Molly says:

    I am in awe of you and your writing!!!

  2. HIlarious. You should join us at Yeah Write on Tuesdays….have you ever done it? Its got competition but lots of frienship and writing stuff. A great community. http://Www.yeahwrite.me

    • Hey thanks! I don’t know anything about Yeah Write on Tuesdays, but if you’re a part of it I’m IN! I’ll e-mail you on FB and give my digits : ) Thanks again!

  3. I’m with Christie (outlawmama). You are a must-have at yeah write. Please join us.

  4. Yowza! That is some story, and you really told it well. I have a feeling you have many more to tell. Looking forward to reading them. Welcome to Yeah Write!

  5. I really want to know more! I loved the Easter Egg story, too. And I love your pragmatic point of view about what must have been a pretty wild and crazy childhood.

  6. Glad to see you linked up to Yeah Write-welcome!

  7. nataliedeyoung says:

    Wow, what a story! I love how you infuse a serious, tense situation with humor – something I am still trying to learn how to do.

    • Hey thanks a million! Humor’s your pal – very few things in life are worth taking seriously. Besides, I’d rather have laugh lines than frown lines. Botox can’t fix those : )

  8. What a great story! The way you told it, so playful, yet direly serious. I cannot wait to read more of your stuff!

  9. Great story! Welcome to Yeah Write. I just started it a few weeks back. Its been fun and a definite learning experience re writing.

  10. Cindy - The Reedster Speaks says:

    So glad Christie sent you our way at yeah write! Amazing story.

  11. Hilarious post! My husband and I are currently watching The Soparanos on DVD, and this all sounds very familiar. Welcome to yeah write!

  12. What an amazing story. I am still trying to get my head around it. Glad you hooked up with Yeah Write.

  13. You totally sucked me in! I want to know what happens next…

  14. No freakin way! What a great story! More please … And welcome to Yeah Write. You fit right in! 😉

  15. Very cool read and so well written. Welcome to the fray. We’re a motley crew, but we don’t bite… much. 🙂

  16. This is a nuts and I love it. Great voice!

  17. This is a great story. I want to know more!

  18. Hated every bit of this situation, but loved the way you told it, every single line! Such a strong voice and interesting perspective.

  19. That is so crazy and unbelievable, it must be true! I think there’s a novel’s worth of a story there and I’d love to read it!

  20. That was interesting, but you must tell a bit more of it.

  21. Following you now. Loved it.

  22. Your little ditty was amazing. Great read.

  23. That’s one hell of an opening line there. It pulled me right in. Awesome to read.

    • Thanks! I just read “big hair no pants.” I commented there, but just in case you don’t get it (saw the spam party you’re having), know this: In cred ible post. A harrowing scene beautifully written. I loved so much of it (and relate to much with my dad’s passing), but one of my favorite bits is “don’t judge us you mainland piece of shit. Because of all the things we need to get over, my father not wearing pants in his own goddam house just doesn’t happen to be one of them.” Fucking amen. I also loved the last line. Awesome, awesome read. Thanks for telling the story. Couldn’t hit follow fast enough.

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