This Baggage Has Baggage
Mark and Mindy had just arrived home from the vacation of their lives. The only bummer was that their prized, one of a kind suitcase was lost. The airline, however, uncharacteristically kept their promise to locate and deliver it by the next morning. Unfortunately, the suitcase was in shambles. Misshapen from the traditional rectangle into a shape more closely resembling an octagon. Its hand-stitched handle was gone, leaving just the rip marks. And not least was that their beloved travel bag was covered in what looked to be bird excrement. Heartbroken, Mark and Mindy decided it was unredeemable, and left it on the curb, while conjecturing that no normal human would want to touch that hot mess, let alone take it home. Less than an hour later, the outcast case was gone.
At a luggage repair store, the craftsman owner had just finished restoring the piece to its original form. Pristinely spotless, rectangular in shape, hand-stitched handle standing tall. As he proudly placed it as the centerpiece of the front window, a woman stopped and admired it.
Sarah was mixing dry and wet food into a hand painted pet bowl while calling her dog to breakfast. When Kafka didn’t come, Sarah searched his favorite hiding places. Bedroom closet, under the bed, behind the toilet bowl and finally yanking the shower curtain open to surprise him. But the beagle was nowhere to be found. Until… she spotted a tail protruding from behind the living room couch. Sarah snuck up on the appendage, playfully grabbed it, then immediately dropped it as if it was the proverbial hot potato. Nervously peering over the back of the couch, what she saw prompted a blood-curdling scream. Kafka was board-stiff to the touch, a.k.a., deceased.
On the phone, weeping uncontrollably, Sarah was told by voice-message that Animal Control was closed for the Fourth of July weekend. Also enjoying time off were one veterinarian’s office after another. There was no chance that Sarah was ready to spend the next three days living with her beloved but decomposing dog. Panicked, she decided to find a place, any place, where she could deposit Kafka. And so, she pulled a suitcase from her closet. Yes, that suitcase.
Sarah rolled the luggage into the bus terminal and asked for a round-trip ticket to the Jersey Meadowlands where she planned to dump the canine-filled faux coffin into the same marshy weeds that were allegedly home to Mafia assassination victims. While Sarah’s attention was focused on purchasing a ticket, a hoodied individual raced by, grabbing the suitcase handle and frantically wheeling it out of sight. Momentarily stunned, she then accepted the situation with a shrug, returned the bus ticket and walked away.
The now-unhooded thief wheeled the suitcase through the front door of a low-end apartment in a dilapidated building of a rundown neighborhood. He excitedly told his wife and child that hopefully, untold riches awaited them inside the latched luggage. They looked on in anticipation as he snapped it open. A look of horror blanketed the couple’s faces, while the child was thrilled that his daddy got him a dog. The angry wife screamed at her husband to get that thing out of here, while the bawling child begged his parents to let him keep it.
In a wooded area just outside of town, our shovel-equipped lightweight larcenist decided to do the right thing and give poor Kafka a proper burial. When he finished digging the fresh grave, he went to heave Kafka in, only to lose his balance, fall into the hole, hit his head and die.
At the police station’s evidence lockup room, the sergeant in charge was signing for the suitcase that wouldbe deposited with countless other pieces of crime scene evidence. Marveling at its beauty, he brought it home, where his wife thought it was the perfect size to haul their lifelong antique collection. They were heading to an heirloom show where they intended to cash in on the collection and use the profits to build an addition onto their house.
Cop and spouse hit the road in their Ford, the antique-stuffed suitcase stowed in the open truck bed. Along the way they hit a jolting bump in the road, which bounced the luggage piece up, out of the truck and onto the street as they unwittingly drove on. After a short while, a wandering homeless woman discovered the suitcase.
The local pawn shop owner handed the suddenly happy down-and-out woman a stack of bills in exchange for the antique contents of the luggage. When he told her that the suitcase was of no use to him, she had started to zip it up when she noticed the corner of an airline ID tag sticking out of an inside pocket.
Mark and Mindy were at their dining room table enjoying dinner when the doorbell rang. Mark went to the front door and returned with, yes, the suitcase. The two were amazed, confused and speechless, but thrilled to have their favorite back and inexplicably in mint condition. As the couple toasted the return, their dog manically sniffed the inside of the luggage as if he had found the Holy Grail.
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