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Wednesday, July 27, 2005 

a very short version of the events

Let me first hammer out some details
bear in mind there is not enough room on any blog to put all of these details.
1. I am called by my aunt who is in her mid 60s, she tells me that my cousin Erwin is dead gives me some details, and asks me to make the trip to identify and retrieve him.
2. I agree. Plane tickets are arranged as I specified in the first post they are presumably paid by the government agency that Erwin works for.
3. I am the only logical choice. I have a valid passport and all my shots are current. I have some skill finding my way in other cultures.
4. Erwin and I have a history of being playing heinous practical jokes on one another. For instance when he left 2 ½ years ago I slipped a water gun that looked like a real pistol into his carry on bag causing him much conflict going through security. This was retaliation for him slipping into my yard one night and putting a “I love Ricky Martin” bumper sticker on my car.
5. I fly out on Saturday morning at 3:15 and fly for 11 hours then sleep in a nasty airport then fly again Tuesday morning to the island. I arrive at the island before daylight.
6. I was told that Erwin’s only companionship was French speaking bird watchers and military, but another American, who introduced himself as Mike, Erwin’s friend working at the weather station, meets me as I get off of the deathtrap “plane”.
7. I have flown or traveled for 76 hours with no bath no real food. No water only nasty hot soft drinks. I was strip searched before I got onto the “plane” to the island. I have not experienced air conditioning since I got off the plane from the states. And I have lost my luggage except for my carry on bag. I stink.
8. Mike asks if I want to go to my room, as no one will be able to help me till the next day “Wednesday”. And I can sleep and wash up.
9. I go to my room, which I am told is Erwin’s old room. It has a sink, no toilet. Mike leaves me there and says he will check on me around noon. It is a little after 5 in the morning.
10. I sort of sleep.
11. All this time I try to keep in mind that Erwin is dead. That his mother is grieving. I am a good Nephew to Aunt Doris. And that I am still going to have to look at my dead cousin who jumped off of a radio tower, and identify him.
12. Mike wakes me up. And we eat lunch. Cheese sandwiches.
13. I meet with some French dude who can barely speak English. He tells how he regrets this unfortunate happening and all the usual stuff. Then tells me as soon as I identify Erwin they will arrange for us to go home.
14. I am led to a building that resembles a storehouse by the edge of a dock. There are several boats nearby. Inside is what is obviously a walk in freezer. The entire place stinks like fish.
15. They tell me Erwin is in there, and Mike says that Erwin is inside of a body bag and that he unwrapped him to make this as easy as possible on me.
16. I go in I see Erwin. He is white with white hair and frost all over him. I start to feel really emotional and tears well up in my eyes.
17. Erwin sits up and starts to laugh at me. He ain’t dead, he planned this entire thing. He even used his annual travel allotment for the plane tickets that got me here.
18. I literally fall down scared spitless. Then I start getting mad.
19. When I calm down enough to be spoken to. Erwin tells me that his mother and all of my family were in on the joke.

I then spend a day with him laughing at me before I can fly home.
Now that I am back I am starting to realize that this was a great joke.
But I am still ticked off at everyone letting me go through all of this pain in my butt.
I think this is one of those great jokes that people never really expect anyone to fall for.
But he hit on my soft spots, old women, and family.
Aunt Doris met me at the airport in Birmingham, laughing at me too.
But she at least apologized for all the grief and told me she appreciated that I actually was doing her a favor.
But I am still out a week of vacation time that I cannot get back.I am not sure that I can top this one either.