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Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Red Scarf and 50 Parking Tickets

“Have you ever noticed a red scarf like that one before?” Michael asked a cousin he had not seen for a while.  A strange slightly unkempt guest wearing a red poke-a-dotted scarf across the room had caught his attention.  His cousin did not share his interest but Michael was intrigued in the midst of his mild state of inebriation.

“Who is it anyway?” he asked his acquaintance.  “I can’t remember where I saw that scarf before.”  The oddity was even more strikingly bizarre from the mystery guest’s appearance.   He was wearing the red scarf with a complete three-piece suite.  It contrasted starkly from the tuxedos and more conservative attires worn by the other men at the wedding reception.

The guest got up from his chair and walked across the room toward the wedding cake.  The reception had been going on for a couple of hours now and the ceremonial cutting of the cake had occurred earlier with much splendor.   Walking in the direction of the cake, he stopped at the champagne flowing fountain.  As if it were a shot of whiskey from the days of the old west, he poured himself a glass and he drank it in one gulp. 
The red scarf was worn around his neck resembling the flowing hair of the bride.

“This way no one will recognize me,” he thought to himself.  “Cheap champagne for a wedding,” he commented to a female guest near the champagne fountain.

“I know now,” Michael said to his acquaintance.  “Doesn’t that look familiar to you?”
His companion mentioned back in his own state of slight intoxication that it didn’t look familiar and thought to himself how Michael’s fascination with the red scarf was beginning to annoy him.
“It couldn’t be,” Michael continued, “but doesn’t that look like the scarf that the guy who robbed the credit union last month wore?”  The reason he remembered such an obscure fact was that the robber on the news was shown wearing a white dress shirt with a strange poke-a-dotted scarf and a nylon covering his face.  Although the appearance of the mystery guest was different than that the shadowy figured portrayed on the news last month the scarf seemed to be identical.
The sinister figure slowly roamed about the room to associate with others at the ceremony.  In a wedding party of 450 plus nobody could possibly remember all their distant friends and family.  That’s why he enjoyed these celebrations.  The food was always good, the alcohol flowed freely, and the upscale grouping at events such as these mirrored his appreciation of the good life which he could not afford on his own.
“So what are we supposed to do anyway?”  Mike’s companion asked.  “Should we call the police because a guy at a wedding reception is wearing a red scarf that looks familiar?”
“You’re right,” Mike confessed.  “That wouldn’t be a good idea.  But, I wish there could be some way that I could know for sure.”
Mike consumed in fascination decided to investigate further.  He approached the mystery guest and asked as if he were an old friend, “How long has it been?  It must have been more than five years now.”
The mystery guest wasn’t at all surprised by an onlooker questioning his attendance at a family affair.  He did this sort of thing all the time.  He responded the way he always did in such occasions.  He politely shook the other party’s hand and found a quick excuse to extricate himself from the conversation.
The anonymous guest was getting a little drunk on the free-flowing champagne.  He decided it was time for him to leave the social occasion without giving so as much as a thank you for the free food and drink.

While the guests were exiting an hour later Michael noticed a police car in the parking lot.  Apparently the man with the red scarf had dozens of overdue parking tickets.  More amazing than that the parking enforcement officer noticed the red scarf and quickly called for backup. 

As Michael drove away he thought how a red scarf, a wedding reception, and 50 parking tickets were an interesting avenue into spending twenty years in prison.

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