I saw it. It wasn’t visible from the street. It was down a bit before the massive playing field and wedged in a sunny spot between two trees. Whomever had put it there probably didn’t count on someone approaching it from the north side. Maybe they’d left it there at night?
I thought it a disposable nappy at first, wrapped in a supermarket bag. It made me angry as I stabbed at it with my hand, forced to bend over making my knickers slip off my bum, requiring a serious effort to hoik them back up. There was a rubbish bin only two metres away, why couldn’t they have put it in there? It was then I realised it wasn’t a nappy. Wrapped in thick white paper within the bag, it was hard with a sloshing sound when I shook it. Suddenly it occurred to me that it could be drugs stashed there to be picked up later on. I tore a bit of paper back to reveal a glass jar with a thick milky white substance. I daren’t take the lid off. Maybe it was a first step in preparing crushed up pharmaceuticals in some toxic liquid, ready for the next person to dry it out or whatever? Then take it further by providing drugs for all and sundry to become addicted to, maybe even my children or grandchild?!
I couldn’t let this become the case. Feeling paranoid, I stuffed it in my jacket and walked briskly, an obvious jar shape looking like a droopy but firm third breast. I became aware of what was around me; a confused looking backpacker with a map, and a runner with poised bag waiting for her chihuahua to crap. None appeared to have seen me, but I felt conspicuous with the blood rushing through my head with a whamp! whamp! whamp! in my ears.
I slunk along the tree line at the edge of the park. Panic made me throw myself under a bush when the chihuahua runner sprinted past me. I lay low for a while to catch my breath, especially since the impact of landing on the jar winded me a little. It then occurred to me that these substances could become explosives. They blow up houses and stuff don’t they? A new horror set in. I’d have to move very slowly and carefully until I reached home and got it to the police.
My god, I’m like a suicide bomber in the mean time. Everybody stay away!
My dog by now, must have thought I was completely bonkers. I stuck to the trees, getting dive-bombed by fantails. ‘Get out!’ I yelled at them. Didn’t they realise how serious this was? I got shit on three times in the process.
It dawned on me that I could have been spotted and the drug makers are following me, ready to take me down. It could be weeks before my rotting corpse was found in the bush. I removed the plastic bag carefully from the jar and began to hyperventilate in it, nearly choking on my own spit in the process.
I had to carefully plot my course home without being detected, but if I stuck to the outside of the playing field like I was doing, it would take me all day. If I had my phone, I’d have called the police. They’d come in with sirens howling and save the dog and I, recovering the stash then putting us in the witness protection program. All would’ve been hunky dory.
I decided to leg it, bomb or no bomb. The dog thought it was Christmas. He’s never seen me run. Granted, it was no more than a slow jog that nearly killed me. In hindsight, the bomb may have been quicker and painless.
At home I thought I’d better have a closer look before I took the lethal cocktail to authorities.
Please accept this as a personal apology to the person whom left their kefir grains sitting in a warm spot while they went to the Saturday morning markets.
© Words by Paula M Cunniffe, New Zealand.
This article may be republished with permission from the author.