Close to noon, they pulled up to the customs booth at the border. Jane was thinking it was a toll booth, and so had started thinking about cookies when several guards rushed out of nowhere to surround their car. They were in full military apparel. Worse, they had guns. Pointed at them.
“Put your hands where we can see them!” One of the guards commanded.
“What the f***?” Spike said, raising her hands.
“What did we do?” Jane said at the same time, also raising her hands.
“Could you please put away your guns?” Spike said through her open window. “Men with guns make me nervous.”
“Women with guns make us nervous, too,” Jan added, quick to take back possible offense.
Jane gave Spike a look.
“Present your passports. Do it now!”
“I had them ready, but they fell onto my feet when I raised my hands,” Jane said. “I’m going to reach down — ”
“Keep your hands where we can see them!”
“But I can’t do that and present our passports. They’re mutually exclusive actions,” she explained.
Spike gave Jane a look.
The guard opened Jane’s door, reached in, the barrel of his gun just inches from her face, and retrieved their passports.
“Proceed to the guardhouse. Slowly.”
They drove the 20 meters to the guardhouse, guards with their guns drawn escorting them on all four sides.
“Exit the vehicle.”
“Can’t do that without my left hand disappearing from view,” Spike said.
“Exit the vehicle! Do it now!”
“What is this guy’s problem?” Spike turned to Jane, who had already opened her door. Apparently. Because she was on the pavement, lying on her back, feebly waving her limbs.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“Jordan’s dog does this all the time. Whenever it meets an alpha dog.”
“Really?” She stared at Jane for a few moments. Who looked more like Kafka’s beetle than a surrendering puppy. “The dog has no spine.”
One of the guards cocked his big gun, the sound of metal fitting into metal loud and decisive.
“The dog’s still alive.”
Spike slid out her door onto the ground, rolled to belly up, and began as well to wave her arms and legs. Feebly.
“’Course she does it when she meets beta dogs, too,” Jane said, still waving her arms. “Any dog, actually. The dog has no spine.”
“Stand up. Slowly.”
They both did so.
“Proceed into the building.” He gestured with his gun.
“When they make us fill out forms,” Jane said, “and they will make us fill out forms, where it says ‘occupation,’ don’t put independent activist, okay?”
“Philosopher’s going to be just as suspect.”
“Right. Okay, so we’re … ”
“Okay, and after they make us fill out forms?” Spike asked.
“Chocolate. Specifically, chocolate chip cookies.”
— Jass Richards
Jass Richards has a master’s degree in philosophy and for a (very) brief time was a stand-up comic (now she’s more of a sprawled-on-the-couch comic). Despite these attributes, she has received four Ontario Arts Council grants. In addition to her Rev and Dylan series (The Road Trip Dialogues, The Blasphemy Tour and License to Do That), which have reportedly made people snort root beer out their noses, she has written This Will Not Look Good on My Resume, a collection of short stories described as “a bit of quirky fun that slaps you upside the head,” and its sequel, Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun (“… terrifically funny and ingeniously acerbic…” Dr. Patricia Bloom, My Magic Dog). All of her books, including her second-most recent, TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God, and the just-published-by-Lacuna, A philosopher, a psychologist, and an extraterrestrial walk into a chocolate bar…, can be purchased (in print and various e-formats) at all the usual online places.