So many times I’ll read a news article and remark to myself, or whoever else is in earshot, “You can’t make this stuff up.” As a writer who spends a fair amount of time in the realm of imagination, I have to admit real life puts my fantasies to shame. By turns intriguing, horrifying, hilarious, the articles offer a glimpse into people’s lives at a moment of … well, let’s just call it “dubious judgement.” Though the articles top anything I might come up with, I can’t help but imagine what happened beyond the event.
There was the 72-year-old Missouri woman who led police on a high-speed (100 mph) chase for 14 miles, ending when she rammed the deputy’s car twice and their bumpers locked. Asked where she was headed, she replied, “To eternity.”
Another 72-year-old Missouri woman (makes me appreciate that devil-may-care age, if not the Show Me state) thwarted a carjacker by bopping him on the head with jars of laundry detergent and bleach, all of which incapacitated him until a bystander restrained his (slippery) body. “I did what I had to do,” she calmly said.
My epilogue: she and the hell-bent-for-eternity woman go on a cross-country road trip, resulting in a "Golden Girls" meets "Thelma and Louise" memoir.
Down Under has its share of curious characters. When a delivery truck carrying 24,000 bottles of beer plunged into the Tweed River north of Sydney, hundreds of people “volunteered” to salvage the cargo. One man claimed 400 bottles.
A news article from Wellington, New Zealand reported a rampage, dubbed “Santanarchy,” committed by 40 people dressed in “ill-fitting Santa costumes.” They peed on cars, shoplifted, sprayed graffiti on buildings—all in the name of protesting the commercialization of Christmas.
In the same city, a woman phoned police in tears that her “three carefully nurtured marijuana plants” had been stolen.
My epilogue: I move to Australia … for the beer, but mostly for the creative use of quotation marks in their news reports.
And then there were the two guys in Colorado who attempted to rob a convenience store with their faces covered in women’s thongs (one wore green the other blue, the reporter dutifully noted). The “thong bandits,” as they were called, apparently did not realize the underwear barely concealed their noses, mouths, and chins, making them readily recognizable.
Last but not least, I have to mention the burglar from Wichita, Kansas who broke into a house to wash his clothes, was confronted by the homeowner, and fled dressed only in blue boxer shorts, carrying her purse. Apparently he’s “still on the loose.”
My epilogue: I got nuthin’. I’m laughing too hard.