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"And have a nice day."
A latex-gloved, uniformed, armed and very determined-looking person of the female persuasion motioned me into a parking spot, told me to step away from the vehicle, asked if it was booby trapped and then told all of us, Zippy included, to go inside. Im pretty certain Zippy would have put up a fight if hed have know his dog food was at risk but we all entered the building, tail between our legs, and went up to the latex-gloved, uniformed, armed and somewhat goofy-looking Agriculture Inspection Officer.
"Citrus?" he asked.
"Nope, dog food," I responded.
"Is it in its original bag?"
"Nope. Its in a plastic tub with a Lab-proof lid."
"Nice looking dog. I used to have a lab. You hunt him?"
"You bet. Nothing Zippy likes better than the smell of gunpowder in the morning and the taste of bleeding duck in his mouth, eh boy?" Zippy, who has never tasted anything bloodier than a rare piece of steak, agreed enthusiastically with this lie.
"Fraid not. Hes Canadian."
"I mean the dog food. Is the dog food American?"
Think... think.... "Dont know. The brands Nutro."
"Thats American. You got much of it?"
"Yeah, a whole bag practically."
"Boy, thats a nice-lookin dog. Okay, you can keep the dog food but from now on, if you cross the border, keep it in its bag."
"You bet. And if you ever get up to the Cariboo, look us up; weve got some real good upland pheasant huntin round those parts."
I thought we were off the hook and on our way when yet a third latex-gloved, uniformed, armed and rather stern-looking officer walked up to the desk with two very ripe avocados in his hand. "You lose the avocados," he said matter of factly.
"I didnt even know we had the avocados," I replied. "Looks like theyre past due to be made into guacamole anyway."
"I usually make a cold avocado-cilantro soup out of em when they get to this stage," he said, chattily. "Ive never been able to make really good guacamole."
Before I knew it, in what can only be thought of as a very, very strange conversation with an armed man, the two of us were exchanging recipes and agreeing the cold soup sounded like either a good starter on a hot day or a great vomit prop if we ever decided to remake The Exorcist . I was beginning to wonder how weird it would be to be Arabic and in this situation.