I didn’t do it.
You can’t make me say anything else. I want a lawyer!
A solicitor? Oh, ok, get me one of those then. All my legal knowledge comes from American books and TV. Typical Americanism- is that a word?- to simplify things. They do it all the time, they like everything simple, obvious like sidewalk, G-d forbid we should say pavement, what does that mean? So they say sidewalk, where we walk at the side of the road- and pacifier, stroller- they don’t do subtitles. Everything is ostentatious and in your face and- excuse me?! I know that I am rambling! If I want to ramble I will ramble, I know my rights. I mean, I actually don’t but you can’t stop me rambling!
I am not avoiding the point, I simply don’t know what it is? Yes that was a question. See, I’m getting so confused I’m mixing up my grammar.
Fine, let me explain what happened. It was supposed to be an innocent trip. Talia, my long suffering friend, and I had grand plans to fly to our cousins for ShabbatUK, well I suppose for us it would be Shabbat Europe. We were sure our plans were fool proof. Given my….history, Talia planned it. What history? My life is kind of unusual. Strange things happen around me. I’m the sort of girl who ends up trapped inside a historic mansion for the night, who ends up in a Russian gangster wedding as MI5 agents try to take them down, whose speech at assembly was ruined by a rabid monkey and screaming scientists straggling behind in attempted pursuit. At least the scientist were cool, the human rights activists chasing them were a bit scary. This … incident is run of the mill for me. I mean, crazy events not being arrested. Hey, don’t look at me like that, check my record, I’m clean. Oh you already did? I suppose you’re the police, what else were you going to do? I know all your methods by the way. I watch a lot of detective shows.
I’m rambling again, where was I?
Oh yeah, grand plans. So as I was saying we were going to fly to Europe where our friends would be waiting for us at the airport and we would breeze off into the sunset and enjoy Shabbat as honoured guests. Talia came by the night before and packed my suitcases since we wanted to avoid any incidents like the last time I travelled…but that’s a tale for another time. Our taxi was booked for 5 hours before our flight (we live a half an hour drive from the airport) at my mother’s insistence. We managed to check in with no problems and made it through security relatively uneventfully (in retrospect, it probably wasn’t the cleverest idea to bring my sonic bomb alarm clock with, security guards don’t seem to have much of a sense of humour).
The trouble began when we were praying in the lounge. We took it in turns, one girl staring intently out of the window and swaying wildly is just about passable, as i sat down an older lady smiled kindly at me “Drugs aren’t worth it dearie.”
“What? I wasn’t, that wasn’t, I’m not high, well I am but on spirituality which isn’t a drug really-”
“Don’t drown your sorrows sweetheart, you should pray instead.” She winked knowingly.
“I was- oh whatever, thank you.”
“What’s the grumpy face for?” Talia asked me when she was done too.
“The weird lady over there thinks I’m on drugs.”
“So?! It’s insulting!”
“At least she doesn’t think you’re a nutter.”
“She probably does now,” I muttered, “she gave me her phone number if i ever feel down, who does she think she is?”
“A guidance counsellor with years of experience in helping troubled teens and those with mental disorders?”
“That is an oddly specific guess.”
“I’m reading it off her suitcase.”
“Who advertises on their suitcase!? She’s probably going bankrupt and is desperate for new clients.”
“Or maybe she wants to save the world, don’t be so negative, you should try optimism some time.”
“A pessimist is just an optimist with experience.”
“Ok, so do you think you’re a troubled teen or mentally disordered?” This fascinatingly riveting dialogue was cut short by the announcement that we could now board our flight. We had an hour and a half flight and Shabbat was six hours away, what could possibly go wrong?
Of course something did or I wouldn’t be sitting here in police custody trying exonerate myself.
But I digress. The best laid plans of mice and men do often go awry and apparently Talia is not exempted by her female status. A tropical storm, England’s closest attempt at a hurricane, of course we’d do it rubbishly or maybe it was being very British- polite and reserved. Either way between the bumbling British storm and the feuding French air traffic controllers, we ended up going all the way around Germany, over Denmark and making an emergency landing in Poland of all places.
We stumbled out of the tiny little airport in a daze. An hour to Shabbat, no Jewish community anywhere remotely near, what on earth were we going to do?? We checked into the nearest hotel- more like a motel and made our way gingerly up the rickety stairs. The place was a total cliché. Paint was peeling off the walls in faded colours that had possibly once been elegant but now seemed old and cheap, there was a heavy musky smell hanging in the air, wrapping itself upon the occupants like a heavy fur coat. The lights were dim and flickering, the stairs wooden with a miserable strip of cheap fabric tripping down. I was worried they were going to collapse under us. Unwilling to touch the door, we gently nudged it open with our boots and peeped inside. It was very literally a room. 4 walls, one bed, a cupboard, a table. The communal bathroom was down the hall.
How on earth were we going to spend Shabbat here?! To be continued……
I didn’t do it.