Your passport to the past

I opened the folder titled “The crockpot is all to shit.” There was an oh-so-faint flicker of recognition. The phrase meant something. I could hear my friends, Brad and Gary, saying it with mock frustration. The folder’s contents didn’t help me remember the genesis, but it did contain a few off-the-wall short stories I must have written 12 or 13 years ago. My youth shows in the over-exuberant writing. Still, I enjoyed the unfinished tale of a church pastor named Earl Xerox. The story never goes anywhere, but there’s a particularly cute chapter in which the 97 year old church secretary, Mrs. Feemish, throws lunch meat at the pastor and threatens to reveal his last name to the congregation.

Now, nearly three hours later, my sweat-soaked t-shirt is drying and I’m buried deep, deep in nostalgia.

It began around 9:45. I decided it was as good a time as any to find my passport (I’m thinking about running away and I might need it soon). I thought…thought…it was in a bag full of foreign money I brought back from Europe on the off-chance the dollar ever went belly-up and I needed to buy a soda. I thought…thought…that bag was in a footlocker with a bunch of other old stuff. After an hour of searching, I was surrounded by pictures of old girlfriends, old poetry anthologies, and about 700 pages of random writing I had done over the years, including the folder titled “the crockpot is all to shit.”

No passport. Of course, it must be in the attic.

That’s when I started sweating. It’s hot up there. In the last box…EUREKA! The bag full of European change.

No passport.

I found five old cameras, a letter from a girl I never met in Chicago, a letter announcing a friend’s death, and about 300 more pages of random writing.

Then came the junk searches. Box after box of random junk, hidden in random places. No more writing, and no fucking passport.

As I got ready to give up, I remembered a filing cabinet…my filing cabinet…in the garage. That’s when things got odd.

When was the last time I used Sheik brand condoms? And why do I still have two of them? And are they still usable?

In the middle of 400 more random pages of writing…mother fucker. My passport. If i’d gone through the effort to sort out all these documents beforehand with something like I’d have found it hours, or even days, ago.

Now, I’m hot, thinking about the past, ready to skip the country, and trying to hide from my angry wife (she gets annoyed when I stay up too late).

Maybe I should go get those condoms and see if they still work.

Or maybe I should come up with an ending to the Earl Xerox story.

Or maybe…just friggin’ maybe…I should go to sleep.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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