The Plan

It's bound to work.

Okay, here’s the deal. First we’ll go online, buy two round trip plane tickets to to Omaha for the earliest date available, and print out the reservation confirmation. Then, exactly one day before our flight, we’ll drive to Peoria, taking the confirmation printout with us, and purchase a copy of Boswell’s Life of Johnson at Barnes & Noble. At the bottom of page 256, we’ll write the words “codger litmus”, but backwards. Then we’ll fold our printout in half, insert it between pages 210 and 211 of the book, stick the book in a large ziplock freezer bag, fasten the bag to the bottom of the car with duct tape, and drive home.

While we’re doing our Peoria expedition, we’ll have Fred go to the drugstore on the corner of 5th and Main at 1:30 p.m. sharp and purchase a roll of Tums. He will then go to the restaurant one block east of there, sit in a booth as far from the entrance as possible, and order a club sandwich and a coke. As soon as a woman in a green dress enters the restaurant, he will inconspicuously drop the roll of Tums onto the floor and push it back underneath the seat with his foot. Then he’ll depart, leaving enough money on the table to cover the bill plus tip.

As soon as we get back home, we’ll drive the car into the garage, close the garage door, and retrieve the ziplock bag with the copy of Boswell in it from underneath the car. We’ll tear off page 256 that we wrote on in Peoria, but for now won’t touch the printout that we stuck between pages 210 and 211. I’ll leave the book with you and take the page we tore out of the Boswell to the restaurant where Fred left the roll of Tums. By this time it will be after the dinner hour, so the restaurant shouldn’t be too crowded. I’ll look under the booths until I find the roll of Tums. If anybody asks I’ll just say I’m looking for a twenty dollar bill that I lost earlier. As soon as I find the roll of Tums, I’ll put it in my left pants pocket, take out the page from Boswell, fold it twice, and stick it behind the salt and pepper shakers in one of the empty booths. Then I’ll come home.

In the meantime, you’ll print out our boarding passes for the flight to Omaha, them up into a cylinder and put a rubber band around them so they won’t unroll. Put them underneath the southeast corner of the oriental rug in the living room. Then turn on the TV and watch the news until I get home. If the phone rings, answer it on the third ring. If it’s Fred, say “the potatoes are in the bassinet”, then hang up. As soon as I get home, we’ll tune the TV to the Cartoon Network and go to bed, leaving the TV on all night at low volume.

In the morning we’ll drive to the airport and catch our flight to Omaha. I’ll pack the Tums; you remember to get the boarding passes from underneath the rug. You’d better unroll them and put them under a paperweight for an hour or so before we leave, to flatten them out. Bring the rubber band along so we can roll up the return passes when we get to Omaha.

I think that pretty much covers everything. The only thing I can think of that might go wrong is if the Barnes & Noble in Peoria is out of Boswell’s Life of Johnson. If that happens, we’re screwed. So what I’ll do is, I’ll call ahead and make sure they’ve got a copy and ask them to hold it. If they’re out, we’ll use something by Balzac instead.

Copyright © by John Remmers.