The secret is out and I am busted. Well it had to happen someday. It was only a matter of time.
It was those empty bottles I kept asking for, from friends and family. Empty alcohol bottles. They were for decoration purposes. You know? When you can get the top cut off, and add some jazz and make it into a candle stand? With a little more innovation they can also hang off branches and parapets! Well, I did use them for that too. I had to – time and again, to keep up appearances. People attended those parties and did the compulsory “Aaah and Oohh” when they saw the decoration, so I thought I am safe. I even sent off legitimate Instagram pictures for the world to see. Up until that fateful day, when RB caught on to it. And I was busted. It’s true that, only he knows the actual use of those bottles. But once two people know something, its no longer a secret.
It started quite unexpectedly. Our coast was hit by a sand storm, and as the sand swirled, then rose and fell, I took a long walk, alone on the beach. It was empty, as most people don’t like sand in their eyes. But I am an old pro. I have survived many such storms, and know how to walk without getting sand in them eyes. We had camels on the beach in my childhood days. I have learnt a lot from them. It comes in handy now and again.
I heard someone approach me. Since I had 2 dogs with me, I was not worried. But lets face it, strolling in a mild sand filled hurricane, using a specialized walking technique of avoiding sand in the eyes – how many people can do it? Not many, and I knew almost all who could. It was an old friend, one who could, even play football, in such conditions. Our local boys are not the mild variety. Football presides over everything, even earning a living, so what’s a sand storm?
Soon we were walking side by side and he came up with a business proposition. Now had he asked me any other time, I would have run home and become a goody goody girl and gone all judgmental about him and his gang. But I was wired up that day, (so the walk in a sand storm!) and feeling very rebellious. In these kinds of moods I should be locked up with only bread and water, because I make very impulsive and stubborn decisions. The idea was extremely dangerous, and it would make me an immediate rogue. I loved it. After he left I sat down, in the now falling rain, and imagined rough seas, illicit pirates and shady whispers. How perfect!
It had to be done in a very clandestine manner. Every 3rd Monday, (There was a researched logic to it. The beach has few late night revelers and the cops normally take a breather. And – the empty bottle collection would get quite topped up) I would sit on my deck. Around 1 am, far into the sea, I would see a light swaying rhythmically. Eight times right and left. If it was a red light, the show was a go. My contact had a great network of spies, so on rare occasions when the light was its original yellow, the mission would be aborted immediately and all traces of our meetings were instantly scrubbed away.
When I would see the red light, I would send back a signal. My room lights going on and off, 4 times. In the next five minutes, the husband and me would be on the beach with our trawler. It was customized to move smoothly in the sand. Within 10 minutes money and barrel loads of liquor were exchanged. 30 minutes later, the bottles were filled with amber colored aromatic alcohol, and given back to our contact.
45 minutes every 3rd Monday was filled with thrilling, surreptitious, unlawful activity.
And now my bootlegging days are over. All because of one smart aleck who thought he was FBI’s second in command. But hey! We cared for our clients. The bottles were used but sterilized. We always, always, refilled them with good quality alcohol. It never had boot polish!! We ourselves served them once in a while, in bigger gatherings. It hit faster and gave a wonderful euphoric feeling. And lastly and more importantly gave us good money along with the thrills.
All in all, it was good going, till our racket went kaput. Now I will actually have to use all those empty bottles for decoration.