So apparently, vacuum cleaners require bags. Who knew?
Probably anyone who does more vacuuming than me, which is…well, most people.
Given my husband’s obsession with the Shop-vac, I don’t do a lot of vacuuming on my own. But recently, Pythagoras pointed out that (a) our Kirby vacuum cleaner has a bag, and (b) said bag was so full it resembled a misshapen piñata (though I was sad to discover it did not contain Tootsie rolls).
I went out to purchase new bags, only to learn that no one in our town of 85,000 has the same vacuum we do. Undeterred, I hopped online and found an eBay vendor who not only carried the bags, but lived right in our town.
What are the odds?
I fired off an email and received a response from a guy named Gary who said he didn’t have a storefront, but would be willing to meet me at the Moose Lodge.
Moose Lodge? I had never heard of it, but my friend Larie had. “Isn’t it that dark-looking building hidden behind the bushes down that narrow road past the Goodwill thrift store? It looks a little shady.”
Shady indeed. I showed up fifteen minutes before my scheduled meeting with Gary, pretty sure I was about to be kidnapped. I called Larie from my cell.
“I think it’s a setup,” I whispered.
“Cool. Can I have your peridot earrings if you die?”
I hung up and assessed my surroundings, looking for an escape route. Was that a mobster dressed in all black at the front of the building?
I squinted at him. OK, so he was about 75 and was moving with the aid of a walker, but still. That bulge under his shirt could be a pistol and not a colostomy bag.
I looked at the opposite end of the parking lot. Did that car just flash its headlights to signal the guy standing by the dumpster?
A man exited the building and aimed something at the car. I started to duck.
Then I realized it was a keyfob. The headlights flashed once more as the guy disarmed his alarm.
I looked back at the dumpster guy just in time to see him empty the trash.
By the time Gary showed up, I was on high alert. As his car glided to a halt beside mine, I fumbled for something I could use as a weapon. Carefully, I stepped out of the car and stood to face him.
“Are you Gary?”
He nodded, his gray beard brushing the collar of his golf shirt. “What’s the plastic fork for?”
He reached inside his coat and pulled out…vacuum cleaner bags.
What a letdown.
“That’ll be 20 bucks,” he said.
I pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to him. I reached for the vacuum bags, braced for him to grab my wrist and whip out a switchblade.
But he just gave them to me. I couldn’t believe it.
“This feels sort of like a drug deal,” I said, looking around the parking lot.
Gary stared at me. “Huh?”
“Nothing, I just – I’m a writer. Overactive imagination.”
“Right,” he said, taking a few steps back. “Well, I’m going to play Bingo now. If you need more vacuum bags, give me a call.”
I watched him retreat, wondering if “vacuum bags” was a code word for something. I looked down at the package in my hands.
What a bummer.