The “F” in FBI

by Laura Bedingfield Herakovich on July 17, 2012

Last week, our doorbell rang and I found a large badge pushed up to my face which didn’t belong to your run-of-the-mill police officer. Oh no. The badge came attached to the arm of an agent in the FBI. The Eff Bee Eye, people.

I was in the process of loading up my 2 younger boys, so we could fetch the oldest boy from basketball camp. As I had no back-up for carpooling, I had to explain to the very large FBI agent who was sporting a very visible gun that, no, I actually wasn’t available for a discussion at this moment.

To be fair, I knew this was coming. A dear friend of mine, whom we’ll call Ms. M., is in line for a pretty nifty job up in DC, and she needs federal security clearance. My friend listed me as one of her myriad contacts who could vouch that she doesn’t secretly run a puppy mill or moonlight as an exotic dancer. So I had it on my radar that I might be contacted by the FBI, but I did not expect the sneak attack. If I’d known, I’d have taken a shower and made the boys disassemble their blanket-and-sofa-cushion fort which currently took up 1/2 of the living room. And we would have taken down the lemonade stand that incorporated our mailbox as a distribution center. The feds get a little ticky about the mail, you know.

“When do you expect to return?” the agent asked. I stuttered a bit as I answered her. “Great. I’ll wait for you in the cul-de-sac.” Ok, then.

A bit later, my oldest son, Jack, climbed into the car and before he could put down his basketball, Tucker immediately announced “there’s a police officer at the house, waiting for Mama!” I realized right then that I needed to prep the boys, if for no other reason than to explain to them some critical behavioral expectations.

“Really? A police officer? What did you do, Mom?” Jack asked, perking up.

“Guys, she’s not a police officer. She’s actually an FBI Agent,” I replied.

“She has a badge! And a gun!” Tucker offered.

“FBI?” said Jack. “You must be in big trouble.”

I explained to them about Ms. M., whom they know and love dearly, and that I wasn’t in trouble. The conversation then proceeded as follows:

Jack: Can you lie to them?

me: No. I’ll be under oath. Why would I lie? You know we don’t lie.

Tucker: So you have to tell her about all the bad things you’ve done?

me: Huh? I haven’t done any bad things…

Tucker: Well, you like to drink wine. And you yell at us sometimes.

me: Seriously?

Jack: Ooh, I know another name for steroids: GYM CANDY!

Theo: I want some gym candy!!

Tucker: What’s gym candy?

me: Illegal drugs.

Tucker: Like Popster selling drugs?

[Popster is their grandfather who is a pharmacist.]

me: Yes. But Popster sells medicine legally.

Jack: So what’s the difference between a promise and an oath?

me: An oath is a promise you take under the law, so you can get in big trouble if you lie.

Tucker: So are you going to lie about Popster selling drugs?

me: Popster is a pharmacist, Tucker. It’s his job to sell medicine.

Theo: Give me some gym candy, Jack.

Jack: Is Ms. M. going to be a security guard?

Tucker: Maybe the FBI lady will buy some lemonade from me.

me: You will not try to sell the FBI agent any lemonade.

Tucker: How about a bird call? Or some gerbil art? I bet she’d like to buy some gerbil art.

Jack: So why is gym candy illegal?

At this point, we were closing in on our house, and I could see the FBI lady waiting for me, perched like a clove on a baked ham in her nondescript vehicle next to our driveway. I also had the giggles in a bad way, what with all that gerbil art and gym candy talk. What was intended as a simple confirmation interview was on the way to making me look like I had something to hide.

I’d barely closed the door behind me when the agent was ringing our front door bell again. Theo ran to answer it while I shooed our dogs outside. She walked in and all 3 boys stared up at her like she had 3 heads. Please don’t say anything, please don’t say anything, I mentally begged my sons.

Spylady and I went in to the living room, stepping around critical parts of the blanket fort, where she proceeded to ask me question after question about Ms. M., which I bungled again and again. If I’d been the agent, I would have ditched the inquisition on Ms. M. and cut to the chase. It looked like I had multiple things I was hiding, including possible bodies in the basement.

I forgot the word “acronym”. I had no idea where my friend had gone to college. I could not remember when she moved. I blanked on our other neighbor’s last name. I stuttered like Mel Tillis. I cut my eyes from left to right repeatedly, though this was more to make sure a child wasn’t headed our way with his piggybank and a cup of lemonade than out of actual shadiness.

Whenever I stopped to think about how conspicuous I was looking, I started to giggle because thoughts like “gym candy” would drift through my brain. All in all, I’d say I looked like a class A idiot. I could have been starring in Fletch vs. Austin Powers.

Spylady, to her credit, did not break form even when Theo came in without his shirt on and when one of the other children began throwing stuffed animals over the stair railing. She kept saying, “take your time. Just take your time.” That’s what they say to all suspects, right? She had several folders with her and a few times she flipped through a folder after I’d given an answer and would say, “hmmm. Why don’t you try again?” in a voice barely masking her irritation.

In the end, I doubt I wound up helping my friend out one bit. The agent stuck around for a little over half an hour, likely just to avoid rush-hour traffic. I’m sure I was providing her with an interesting study on maniacs. I’ve never been a very good test taker; maybe I should have warned her about that right out of the gate. At least Tucker didn’t try to make a profit off her. I doubt FBI Agents are down with day-old lemonade or gerbils (even if they are of the non-biting variety). That “F” doesn’t stand for “funny,” you know.

The Feds haven’t shown back up at Laura Bedingfield Herakovich’s house yet. Thank goodness.

 

{ 18 comments }

When I Blink July 17, 2012 at 7:43 am

I love that the first FBI agent your boys ever saw was a woman.

Also: “Give me some gym candy, Jack.” Haaaaa.

Laura H. July 17, 2012 at 7:56 am

Sounds like someone has encountered non-female FBI agents in her life…hmmmm. But I have to agree, even if it made me look even less productive to my boys.

And I have to thank Tim Green and his baseball novels for introducing my 8 year old to the term “gym candy.” Clearly, Jack understands shock value.

Thanks for reading!

Susanne July 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

Well, I did almost spit my morning coffee out when I read that drinking wine is a state offense. My guess would be that most moms ITP would be hauled off for that one. Couldn’t even imagine about the OTP moms.

Laura H. July 17, 2012 at 9:39 am

Hey, we’re BARELY OTP. :)
Thanks for reading, Susie!

Janna Akins July 17, 2012 at 8:36 am

This is hilarious, as always. Love the dialogue in the car!

Laura H. July 17, 2012 at 9:39 am

It’s great cocktail party conversation, as Professor Cole would say, right, J? Thanks so much for reading!

Brandi Levy July 17, 2012 at 9:05 am

Hysterical! Laura, I love your posts (and your adorable family)! Miss you guys!

Laura H. July 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

We miss y’all (and Bune, of course), too…hope you’re doing well!
xoxo!

Beckie July 17, 2012 at 9:10 am

What a riot – I’ve had a few visits from the FBI and they went about as well, sans gerbil art or gym candy. And gym candy! I had never heard that term before – I learned something new today!

Bryony July 17, 2012 at 9:20 am

Hilarious! I’m wondering what your neighbors thought of the mysterious car sitting in your driveway all afternoon.

Laura H. July 17, 2012 at 9:42 am

Agent topped it all off by putting business cards in our neighbors’ doors (NOT in their mailboxes–jammed in their doors). I had a neighbor call all freaked out because she had an FBI detective’s card in her door and when she googled the agent’s name, it didn’t come up. Had to calm her down a bit. :) Too funny, no? Nuevo Laredo one day soon, ok?

Nish July 17, 2012 at 9:22 am

OMG – Tucker is just hilarious!
“Tucker: Well, you like to drink wine. And you yell at us sometimes”

Tracy July 17, 2012 at 9:24 am

that was beyond hilarious! i would have been hauled away on the wine offense long ago. as an example, my youngest now has put in print (two times i might add) that my favorite drink is pinot grigio (you know, on the mothers day cards from school…that’s special).

hair: brown (thank you very much, i pay good money for it to not be brown)
eyes: brown (score, got one right)
favorite food: steak (well done son)
likes to watch: the news (why thank you again)
height: 16 feet (um, ok)
weight: 33 pounds (God love his soul)
favorite drink: pinot grigio (well crap)

love, love, love the dialogue in the car. i swear i wish i had some of ours recorded. you know this will get passed around their school. i’m always amazed at what happens at our home and how it gets translated at school/church.

one unforgettable one went as follows…

i walk down the church hallway to get my youngest. speak to the teacher in a small talk way all the time noticing it seems as if she’s trying to hide a smile if not a full belly laugh. so i finally ask…and her reply was a question…

“so, tracy, did you and your husband have a good time last night?”

me: (TOTALLY) confused, “um, yes, i guess, why?”

teacher: oh your son told us all about it, he told the entire class.

me: (starting to sweat a bit) “told you what?”

teacher: how he tried to sneak out of bed and watch the movie you and daddy were watching. he said you caught him and said he had to go to bed right away, that he couldn’t see the movie bc you and daddy were watching (are you ready for this?) AN ADULT MOVIE!!!!!

me: shut the front door, what?????? so beyond confused. then it hits me, it was harry potter (not harry does potter).

she proceeded to just keep laughing and told me how she had already told the office girls AND the preacher.

on a side note, he does usually slip out and pretend to secretly watch a show i’m watching. i know he’s up there. it’s usually biggest loser or something equally as lame. i just didn’t want him to see harry potter bc it’s scary (again, it’s harry potter, not harry does potter). just wanted that on the record.

keep us updated on what the kids tell their friends (or teachers).

see if popster can get us some drugs:)

love your posts, keep them up!

t

Megan July 17, 2012 at 9:25 am

So funny. I also stumbled through an FBI visit about a year ago. The agent was asking about a former neighbor and I totally blanked and couldn’t remember anything about the neighbor. Of course, after the agent left, I started to remember things. Mommy brain.

Julie Silber July 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Interesting study on maniacs…should be required ed for all FBI personnel . Loved that read.

Tracy Winslow July 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm

It’s really pretty amazing how we give birth to our most embarrassing friends. I laughed like an idiot through this entire post! Especially when your son was so helpful to point out your illegal activity like yelling. And that you’re a lush. ;) Love this post!

Laura H. July 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm

THANKS SO MUCH, Tracy!! yep, pure bred total lush. it’s an Episcopalian thing, I’m guessing. yelling? well, no good excuse for that i suppose. [hanging head as she searches for corkscrew...]
LOVING Momaical!! Thanks for joining us!!!

BrookeB July 18, 2012 at 7:25 am

I got the ol’ FBI visit as well not too long ago. Only I had NO idea it was coming. And I let that guy in my house just like every girl in a horror film. The voices in my head were screaming, “His badge could be fake! Killers can be THIS attractive.” Anyway, he says he was background checking a former neighbor, but I think he bugged my house because of all the bad things I write about the FDA and food dye. :)

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