January 19th, 1989

January 19th, 1989
Orlando, Florida
Miriam & Hank’s condo

Didn’t expect to be sleeping here tonight!

I woke up, even before Pamsy, this morning, feeling full of beans. By the time Pamsy got up, I was sitting on the floor, with my suitcase open, and my stuff scattered all across the floor. On her way to spend a penny, she asked, “what’re you doing?”
“Looking for my extra purse. I need to change some more sterling.”
From the loo, she called out, “Did you put it somewhere else?”
“No, it’s been in here since I arrived. You know what a stickler I am, about stuff being in its place.”
Pamsy came out of the loo, and plopped herself down, on the floor, beside me, “that’s odd,” she said. “Is anything else missing?”

Ten minutes later, we were in reception, explaining to Luis, at the front desk what happened. Luis said he would “alert the authorities,” and said we should wait in the lobby.

I was sitting across from Pamsy, with my back to the door, and I watched her eyes dart towards it.
“Cor,” she said, “get a load of that. I hope they’re here to see us.”
“What?” I asked, twisting to see what had caught her fancy.
Two, very tall, well built men, in police uniforms, were talking to Luis, so I could only see the backs of them.
I turned, to face Pamsy. “Is the front view as good as the back?”
“Better,” she said with a huge smirk. “Look busy,” she said, picking up a magazine. I did the same, and we pretended not to notice the men walking towards us.
“Excuse me,” said the taller one, “I’m Officer Rodriguez, and this is Officer Sammartino.”
Pamsy and I stood at the same time, and said, “hello,” in unison. Between the two of them, there was a lot to take in, but the thing that struck me were the guns they carried.
We introduced ourselves, and Rodriguez asked, “What’s going on?”
“We’ve been robbed,” Pamsy said, looking at Sammartino.
“Where?” Sammartino asked, in two syllables.
“Our room,” I said. “Several things are missing from my suitcase.”

Officer Rodriguez suggested they accompany us to our room, and on the way there, Sammartino asked, “where y’all from?”
Pamsy filled him in, and asked where he was from. “I hail from Kentucky.”
“Oh, the Bluegrass state,” Pamsy said, surprising me.
“That’s the one. Have you been?”
“No, but I watch the Kentucky Derby on the telly, with my Dad, every year.”

In our room, Rodriguez said, “I have a few questions I need to ask you first, before I take a statement.” He pulled a form out of his folder, and clipped it onto the front. After some basic questions about my name, address, and date of birth, he asked, “Can you tell me what’s missing?”
“My purse, containing sterling.”
“Silver?” asked Sammartino.
“No, money. Sterling is what we call UK currency.”
“How much?” asked Rodriguez, towering above me. His biceps looked ready to escape from his shirt. Very distracting.
“Fifty pounds,” I said.
“In dollars?”
“Roughly ninety dollars.”
“Is anything else missing?”
“Yes, the purse my money was in.”
“A pocket book?”
“I don’t know what that is,” I said, looking at Pamsy. She shrugged her shoulders.
Sammartino said, “a pocket book is sumtin y’all would use to carry your stuff in, like..” he looked longingly at Pamsy’s fair locks, “a hairbrush.”
“Oh, you mean a handbag?” I asked.
“I guess that’s it,” Rodriguez said, looking at Sammartino.
“It’s not my handbag that’s missing, it’s my purse.” Rodriguez looked at me like I was speaking a different language. “A purse?” I asked. “Where you keep your money.”
“Oh, you mean a wallet?” asked Rodriguez.
“No, it’s not a man’s wallet, it’s a purse.”
Sammartino chipped in, “what y’all carry money in, is what we call, a wallet.”
“Ok, then yes, a wallet.”
“Is anything else missing?”
“Donald Duck,” I said, catching Pamsy’s eye, just as she was starting to smirk.
“Did you say Donald Duck?” Rodriguez stared at me, ooohhh those blue eyes. Pay attention, pay attention.
“Yes. I bought a Donald Duck soft toy at Disney, for Suzi, she’s the young daughter of our family frie…”
“Just the facts please, miss,” he said, his face giving nothing away.
“Oh sorry. Donald Duck, comma, soft toy.”
I watched, as Rodriguez wrote Donald Duck, and then he wrote the letter c, crossed it out, and smiled at me. “Anything else?” he asked.
“Yes. A jumper,” I said.
Pamsy chipped in, “A lovely white, cotton jumper. Wasn’t that for your mum?”
“It was supposed to be,” I said, “until we were robbed.” I looked at Pamsy when I said “robbed,” and watched her trying her best to stifle a smile.
Sammartino asked, “When d’y’all think the incident o curd?”
“Sometime between, uh, Pamsy, when did we go to Disney World?”
“That was Tuesday,” she answered.
“I believe the incident occurred sometime between yesterday morning, and this morning,” I said, imagining myself on the stand, in the courtroom of a popular American tv series.
“Whilst we were out,” Pamsy said.
“How do you spell that, miss?” asked Rodriguez.
“Would you like me to write it down?” Pamsy asked, suddenly sounding very posh. She was obviously on the same tv show.
“Sure,” said Rodriguez, handing the folder, and the pen, to Pamsy. “Thank you officer.”
Pamsy sat on the edge of the bed, crossed her legs, and sucked her cheeks in, as she furiously began writing.
“You said a jumper?” Pamsy asked.
“Yes, a white, cotton knit jumper.”
“What is the approximate value of said jumper?” she asked, with more than a hint of a chuckle in her voice.
“I paid twenty-eight dollars for it. I do believe I may still have the receipt.”
“Thank you,” she said, going back to writing, sucking her cheeks in some more.

Whilst Pamsy was scribbling away, Sammartino and Rodriguez had a bit of a conflab about what a jumper is.
Rodriguez took the lead, and turned to me. “You mean a jumper, like a teacher might wear to teach kindergarten?”
Pamsy and I looked at each other, and shook our heads. “No,” I said, “that’s not what I mean.”
“A sweater,” Pamsy exclaimed. “You call it a sweater,” she said, looking up at Sammartino. He smiled down at her, a tad longer than he probably should have.
“Ok,” Rodriguez smiled. “A white cotton knit sweater. Correct?”
“Correct,” I said. “Did you get that, Pamsy?”
“Sure did, Karen,” she said, thankfully without looking at me.

Officer Rodriguez took the folder, and pen, from Pamsy and asked me to sign “the statement.” The first half of the form, was written in his hand, and the remainder was in Pamsy’s. I signed, and dated the statement, and Rodriguez asked for a number where I could be reached. I gave him Miriam’s number, but explained we’re only here for a few more days.

“If we find the perpetrator, we’ll be in touch,” Rodriguez said, shaking my hand.
“Thank you officers,” Pamsy said, standing up.
Sammartino shook Pamsy’s hand, and she gave him her sweetest smile. With Pamsy’s hand still in his, Sammartino said, “I hope this incident didn’t sour you on us.”
Pamsy looked at me for an explanation, one I didn’t have. Rodriguez stepped in, “we hope this incident didn’t ruin your time here.”
“Not at all,” I said, “but can you do us a favour?”
“Sure,” he said, enthusiastically.
“Can you give us directions, to Cocoa Beach?”

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