Our golf cart, old Moncho’s 59, has been found.
Yes, the cart that went missing last Saturday night, during Lobsterfest, has reappeared. A couple of blocks north of where it disappeared.
And, yes, it was locked.
With my lock.
You should have heard the roar of laughter from the gang at Lola’s Pub and Grill when I put my key in the steering wheel lock and it popped open.
Was I so wasted after Lobsterfest that I don’t recall moving the golf cart?
Did it sit there in front of Lola’s for five days without being noticed?
Could someone else have possibly been using it all this time … and still used my own lock to lock it up? Why would they bother locking a stolen golf cart? And would they really leave it with a full tank of gas?
Is this all a really bad movie called “Dude, Where’s My Cart?”
Until this moment, I was feeling more like Paul Reubens in search of my precious wheels in “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.”
Now I don’t know.
At any rate, the call I’ve been hoping and dreading came around 11 p.m. on a rainy Thursday night, from Adam and Jacky Feldman. After another adrenaline-rush night at their Casa Picasso restaurant, they had decided reluctantly on a nightcap at Lola’s. They could easily have gone straight to bed and I would not be writing this.
“Moncho’s 59, right?” said Adam on the phone. “It is number 59 right?”
“Right!” I replied.
“We found your cart. It’s right in front of Lola’s. You better get on your bike and hurry down here before somebody drives it away.”
That’s like two blocks north of where I last remember parking the golf cart.
(The word “remember” becomes crucial to this story, in a moment.)
I quickly dressed, grabbed the keys and bridge pass and a hammer. Adam said there was a lock on it, which I was prepared to smash. Or maybe I was thinking the hammer would make a handy weapon in a fight over the cart’s ownership. (Now we’re into a remake of “Repo Man.”)
As I was unlocking my bike, my neighbor Mark appeared and offered me a ride in his golf cart. I think he sensed there might be some adventure in this. He told me about the brand new cart that had been stolen from our own parking lot, as the co-owner of his condo was moving in.
“He’d left it unlocked,” said Mark.
“I locked mine,” I said. “I know that I’d locked mine.”
And so there it was, parked a few spaces north of Lola’s, looking as duct-taped ugly as the day it went missing.
And there was the lock on the steering wheel.
Locked upside down, the way I always lock it for some unknown and eccentric reason.
I put the key in the lock and it popped open. Adam and Jacki roared with laughter. So did Picasso’s beverage manager Nicolai Hebert and chef Jeff Fuller, who had joined them for a nightcap.
Defensive thoughts kept pouring into my head, like, no way this cart had sat there on Front Street for five days. I mean, the night before we’d driven right by this spot with friends after dinner. Three days earlier I was 20 yards away, handing out flyers to taxi drivers offering a reward of $50 to the first driver who spotted the missing cart.
And I was sure that I had bicycled down this road on my way home in the past five days. (There is a shortcut to the beach path, just past Lola’s.)
And yet …
We had stopped in Lola’s after Lobsterfest for the Steve & Steve Birthday Bash.
A horrifying thought began overriding all my defenses: Is it possible that we got into the cart, started for home and decided to stop into Lola’s? That would explain the cart’s location, and the fact that it was locked, and had a full tank of gas.
And was difficult to start.
Like it had been sitting there for a while.
“I think it has been sitting there for a while,” offered the bartender in Lola’s, helpfully, as Mark and I joined the Casa Picasso gang in a celebratory drink.
A new thought entered my head: I might just be the biggest idiot on the island. (Other people misplace their golf carts after a night of revelry but they don’t write lengthy blog items and try to enlist a whole island full of people in the hunt.)
And the fact that I simply don’t remember ought to be a red flag. You can’t rationalize away stupid.
But Rose, a far more responsible person, insists that we walked to Lola’s and left the cart where we’d originally parked it. But she may just be subconsciously trying to salvage the dignity of a drunken fool.
That would be me, the Ashton Kutcher of Ambergris Caye.
Well, after a toast of gratitude, Mark and I walked out of Lola’s and …
… Moncho’s 59 was gone.
There was Adam and Jacky’s Casa Picasso cart. And there was Mark’s cart. And there was an empty space between them where mine was parked. Or, in this case, wasn’t parked.
I was stunned. My jaw hit the sidewalk.
Behind me, Nicoali and Jeff howled with laughter. And pointed up the street. At the end of the block sat Moncho 59, right where they’d moved it, locked steering wheel and all. Come to think of it, everybody was laughing.
Come to think of it, I probably deserved it.
“It ain’t over yet, baby,” said Jacky with a grin. “That cart was missing for five days. You’re going to have to live it down for at least that long.”
I’m thinking this will be a very — very — long boat ride to Caye Caulker for their Lobsterfest on Sunday.
But at least I’m not driving.
Or parking the boat.