This is based off of a real incident that happened lately, but parts of it have been fictionalized due to artistic license.
“Well, hello sir!” I turned around at the greeting.
Standing before me was a man, had to be close to fifty or so, long goatee and moustache that together swallowed his mouth when he closed it. I looked him over quickly, and replied, “Hey, how’s it going?”
He walked up to me, close enough to get a good look at him, but not close enough to violate anyone’s sense of personal space. He wore a red pullover and denim pants. At his foot was a little Chihuahua about the size of a large rat.
“I’m doing good today, sir. Might I ask where you’re headed to today?” He asked, as I looked at his dog. The dog stared back, his large round eyes bulging from his head slightly. “Well, the family and I were doing some sight-seeing, heading into Moab to hang out.” I explained, not totally sure where this conversation was headed. “I see, I see...” he replied, nodding his head. “Good afternoon Beautiful.” He said without a trace of lechery to a passing woman. In response, she smiled widely, and continued up to the visitor center.
Theresa walked up to the car and opened the door. “Hello Beautiful” he said to her. She smiled and said “Hi!” and climbed into the passenger seat. The man turned back to me and started talking about a local picnic spot. “The local park has pictographs, petroglyphs, and other indigenous artwork from thousands of years ago. It also has a picnic area, and playground, and its own arch. We call it ‘Hidden Arch’ park because people can never seem to find the arch. I tell them that if they’re looking at the pictographs, they just need to look behind themselves.”
He was getting animated about the park, but I knew we didn’t have time to check it out now. “That sounds really cool, we might be able to check it out on the way back, but for now, we have to get rolling.” I took a step back, getting ready to walk to the car when he stepped closer.
“Do you consider yourself a ‘happy hippie’? You strike me as the type to be a ‘happy hippie’.” He asked his voice low, as if we were discussing a conspiracy. Raised on the ideals of the hippie movement, I looked at him “well, yeah, I guess I am a happy hippie.” He looked me in the eyes “Well, as you might be able to tell, it’s difficult to get buds out here, and it’s next to impossible to grow it, so I was wondering if you might have a pod or two you could drop me?”
It took me a second to process what he was saying, and then it hit me. “Ah, man, no. I’m sorry, I don’t have anything.” Which was the truth – I hadn’t touched the stuff in close to fifteen years. “Ah, better to not travel with it… especially out here.” I thought on this for a second, remembering horror stories from friends who had the misfortune to be pulled over in Utah. “Well,” I stated “If I come across anyone with anything, I be sure to send them your way.”
A big grin broke across his face, revealing bright, straight teeth. “I do appreciate that,” he said, chuckling slightly. “you guys have a safe trip today.” I smiled at him, looked at his bulge-eyed dog, and got into the car.
“What was that all about?” Theresa asked me as I put the van in reverse and backed out. “he was telling me about a picnic spot back over there” I gestured off to the left and put the van in drive. “He was a nice enough guy.” As we pulled onto the interstate, I chuckled to myself. “What?” she asked me, looking over at me. “Well, the guy also asked me for some pot.” I explained as we merged left into traffic. “He did what?” a hint of incredulity creeping into Theresa’s voice. I nodded my head. “Seriously; I told him I didn’t have any. He asked me if I was a ‘happy hippie,’” I told her the rest of the conversation, and we both had a good chuckle about it.
The man talked quietly to his dog for a couple more minutes and then walked up to the visitor center. Pulling open the door, he glanced quickly at the woman behind the counter and walked over to the movie center. Normally, there would be a movie playing about the highlights of Utah, but now, it was just a blank screen.
Closing the sheets across the opening, the man flipped back a panel on the wall and pressed a series of buttons. On the screen to his right, an image appeared of a man in a State Trooper uniform.
“Yes, Agent Madison?” The man on the screen said in a strict, business tone.
“Reporting in to let you know that we hand another ‘HH’ stop by; I engaged the subject, with a negative outcome.” The man replied. He glanced over at his dog who was now napping on a chair, the leash hanging down to the ground.
“Do you think they suspected anything?” The screen man asked.
“No” the other man said – I think he’s clean.