Pete Klodhoppian and his wife, Esmeralda, had a close encounter of the worst kind, only it ends with a Blue Card reprieve.
Peter C. “Pete” Klodhoppian and his beloved wife of 63 years, Esmeralda, had always dreamed of using their recreational vehicle, which they considered a spacious fourteen-footer, for a sightseeing trip through the American West. “Maybe we’ll get all the way to California,” Esmeralda told Pete one day, when their dream still seemed unattainable.
It was unattainable, mainly because Esmeralda had never driven a vehicle, and Pete’s license had been suspended for twelve years, when he’d been caught with an open case of NyQuil in their Buick Electra, and been charged with a DUI; as he put it, “just like a school kid.” Being a confirmed procrastinator, he’d missed numerous court dates when it had happened, and fearing the “red tape” that retired people surely must face in order to reinstate driver’s licenses, he’d “never gotten around to it.”
But one day he did and off they went. One thing Pete suddenly noticed about Esmeralda was her curiosity. Every place they stopped along the way, she would get out and stretch her legs, and peek under every rock within reach. These obsessive Esmeraldan activities were engaged in without incident until they reached Arizona’s Painted Desert. While lifting a two-pound rock, she’d begun poking around when Pete heard a scream. Is that a bobcat? Pete mused, his natural tendency to procrastinate kicking in. Nope. Lumbering over to where his wife was standing behind their RV, he saw in the glare of his flashlight a blotchy lizard holding on to her outstretched hand, his wife’s face contorted in pain.
“It won’t let go!” she yelled, in a surprisingly hostile manner.
“I can see that,” he said, “Looks like you caught yourself a Gila monster.” Fortunately, Pete had a cell phone. He did procrastinate, but eventually called the BlueCard Worldwide Service Center, attempting to find the nearest hospital.
“Good thing we’re BlueCard members,” he told her later in the hospital, drooling as he kissed her grossly swollen left hand and forearm.
“Stop it you old fool,” she said, still grimacing.
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