Jun 29,2006 00:00
Defrosting has never been a priority for me. Of course, that was before the FBI found $90,000 cold cash in a Louisiana congressman’s freezer. I suddenly find myself highly motivated.
I had emptied the chest freezer in the garage and was sorting the contents when the husband appeared on the scene and asked what was happening.
I reminded him of the good fortune of a certain congressman and told him to be careful not to disturb the piles. “I’ve divided things into four groups: pizza, waffles, ice cream and possibilities.
“Right, those are the things that are unlabeled and wrapped in aluminum foil. The Congressman’s money was wrapped in foil, so I thought that would be the best place to start.”
“You do know they have the congressman on tape accepting a payoff, don’t you?”
“Doesn’t matter,” I said, shaking a bag of blueberries with a nasty case of freezer burn.
“He’ll say he has no idea how it got there. Could have been the maid, the housekeeper, the wife, who knows, maybe a total stranger. And I believe him even before he says is. If I didn’t, I sure wouldn’t be chipping away at this glacier. Don’t be such a naysayer; you really frost me.”
“I think you may be forgetting this case is also about checks and balances.”
“I’m all about checks and balances,” I snap. “I’ll keep balancing this lid open and you check the packages.”
The husband picked up a package on top of the pile of possibilities, unwrapped it, and shot me a look. “I hope you weren’t planning on going shopping with this. It looks like a chicken carcass.”
"Of course, it’s a chicken carcass. I put those in the freezer so they don’t smell up the trash. But sometimes I forget to take them from the freezer and put them in the trash. See that round package beside it?”
“Are you going to tell me this is holding fifties and hundreds?”
“No, it’s an overripe cantaloupe. They draw flies so I freeze them, too.”
“Do you ever freeze any food?”
“Once in awhile, but that’s not what I’m looking for today.”
The phone rang and it was a neighbor one block over. She found a pack of rib-eyes encased in ice crystals in her freezer, some English muffins dated May ’02, Halloween candy she’d forgotten about, a rubber band and six cents in change.
“She beat your dad,” I told the husband. “All he had was franks, brats and sausages. No greenbacks but plenty of nitrates.”
“I’m afraid you’re focused on the tip of the iceberg,” the husband said. “This incident raises a host of questions such as: Was the search legal? Was the President right to seal the money and declare a ‘cooling off’ period?”
I came up out of the freezer, brushed the frost off my nose and said, “Now I’m really chapped. You are overlooking the most important question of all: Is there any chance regular citizens might own a freezer holding 90 grand or is that model only available to elected officials?”