A Capital Offense

“A million tons of slop on the wall, a million tons of slop . . .”

My buddy Dennis and I sang our way down the highway. We were en route from Michigan to Maryland to play music at a friend’s wedding. But first things first: the sights and sounds of our nation’s capital—Washington, D.C.!

“This looks convenient,” I said to Dennis, pulling my Ford Mustang into a parking spot. The back seat brimmed with guitar cases and clothes, but I knew the door locks worked fine, so not to worry. Besides, we were only a couple of blocks from the White House. Who would break into a car in this neighborhood?

Let’s call him Skinny-fingers Eddie. While Dennis and I swayed blissfully in the breeze, high atop the Washington Monument, Eddie was using my Mustang’s rearview mirror to see how he looked in my gray Sabbath suit. The electric bass slung across his shoulder complemented nicely the 12-string guitar he clutched in the same hand he’d used to bust into my vehicle.

Later the D.C. Metro police made it clear that the chances of recovering any of our clothes or equipment were approximately the same as the president strolling over to see if he could be of assistance.

“A million tons of slop on the wall, a mil—”

“Do you have to sing that stupid song?” Back on the road, Dennis seemed annoyed at the prospect of using a broom and jumper cables for a bass guitar. As for me, the farm overalls I sported for the wedding ceremony made a memorable fashion statement.

Maybe Skinny-fingers Eddie became a good guitarist. Maybe he wore my suit to the first wedding job he landed.

I doubt it.

I learned something that day in Washington, D.C. Whether you’re a tourist or a preacher, it pays to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, KJV).

Especially with Skinny-fingers Eddie on the loose.

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A Capital Offense

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