Gerald and The FBI


The problem was that old adage of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was not unusual for Gerald, he’d been there many times before. What made it different and much more serious was that he had mumbled, “all dead,” within earshot of an FBI agent crossing paths near the elevators on a White House visitors tour. Within minutes he was lifted off his feet by strong arms that floated him across the red plush carpet, down the stone steps and into a long black limousine that sped away down Pennsylvania Avenue towards jail.

Gerald had never been in trouble, managing to stumble through, over, and just out of reach of situations he obliviously never realized were there. His calm demeanor was out of the knowledge that he’d done nothing wrong. The FBI found his attitude cocky. Gerald asked repeatedly why he had been whisked away; the FBI found that to be obnoxiously rude. You can see why it wasn’t going to be a simple matter to clear up. When he finally answered most of their questions with some measure of respect they could feel comfortable about, they brought up the overheard “all dead.”

“Who were you referring to?” they asked.

‘No one,” he answered.

“Mr. Carroll, you were clearly heard by one of our agents saying, ‘all dead.’ You can understand our concern. We take this as a possible threat to the safety of the public or of our President.”

“I said that?” Gerald tried to think through his fluster back to the moment he was seized. “Ahah!” he said. “Batteries. My camera batteries were all dead. That’s what I said.”

“You were carrying a camera?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Where’s the camera, Mr. Carroll?”

“I think I dropped it when your men grabbed me. Or else it’s in your car. I don’t remember exactly when I didn’t have it.”

“Are you telling us you had a camera and now you do not have that camera?”

“Uh, yeah.”

The men went over to a corner and whispered. One man went out and came back in after a few minutes. They asked Gerald more questions about his job, his interests, and why he was taking the tour. Gerald asked for a coke.

“Would you mean a cola, a soda?”

“Uh, well yeah. Of course.” The two men looked at each other and back at Gerald. “Ginger ale is okay. Or iced tea,” he said. One of them left the room and came back with a root beer soda. He was also holding a camera.

“You found it!”

“Is this your camera Mr. Carroll?”

“Yes. That’s it. See, I told you and if you’ll try to take a picture, you’ll find that the batteries are dead. All dead, like I said.” Gerald took a long sip of the root beer though he hated it. He was terribly thirsty and was just happy that this had finally all been cleared up. He was also getting tired. He looked up at the two men expectantly.

“Mr. Carroll, are you aware you cannot bring a camera into the White House?”

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