olive oilIt was just like any other errand day in Lexington. I’d driven up first thing in the morning and spent the rest of the day stocking up on everything from hoisin sauce to organic flour to gin.

After considerable debate, this time I added Costco to my errand list. I had long mulled over whether or not the membership was worth it. What sold me was the olive oil.

While cooking, we go through a ton of it and I wince every time I have to buy another bottle. I would save up my Kroger coupons and buy the biggest bottle possible, but still, the extra virgin was steep. Finally, in talking to one of my foodie friends, I was told you can get a two-liter bottle of Kirkland brand olive oil for $12.99. Moreover, the Kirkland EVOO scored very high in a comparative study done by the University of California, Davis. The good score and the steal, and the fact that their balsamic is very good too, pushed me over the edge.

So after an hour in Costco (is that a strange shopping experience or what?), I found the olive oil and stocked up with three bottles. But by the time I got my membership, paid and then completed the rest of my errands, I was pressed for time. I had to get Gabrielle’s sheet music and violin, which were still at home, to her by 3:30 and by 2, I was just peeling off Man O’ War. Then I hit traffic on I-75 and had to divert through Berea.

But I made it home by 3:22. If I rushed, I’d be able to make it to the school in time.

Never wanting to waste a trip inside though, I decided to carry in a load of stuff. I balanced a three-pack box of cereal in one arm, my purse and a two-pack of mustard in the other and then tried to carry an olive oil with my fingers.

I misjudged how unwieldy the cereal box was though, and it started sliding under my arm. I tried to catch it, and did, but not without sacrificing the olive oil.

Luckily, it was in a plastic, square bottle, so it landed with a thud on the driveway but was otherwise intact.

With time limited, I decided to just run, run, run and get the music stuff in the basement.

So, run, run, run I did, grabbed her things and ran back to the car. But in so running, I noticed the olive oil was no longer in the driveway. I put the music stuff in the back seat, then went back to look for the oil. Had it slid underneath the car? I bent over, but nothing.

OK, no matter, needed to get to the school.

I made it in time and then raced home to put away the rest of the haul from my errands. But as I drove up, I saw no oil.

This was weird. Had it somehow rolled despite its shape? I looked under the cars in the garage: nothing. I looked in the grass on the sides of the driveway: nothing. In the 90 seconds I was in the house, had the UPS man come and put it on the front step: No. Then I looked around. Had someone come and stolen it?

I decided this was too ridiculous. Maybe I’d put it back into the car after I dropped it and, in my hurry, just forgotten? I unloaded and put away all the groceries. There were two bottles of olive oil, but not three. Had I bought three? In what should surely be a sign that I have no faith in my memory, I double-checked the receipt. Yep, I had.

By this point, I was tired. A day of running errand after errand in Lexington holiday traffic will wear a girl out. I was now willing to hand it over to my husband, Detective Baker.

Detective Baker, you see, has this house wired. God help any robber who tries to break into this fort, for he will not get far. First level of reinforcement?

Security cameras.

So when I told William about the olive oil, he was ready to don a yellow fedora and head out on a mission. Honestly, since the surveillance on the blue bird that pooped all over our cars a few years ago, business has been a little slack for Detective Baker. But finally the slump was over.

Using an application on his telephone, which I could tell he was pret-ty pleased to be putting to the test, he pulled up the video for the security cameras.

“What time was it again?”

“Exactly 3:22.”

He rewound the video and started watching the tape.

Car pulls up. Woman steps out. Woman opens back door. Woman loads up with armful of groceries. Groceries start slipping, woman wobbles, leg goes up in vain attempt to catch falling olive oil with thigh.

Baker chuckles at effort.

Woman goes inside. Olive oil lies on concrete like a sunbather. Nothing happens for 10 seconds. And then?

A dog. A big one. Comes to check out the oil. He sniffs at it and then retreats. He goes to check the back door of the car, which has been left open. Is anyone there? No. Then he looks at the garage. Is anyone coming? No.

William and I are now huddled around his phone, breathless, knowing what happened but not believing it.

Then Rover leans down toward the two-liter bottle, sniffs again and proceeds to drag it away. To be taken where? To be used how? To help sauté what? Never to be answered. But the theft, it was perfect.

The time passed for its execution? 98 seconds. The exact amount of time it takes for a dog to steal Kirkland brand olive oil.

How did I feel? Extremely relieved I had not gone crazy in the middle of my afternoon of errands. Detective Baker? Pleased he’d cracked another case. And Rover? We’ll never know for sure, but I’m afraid he became one sick puppy.

One thought on “The olive oil caper

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