Alex, I’ll Take ‘Great Escapes’ for $200

Trying to escape,
We disguised my wife as a golf bag
And threw her in the car’s trunk.
As for me, I knotted a brown cowled robe
With a rope around my waist,
Thinking a monk would be less outrageous
Than an Elvis Presley disguise.
The authorities weren’t apt to pick on a Jesuit,
Even one with a golf bag,
Fearing to offend the Almighty.
But making plans on the lam is trouble…
My Birkenstocks weren’t exactly Jesuit-issue,
The getaway car with four-barrel carbs
And dual exhausts,
Was inconvenient, stealth-wise.
My suntan didn’t compute with a pale,
Under-the-cowl monk.
But beggers, as we say in the hair-shirt dodge,
Can’t be choosers.
And off we flew, an ill wind,
To a checkpoint, where a guard, palms down,
Like a third base coach,
Slowed us to a stop.
Scanning us through mirrored Porsches,
He walked slowly around the car,
As if every inch would yield a thousand clues.
And then he bent down, real folksy,
Taking our blood pressure with his eyes.
He read our ‘Honk if You Love Jesus’ bumper sticker
And knew something about us wasn’t quite kosher.
Slowly he straightened up, suspicions aroused,
And delivering the coup de grace, said,
Open the trunk.
My nerves of steel perspired.
Back he stepped nervously,
Feeling for the butt of his nine millimeter,
Not knowing what to expect.
As the lid popped open like a giant yawn,
The trunk light revealed my wife,
Now a golf bag, soft as pliant suede.
Nice golf bag,
He said,
Must have set you back a fortune, Father.
It’s Brother, I corrected him.
He ran his hand over the golf bag,
And I stifled the urge to shout,
Keep your hands off my wife, officer.
He unzipped the longest zipper slowly
And inventoried the contents:
Anklets, golf shoes (missing one screw-in cleat)
An umbrella, a cheese sandwich, a Diet Coke
And a floor plan of the Vatican…
A nice touch, I thought.
He zipped it back up.
And though his instincts said,
Something here is not quite right,
He waved us through, saying,
Pax vobiscum.
I said I was already inoculated for it.