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Monologue by Amy Rowell

Rowell, Amy
Cowen, Jessica
Date of Interview: 
Stories and Storytellers
Amy Rowell tells a story about a diamond smuggler getting caught in US customs.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Jessica Cowen interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
AR (Rowell, Amy): The rest of the tourists. He fits in well, wearing Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirt, black knee socks, leather sandals, and dark sunglasses. His only piece of luggage is a small backpack. He seems relaxed, but inside, he is quaking with fear. He is attempting to smuggle precious diamonds into the US. Today is not the first time Joe Smith has attempted to smuggle diamonds past US Customs. Three weeks ago, he successfully brought $500,000 worth of diamonds through this same station. Joe has been able to get through the checkpoint that time by keeping his cool. Now he wants to cross with fewer diamonds but is having a harder time remaining calm. A bead of sweat drops from Joe's cheek as he lays the backpack on the conveyor belt leading, leading to an X-ray machine. The Customs agent asks for Joe's passport and he asks if Joe has anything to declare. Pretending to be a tourist just off the beach, Joe answers that the only thing he has to declare is the sand in his socks. The agent rolls his eyes and stamps Joe's passport. Joe walks through the metal detector and subconsciously sighs with relief as he waits for his backpack. The agent, watching the X-ray machines slow down, slows down the conveyor belt as Joe's backpack approaches. He carefully looks for any suspicious items, for example drugs, phony money and weapons. All of a sudden, the agent pulls Joe's bag off the belt, opens it, and rifles through the pockets. A camera sits on top of the pile of clothes. The agent picks up the camera and looks at the exposure meter. The meter indicates that 14 pictures have been taken. The agent nods and puts the camera back in the bag and hands the bag back to Joe. With an inward sigh of relief, Joe takes the bag and walks out of the station. After about two hours, Joe walks into a small diner. Seated at a table in the back is a smallish man wearing a black suit. Joe walks up to the man and hands him the camera. The man opens the back of the camera and pulls out a velvet bag. Inside the bag are sparkling diamonds. Joe smiles, feeling good for the job well done. That is, until the man across the table signals to another man seated nearby. With a sinking feeling in his stomach, Joe turns around to see the other man coming toward him. Joe notices that the man is wearing the same type of suit that the man across the table is wearing. The only difference is that the man coming toward him is wearing dark sunglasses. The man puts his hand in his coat pocket and pulls something out. He flashes it at Joe. It is a badge. The man is a special investigator for Customs. Joe turns back to look at the man across the table. He too is holding out a badge. Joe jumps out of his chair and runs quickly for the back door. The two men chase Joe out the restaurant and into an alley. At the back of the alley is a fence. As Joe tries to jump over the fence, one of the men grabs Joe's legs and pulls him down. The other man puts handcuffs around Joe's wrists. The two men then escort Joe back down the alley, through the restaurant, to the waiting police car. As Joe sits in the police stat-, in the police car on the way to the police station, he decides that he will never smuggle anything in or out of this country again.