Working as an insurance agent in Los Angeles, one gets to see some pretty crazy stuff. Like the time I got called out after a guy drove a car into his pool in Malibu; I had to assess both his vehicle and his property for damage. Then there was the night some girl went crazy and knocked the side mirrors off her boyfriend’s truck before breaking out his windshield with a baseball bat; that girl had one wicked swing.
My all-time favorite though was the morning I went out to assess an SUV that had supposedly been involved in some sort of flood. Of course I was immediately suspicious as Southern California isn’t exactly prone to that issue but off I went with my clipboard and camera in tow to follow-up on the claim. I pulled up next to this incredible three-story house, walked up the huge curving driveway and knocked on the door. After a minute, a blond in her mid-forties wearing way too much makeup pulls open the door and flashes me this perfect, bleached smile.
“You must be the insurance man,” she gushed.
“Yes ma’am,” I replied. “I’m here about your SUV.”
“It’s such a mess!” she exclaimed as she stepped outside. “It was just a terrible flood!”
She clicked the garage remote as she spoke and I waited as the door slowly rolled up to reveal a very innocent looking white SUV. From the outside, everything appeared to be perfectly normal. Then she opened the tailgate. Though it was obvious that the upholstery in the car had once been white, it was now tinted with a very vibrant cherry stain. She stepped out of the way, shaking her head at the damage and I moved in for a closer look. It took only an instant to see that the unusual reddish color had not only soaked through the back part of the car, but extended all the way up to the front as well; it had even dyed the creases of the leather seats. I went through the entire car but other than a faint cherry-scented odor and the new interior color, I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.
“You said this happened in a flood?” I asked as I returned to the owner.
“Yes, it was awful!” she exclaimed.
I cleared my throat. “Exactly what kind of flood was it? We haven’t had any rain…” I began but then trailed off. There wasn’t any such thing as cherry-colored rain anyway.
“Oh it wasn’t that kind of a flood,” she explained, with a shake of her head.
“Well, what kind of a flood was it then?” I pressed when she didn’t go on.
“It was punch-mix.”
“Pardon me?” I asked after a moment of silent shock.
“Punch mix,” she repeated as if I was hard of hearing. “Cherry-flavored punch mix.”
“How did cherry punch mix flood your car?” I asked after another minute of surprise.
“It’s what was in the giant inflatable pool that popped. I was parked right next to it.”
I stared down at my clipboard, realizing that I was in for a very long story.
“Ask a stupid question…,” I muttered to myself.