Cannes Confidential — The suitcase incident

It’s my last day here and I have to attend the 8:30 am Marie Antoinette screening (Sofia Coppola; 2006) in the Grand Theatre Lumiere. Monsieur Gauthier, the owner of the B&B where I had a room, drove me and my luggage to the Palais–1 human, 1 carry-on and a large black Delsey. All of a sudden, facing off with the security personnel regarding said luggage did not seem an option; I shall screen Marie-Antoinette sans luggage. I crane my neck and notice an information booth near the parking lot behind the Palais an push my suitcase quickly towards it (thankfully the luggage is festooned with multidirectional wheels). (inside the booth) Hello, I need to attend the early screening but can’t take this in, apparently (feigned indignation). Can you just keep it behind your counter for a couple hours? Hm, you’re coming back for sure, right? Yes, it’s my luggage, I’m going to the airport after that, so yes. – OK, no problem Monsieur . Victoire! I run up the stairs and find a seat next to an old journalist with a Wall Street Journal folded on his lap. He’s already asleep–lights out. A little while later I walk out and head back towards the parking lot. The man in black from earlier has been replaced by a small, demure woman. Have you seen my luggage, I asked. I left it here this morning. I’m going to be late for the airport. She answers, ah, but it was taken, monsieur. TAKEN? But by WHO? Without saying anything, she points towards the back of the palais-the police did. I start walking over there, briskly, while a magma of sweat and doom starts weighing down on me; I pondered one scenario after another ill-fated scenario. The police station is located in a trailer behind the Palais. I walk up the stairs leading to it, greet the woman sitting behind a desk and tell her that I was looking for my suitcase. Aha, the woman replies. So it was YOU! Me? I do not understand. Oh, you better understand. You cannot leave luggage around like that. We had to secure the intersection, evacuate everyone nearby and call in the bomb squad. You’re lucky they did not destroy your luggage. I mumble an apology and retrieve my luggage festooned with multi-directional wheels.

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