Day 251: Almost a Brokedown Palace.

It was my second trip to Amsterdam that summer with Jeremy. When you’re 19, one visit should be the max. But we had Eurorail passes, and  the desire to return for “supplies” was tough to ignore. On the train, we were chatted up aggressively by a 20-something British dude. Not in a sexual way, more in an awkward, “I need two best friends NOW” type of way. He was really nice and talkative, and we were really bored and hungover, so it worked.

Brian really wanted us all get a room together at an Inn where he knew the owner. When we got the train, we noticed that Brian didn’t have any luggage; just a random Brit who wanted to get a room for the night, but didn’t plan on changing his clothes. Then, even though he claimed to  know the owner, he had a difficult time finding the place.  We made a pit stop to get drunk and high which somehow made it easier for Brian to find our cheap Dutch room with one queen bed and a mattress on the floor. This was a giant upgrade from the hostels full of sweatered yodelers and  gypsies we had been staying in.

Jeremy and I wanted food. Brian said he wanted to take a nap because the weed was hitting him a little too hard. With a shrug and a “Whatever, dude, ” we picked up the key and left the room. 20 minutes later as we were half way into our burgers, Jeremy asked, “Hey, what do you think of Brian?” “A little weird,” I responded. “Why? What do you think of him?” That’s when it hit us. We had left all our stuff – backpacks, clothes, travelers checks, passports, the entirety of our belongings  – with an overly friendly British dude with no belongings. A confidence man.

We sprinted from the pub back to the Inn. We ran up the stairs, pulled out the key and unlocked the door. Brian was there. Our stuff was there. We both breathed for the first time in 5 minutes. Then we felt bad for not trusting him.

He was sitting in an open window smoking a cigarette. We could see he was breathing heavily and his face was red with anger. He inhaled deeply, blew the smoke in our faces and yelled,

“You bloddy cock suckers locked me in this goddamn room!”

We silently thanked God for the ridiculous doors of Europe left over from a time when parents would lock their children away for having an unsightly mole or looking too Jewish. About an hour later, Brian claimed to be out of money (though he hadn’t spent any) and was going to hop the ferry back to England to visit his bank. He said he would return the next morning. That was the last we saw of him.

We never did figure out whether we had inadvertently escaped a robbery that could have left us without money or identity in a foreign country, and eventually starring in our own episode of Locked Up Abroad.

I bet Brian never tells this story.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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