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Bluff The Listener


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Charla Lauriston, Peter Grosz and Brian Babylon. And here again is your host, a man who wants you to try his fresh homemade vaccines, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Bill.


SAGAL: Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

Hi. You are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

JOHN ANDERSON: Hi. My name is John Anderson. I'm from Indianapolis, Ind.

SAGAL: Hey. How are things in beautiful Indianapolis?

ANDERSON: Sixty degrees today and sunny and beautiful outside.

SAGAL: There you go. And what do you do there in Indianapolis?

ANDERSON: I'm a journeyman meat cutter, which is the fancy way of saying I'm a butcher.

SAGAL: You're a journeyman meat cutter. It sounds better that way, by the way.

CHARLA LAURISTON: Do you have to go on an actual journey to become a journeyman?

BRIAN BABYLON: Town to town, Charla - town to town.

ANDERSON: I don't know that it's required. But when I did finish my apprenticeship, I traveled for quite a while from town to town, actually, where they needed meat cutters in a store. I was - they called it a floater, and I would float from store to store and fill in when someone was on vacation, or they needed help.

LAURISTON: Who is creating the job titles for these things? These make no sense. This has nothing to do with meat.

BABYLON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well, John, it is nice to have you with us. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is John's topic?

KURTIS: I need to self-care myself.

SAGAL: It has never been more important to practice self-care, but self-care can be hard. It's basically like going to a spa where you have to be all the employees. Our panelists are going to tell you about someone who went to great lengths to ensure they spent a little time on themselves. Pick the one who's telling the truth - you'll win our prize. Are you ready to play?

ANDERSON: I am ready.

SAGAL: Let's first hear from Brian Babylon.

BABYLON: When police found 19-year-old Jason Soules (ph), he was lying in the dirt in the Arizona desert. His hands were tied behind his back with a belt, and a bandanna was stuffed in his mouth. He told the police (mumbling).

PETER GROSZ: (Laughter).

BABYLON: Then, once the bandanna was removed, he told them that he had been kidnapped by a pair of desperados who boinked (ph) him on the head and then spent the day driving him around looking for buried treasure that his father had supposedly hidden somewhere in the desert. Scary. Except the hospital said his noggin seemed to be fine. And after a week of driving around to places Soules said the kidnappers took him, they couldn't find any sign that anyone at all had been there on the days in question.

Eventually, the police cracked the case. Young Mr. Soules really did not like his job at the local tire dealership, so in order to get out of working that day, he called in a tip to the police about where to find an injured man. Police said that he will be charged for false reporting to law enforcement.

Good news, though - Mr. Soules - he'll be able to practice for an upcoming NBA 2K video game tournament or anything he'll like to do because he's been given the rest of his life off from that job at the tire dealership.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

SAGAL: A man fakes his own kidnapping in order to get a day to himself off from work. Your next story of someone daring to care is from Charla Lauriston.

LAURISTON: Jill Coalson (ph) of Starkville, Miss., had one too many Zoom calls with her kids interrupting when she lost her proverbial marbles and decided she was ready for some me time. But with no babysitters available or any other child care options, she figured her local fire station might be an option. Last Halloween, Coalson's boys had gone as firefighters, so she dug the costumes out of the closet and yelled to her kids, let's play Halloween in February. That's a real game. I promise.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

LAURISTON: She dressed them up and dropped the excited pair off at the Starkville Fire Department, hoping they'd blend in, and no one would notice them hanging around the firehouse. Interviewed later by the local NBC affiliate, Coalson said, it's just like take your son to work day, except I don't work there.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

LAURISTON: Unfortunately, once Coalson got home, ran a bath and lit some candles, those very candles set her drapes on fire. The Starksville (ph) Fire Department showed up and put out the blaze with the help of two conspicuously tiny new firefighters who said it was, quote, "the best day ever." Coalson is currently planning where the boys will go for Halloween in February in March.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

SAGAL: A mom ships her kids off to the fire station in order to get some time to herself. Your last story of personal pampering comes from Peter Grosz.

GROSZ: Catherine James (ph) of Lake Forest, Ill., is used to getting what she wants. Every week, she pays her favorite masseuse, Laurence Bellows (ph), $500 to come out to her 6,000-square foot mansion and give her a 90-minute deep-tissue massage in her temperature-controlled relaxation studio. Babies are less pampered. So when Laurence told her he was taking a vacation to Palm Springs, she didn't take the news lying down. The only thing she takes lying down is a massage.

So Catherine called up her travel agent - yes, some rich people still use travel agents - and bought a last-minute ticket and jetted off to Palm Beach. Upon arriving, she texted him, hey, Laurence, coincidence alert - I'm here in Palm Beach. Can I pop by for a massage? What hotel are you in? He texted back. Actually, I'm in Palm Springs, frown emoji. Sorry we got our wires crossed - confused face emoji.

Catherine sprung into action, calling back her travel agent, who was busier than he'd been in years, and booking the next flight to Palm Springs, Calif. After seven hours in the air and a three-hour layover in Dallas, she finally landed and texted again. Laurence, I'm here in Palm Springs - cactus emoji. Can I please swing by? Laurence replied, actually, I'm in Palm Springs, Fla. - alligator emoji. It's only a 20-minute drive from Palm Beach, Fla. I thought you'd just take an Uber here - car emoji, crying emoji.

When reached for comment, Catherine's response was exploding head emoji, red-faced guy cursing emoji, turd emoji.

SAGAL: All right, here are your choices. Somebody went to some lengths just to get some time for themselves. Was it, from Brian Babylon, a man in Arizona who faked his own violent kidnapping just so he wouldn't have to go to work; from Charla, a mom who put her kids back in their Halloween costumes as firefighters so that the fire station might take care of them; or from Peter Grosz, a woman who chased her masseuse across the country in desperate search for that massage? Which of these is the real story about someone just looking out for themselves?

ANDERSON: I think I'm going to go with Peter Grosz's story about the massage.

SAGAL: OK, you're going to choose that story. Well, we spoke to someone who knew a lot about the real story.


AARON DORMAN: The police found him by the town water tower. He was bound and gagged. It came out a week later that he had made the whole thing up just to get out of work.

SAGAL: That was Aaron Dorman, the reporter who broke the story in the Coolidge, Ariz., town newspaper. I am so sorry. Peter fooled you. I bet it was the emojis.

ANDERSON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You didn't win, but you did earn a point for Peter just for being so convincing. Thank you so much. And if we ever need meat in Indianapolis, we will know who to turn to.

GROSZ: Journey on.

ANDERSON: Sounds good. Thank you very much for playing.

SAGAL: Take care.



JUSTIN BIEBER: (Singing) And if you think that I'm still holding onto something, you should go and love yourself. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.