River City Jules: Mystery of the Redbox rental

I am not sure what my husband and I were discussing during dinner when Luke’s monologue finally registered in our heads with, “I told the guy to leave me alone. I’m only 10.”

We dropped our forks, looking at each other across the table and then at Luke, who was grinning uncomfortably.

“I’m sorry, what did you just say?” I asked.

He rolled his eyes. “I got an email from Redbox,” he began, immediately though not permanently setting our minds at ease. “They said I needed to return the movie I rented or they were going to charge me a penalty.”

“When did you rent a movie from Redbox?” I generally avoid taking my kids out in public and recalled zero recent Redbox contact.

“I didn’t,” he clarified.

“Which Redbox was this?” my husband asked.

“I don’t know,” Luke answered, “somewhere in Iowa.”

Our only potential brush with Iowa in the past year would have been during our trip to Mount Rushmore. But I-29 was closed due to flooding most of the summer, forcing us to travel via York, Nebraska. I might not always know where Luke is, but I was nearly positive he had not been in Iowa.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“I told them they had the wrong email,” he said with a hint of short-lived maturity, “and that I’m not even old enough to drive to Iowa.”

The fact that he is not old enough to drive to anywhere did not stand out as my husband asked, “Which movie was it?”

“‘Just Go with It,’” Luke replied.

Fairly certain he was not yet into romantic comedies, even ones starring Jennifer Aniston (yet), I pressed on a bit more.

“Have you ever tried to rent a movie from Redbox before?” I asked. Luke flies brilliantly under the radar, capable of filling a grocery cart with ice cream and beef jerky without detection until checkout.

“No,” he said slowly. “They kept writing to me though.”

“Why didn’t you tell us about it?” I asked, concerned he might be on track for a lifetime of corporate abuse.

“I don’t know,” he said, “I just kept writing back.”

“What did you say?” my husband asked.

“I said, ‘Are you stupid or something? I’m only 10 years old! Do you really think a 10-year-old can rent a movie by himself?’” He beamed with pride at his big kiss-off. “But they keep sending me emails.”

I buried my head in my hands. On the one hand, the idea of an account rep communicating with my 10-year-old son was hilarious. On the other hand, this could ruin his credit, meaning he’ll never be able to get his own place and move out someday.

“Don’t worry, Luke, I’ll give them a call,” I sighed, unsure if I was calling for assistance or forgiveness. “None of this will end up on your permanent record, and no one will ever have to know.”


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