This is to document my year working deep cover in the notorious band of hooligans and scofflaws known as the Red Hat Society. The facts of this report, while disturbing, are a total fabrication. The names were changed to protect the innocent.
My first contact with the gang was through the sergeant of arms for the local chapter of the society. I met Agnes while she was on work-release from the Shady Grove Retirement Center and Correctional Facility. Our clandestine meeting took place in an undisclosed park where she was picking up litter.
Agnes had been serving time for public intoxication and indecent exposure. Her sentence had been extended after she reportedly bludgeoned one of the prison orderlies with a fruitcake last Christmas. As she explained it to me, she showed no sign of remorse for this heinous act. She set up a meeting with the chapter queen after carefully grilling me about my age and sexual preference (in the bedroom with the lights out).
The Red Hats are composed mainly of women ages 50 and above. They wear gang colors of red and purple, and have been known to frequent IHOPs. Before I could wear the colors I had to undergo a rigorous initiation. I was asked to be the wheel man for a drive-by egging of tour busses in Orlando, Florida. This was followed by a trip to Disney World, where I was forced to go on the It’s a Small World ride three times. Oh, the humanity!
Once I was in, I ingratiated my way into writing the monthly newsletter for the chapter. As the gang secretary I began to receive advance notice of all the sock hops, white elephant sales, and turf wars with neighboring chapters. I became known for my signature red hard hat and purple boa.
One of the extreme dangers of undercover work is becoming so consumed by the role as to lose one’s identity. I bought a pink Cadillac from a retired Mary Kay consultant and began driving ten miles per hour under the speed limit wherever I went, terrorizing other motorists by coming to a complete stop to make a right hand turn and leaving my blinkers on for miles after changing lanes.
After I left the gang and returned to active duty, I continued to eat dinner at 4:00 PM and carry a coin purse to count out exact change at the supermarket. I lied about my age so I could order off the senior menu. I’ve stolen sugar packets, and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve left the sprinkler on all night on more than one occasion.
I have had to come to terms with my own demons. I still spend many a sleepless night, popping antacids and watching old John Wayne westerns. I do scrapbooking in my spare time.
My efforts to shut down the organization have proven futile, as new chapters continue to spring up with alarming speed. When not wearing their colors, these women walk among us unnoticed, blending into society. If a woman on the bus starts showing you pictures of her granddaughter, who graduated with honors, or talks incessantly about her hip surgery, run for the nearest exit, or you too might become a victim of their senseless violence.
Would you like to stop by for some tea and fruitcake?