I was driving down I-90 on my way back to college. My best friend in the front seat, my girl in the back, and the speedometer read 92-94 mph downhill. Sean was late for a date with the then love of his life. We had gone back to Massachusetts for a nonreligious long weekend.
“This drive usually takes two hours fifteen minutes to Schenectady.” Hand up to stop Tom from speaking. “I know we’re well behind schedule” by that time we were 45 minutes, ”We’re 15 minutes ahead of where we should be, so sit back and relax, I’ve got this”
“OK. But, if I’m more than 10 minutes late I’ll be screwed,” exhaled Sean while attempting to relax.
Looking to the back seat, “Babe pick a good driving song, we’ve got some ground to cover.” Becky scrolls through her IPod, clicks stream through the speakers. The crackling and lead in piano riff of Linkin Parks’s, In The End, begin to fill the car.
Pedal to the floor of my ’95 Cadillac Deville as we ascend the mountain. In unison “It starts with one…” carelessly singing along passing RV, minivans, and chumps going the speed limit. The speedometer read 84 mph. Cresting the hill the valley opens before us, I let off the gas to let gravity do some of the work as well as conserve gas. Scanning the sides of the road, no cops, I feather the gas to encourage more speed. 85, 88, 90, 93, 98 the engines governor kicks in impeding a higher velocity. “I tried so Hard! And got so Far! But in the End, It doesn’t even ma”
“Oh SHIT that’s a cop!!” apply the brakes, toeing the line between an abrupt slowdown and screeching tires. “I wonder what he clocked me at?” turning the radio down as his lights a siren come on. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” as my heart beats in my throat. My palms are soaked as I pull to the side of the road and kill the engine.
He steps out of his vehicle and I watch him approach from my mirror. I’m visibly shaking like I got caught mid-heist.
“Good afternoon officer.” Cars whiz by.
“Do you know how fast you were going?” his hand hovering over his holster.
“I believe I was going 75, sir,” my stomach in knots, his fingers twitch as he looks at my passengers. Tom, star defensive tackle on our college football team with a 3.8 GPA, or a six foot three big black man. He looks the back and sees Becky a sweet innocent white girl pure as un-driven as snow, from the countryside. And back to me another defensive tackle on our college football team with a 3.2 GPA, or six foot two intimidating black male.
Visibly nervous, “Do you know how fast you were going?” his hands begin to shake.
“Well I just got bigger tires put on in preparation for winter, but my speedometer said 75 maybe 78, sir.”
“I clocked you at 89.” Looking back to Becky, “Is everything OK here?”
My voice cracks, “Yes officer, we’re rushing back to Albany to make it in time to see Tom’s daughter be born, sir.”
“Uh huh, license and registration please,” his hand still hovering over his now unlocked holster. His Glock’s safety clicks off.
Sweaty and shaking, “I..I. I have to reach into my back pocket for my license.” His hand rests on the handle of his pistol as I slowly lean right and pull out my wallet. Clenched between my middle and pointer fingers it begins to slide out of my pocket. It fumbles to the floor my hearts stops waiting for the pop that would end my life. Making eye contact with the officer, my hand runs over old chips and gravel as I grope around for my wallet that seems to have sprouted legs, “I found it. I’m bringing it up now.” His demeanor intensifies until he sees the whole wallet. Placing it on my lap I find my license and hand it over.
“O. Ok. Now your registration,” as his hand rounds the grip.
“It’s.. It is in the glove compartment, sir.” The officer lowers himself to get a better view as Tom is instructed to lift one hand off his lap and find the registration in the sea of paper in my glove box. After 15 seconds: that felt like 10 minutes, he finds it. The paper shakes like a leaf in a storm as he hands it over.
“Give me your keys,” he barks with an air of fear. I hand them to him. “Miss, I’m going to need your ID as well.”
Offended by all that has taken place, “Excuse you, I’m not the one driving,” Becky quips.
“Babe just give it to him. Please.”
With a sigh, she hands it over. Silence as he walks away. In the rearview I see him running my information through the system. Cars pass no one speaks.
5 minutes later, he returns, hands me my license, registration, and a ticket, “Miss Eisenman can you step out of the vehicle please,” his hand on the pistol’s grip, “There appears to be something wrong with your ID.”
She steps out and follows the officer to the rear driver’s side quarter panel, “Are you OK? Are these men friends of yours? Are you being held against your will?” Can be heard through the car’s open windows.
“You think they kidnapped me? Ha, no,” the wit I fell in love with shined, “They’re my boyfriends, I love to be the middle of the Eifel Tower. What kind of backwoods racist are you? Fuck you. Am I being kidnapped? Ha! Go die in a ditch you pig-headed piece of shit… Does that answer your question?” She walks past him slams her door shut.
He walks back up to my window. Hands my keys, “You all have a good evening.”
Becky sticks her head out the window as I pull on to the highway, “See you in court you no nuts having prick”
We made it 8 minutes late.
3 months later the 3 of us arrive for my hearing, the officer doesn’t, my ticket gets thrown out.