Laugh

Laugh
Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Speed Trap

Don’t get me wrong. Some of my best friends are police officers. Well, maybe not my best friends, but I knew somebody once who was married to a police officer. And whenever a police officer calls trying to sell tickets to a circus or something, I always buy some. Well, if I have any money left after I get lottery tickets, and if my car insurance isn’t due. Also, I have fond memories of a considerate and sympathetic patrolman who let me off with a warning when I was beating a hasty path to what would be my Mom’s last Mother’s Day celebration. And that’s a fact.

But when it comes to speed traps, it’s Survivor: Blue Light. All alliances are off.

My husband and I were enjoying a Sunday afternoon drive, engaging earnestly in conversation, while I smacked bubble gum as fast as I talked. We had just left the preacher’s house and we were feeling pretty cocky about our future prospects. I favored paying the rent, while he was touting the benefits of blowing our money on groceries.

About that time we heard the one noise that’s worse than that gurgling sound that comes from your baby’s diaper during a pool party at the boss’s house. You couldn’t mistake this sound: a short blast from a police siren, close enough on our tail that it was apparent somebody in a position of authority wanted to chat with us.

We pulled over and waited, practicing our best law-abiding-citizen look. The officer, a graduate of the Rocky and Bullwinkle School of Beauty, apparently took advantage of the situation to check her hair and makeup, flip through her yearbook, and make reservations for her kindergarten reunion from military school before she approached our car.

“Hi.”

How can a person speak without separating their teeth?

“I’m officer Birddropping and I’ll be your public servant today. I couldn’t help but notice your haste to move through my jurisdiction and I have several interesting selections available for you this afternoon.”

She flipped open a well-worn notebook. “We’re offering a lovely $89 speeding ticket. It comes with a side order of four points off your license. There is also a $176 citation with a side of two points. Our special today, which you qualified for by neglecting to sign the back of your registration card like an uneducated baboon, is the $170 ticket for reckless operation of a vehicle. Had you deciphered the fine print on the back of your card and had you offered a DNA sample and cash alternative, you would not be eligible for this offer. This is your lucky day.”

We opted for the special.

“Excellent choice. May I also recommend the court date? You’ll be sorry if you don’t go for that opportunity. We’ll all meet there and make a day of it.”

Nothing says law and order like a little public humiliation.

Although the idea of spending the day in a two-bit courthouse with Officer Sunshine and Hanging Judge Judy sounded about as much fun as hand cleaning the cheese grater, we agreed to set the date. The officer presented us with our written invitation and leaned down to make eye contact.

“Slow down for me, now.” Which is legal talk for, “Take another spin through here real soon. You look like you have a bond that needs cashing.”

We thanked the officer politely and deftly chose the opposite direction as we left the parking lot. My beloved eyed me suspiciously.

“Congratulations. I remember the days when you would have hopped out of the car to go bra to badge with any chick with an attitude like hers. Today I didn’t have to bail you out of jail or pick pincurls out of your teeth.”

“I like to think I’m beyond all that.”

“Then what are you grinning about?” my husband asked, stroking his wallet consolingly.

“Officer Sunshine seemed to value the importance of DNA. So when she stomped past my window,” I said, slowly peeling the wrapper off a fresh piece of gum, “I left her a sample.”

3 comments:

the Bag Lady said...

Only you could make a speeding ticket that funny!
Love the fact that you have matured so much - no more bra to badge encounters....

plaidearthworm said...

Just shows why you're still the Queen of Snorts! Great post!

Anonymous said...

actually - it's when one has a senior moment prior to the age of senior accountability and buys a piece of wedgewood with the grocery money. One must have their priorities in order.