“What the fuck,” the old man said. “What you stopping me for? I ain’t done nothing.”
I’d pulled him over, late at night, as he drove away from a bar in one of our small towns on the west side. He’d been drifting a little bit in the lane. Probably nothing, but I like to check. Because sometimes drifting is a sign of drunk driving. Sometimes it’s a sign of texting while driving (though probably not with an 80 year old man) and sometimes it’s just a sign of shitty driving.
“What I done? I ain’t done nothing, you son of a bitch.”
I wanted to say, “Sir, you’ve violated the common decency of grammar,” but I thought that would be less than professional so instead, I said, “Well, you were drifting a little in the lanes and I wanted to make sure you were okay.”
See, usually when I say that, especially to older drivers, they get all gushy and happy that someone is checking on them. They know they’re older, they know they might be having a medical problem. So they are quite appreciative when someone’s taking the time to make sure they’re not…you know…dead.
“I’m fine, goddamnit. I wasn’t drifting and you know it, fucker.”
“Sir, we can go back to my squad and watch the video, if you’d like.”
“Damn straight.” But he made no move to get out of his truck. “What’s your name?”
“I’m gonna talk to the sheriff about you.”
“I’ll get you his phone number before we’re done.”
“Goddamnit. I ain’t done nothing wrong and you know it, fucker.”
“Sir, can I see your license and insurance, please?”
“I ain’t got it,” he yelled, his old man spittle flying all over my face (and making me wonder if he’s got AIDS or Hep C from all the old ladies he’s schtupping with his Viagara prescription). Rummage, rummage, rummage and out pops his insurance card.
“Sir, this is expired.”
He snatched it back from me. “I know that, asshole.”
“Well, do you have valid insurance?”
“Do you know who I am?” Still he yelled and his eyes bugged out and his waddle bounced around and caught the red and blue light my squad car tossed.
“Well, no,” I said. “Because you don’t have your license. Now, do you not have it because it’s at home, or do you not have it because it’s suspended?”
“Goddamnit, I’m getting outta here.”
But he made no move to drive away. I think even he knew that would ratchet up his night in a really bad way.
“Fucker,” he added.
At that moment, my professionalism slipped…for just a second. “Wow, you’re quite the little asshole, aren’t you?”
But rather than yell back at me, he stared, like he’d just been slapped. “What?”
“I am not.”
“Well, you’re being mean to me.”
“I am not…fucker.”
“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”
At this point, I knew he wasn’t drunk, though I was fairly certain he’d had one or two. I asked because it’s part of my standard patter and because – in this one case – I thought it would be fun to poke him with a stick.
“Drinking? Goddamnit. Why are you – ”
“Sir, have you been drinking?”
“Well…yeah…I have. I had a couple of beers.”
“Okay, well that’s not too bad. I don’t think you’re drunk, I just thought you might be having a medical problem.”
Then he laughed. I know, I know, surprised me damn near into a second heart attack. Laughed and while it was a weak, mean old man’s laugh, it seemed pretty genuine. “I farm 700 goddamn acres and that ain’t killed me. I don’t think no beer’s gonna pro’ly gonna kill me, either.”
No, I wanted to say. What’s going to kill you is when your wife and kids get together late one night while you’re sleeping and run a sword straight through your black little heart…that’s what’s going to kill you.
So I an a check on him and got one of our business cards, upon which I put my name and the Sheriff’s phone number.
“All right, sir, I think we’re done.” I gave him the business card. “Call the Sheriff and set up an appointment. I’ll come in and the three of us can watch the video of this entire encounter.”
He laughed again and tore the card up – carefully depositing it in his truck rather than on the highway – and said, “Naw, I don’t need that. Thanks for watching out for me…fucker.”
Then he stuck his hand out and I shook it and he drove off and I stood on the side of the road, like a retard, confused as to what had just happened, and thinking, Man, you just can’t make this crap up.
I then immediately wrote it all down ’cause you know it’s gonna be in a book someday. Guy’ll probably want royalties, too…fucker.