I figured that headline would get your attention. Hey, if I can’t hold you with the dazzling dexterity of my writing, then I’ll do it with cheap headlines. I have no problem with that.
Two short bits today.
A few weeks ago, deep into a quiet night, I’m sitting at the intersection of a state highway and a county road. My squad car was getting rattled pretty good with Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ blasting outta the speakers, and I’m bashing my fist against the dash on the massive bass drum part and I sort of vaguely notice a car coming toward me on the highway.
As I’m in no hurry to do anything in particular, I let it pass and then turn in behind it. This is not one of those cop moments where I realize I’ve got something good in front of me. In fact, I hardly notice this car at all. It’s just another car in the middle of the night.
But it starts to slow down. The brake lights come on and then it starts moving toward the shoulder. This I notice. Hey, I’m not completely blind. When a car stops RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, my razor-sharp observational skills definitely kick in.
This kind of random stopping happens sometimes. People see a squad and flag me down for questions about court or arrestees or child custody or whatever.
I get to the driver’s side window and slowly it comes down. A woman stares at me, vague embarrassment on her face. She immediately tries to hand me her insurance and driver’s license, which she already has gathered.
“You okay?” I ask.
“Yeah, I know, I know. I wasn’t paying attention.”
She shakes her head and again tries to hand me her information.
I don’t take it. Instead, I watch her and try to figure out what the hell’s going on. Remember, I didn’t stop her. She stopped herself.
“What’d you pull over for?” I ask.
She looks really confused at that point. She glances at my car, I assume looking for the flashing red and blue lights…that weren’t flashing…and then back at me. “Uh…I…uh…I thought you were pulling me over.”
“But I was speeding.”
A long silence. Again, her confused look. If I am more of a sadist, I might chuckle at the simple, inelegant confusion ripe on her face.
“You’re not pulling me over.”
“You’re not gonna write me a ticket?”
“Hadn’t planned on it. But the night’s still young. Plans can change, I guess.”
“Uh…no, no. No. That’s fine.” A sheepish grin. “So I can go?”
“Unless you want to talk about something else.”
Now she grins. “Well, that was stupid of me, wasn’t it?”
Now I laugh. “Have a good night, ma’am.”
And she drives off. Easy as you please. But very slow. I guess she thinks that now that she’s put the thought in my head, I might watch her to see about writing her a ticket.
So I climb back in the crime cruiser, crank up Verdi, and off I go, back into a dark, quiet night.
A few nights ago, again a dark, quiet night, I find myself behind a car that’s swerving and driving a little erratically; both hallmarks of a drunk driver. So I pull it over and go through all my traffic stop stuff: radioing where I am, getting the license plate, letting dispatch know how many people are in the car, make/model/color of the car, etc., etc.
Then I head up to the car, the video tape running behind me, as it always is (yes, I’m one of those cops who has his videotape going ALL the time rather than NONE of the time, but that’s a different rant). I get about halfway between the cars and I hear?
Yeah. That instantly recognizable liquidy yet staccato sound of a stream of water hitting the ground.
So now I’m thinking not just a possible DUI, but public exposure, too. Wow, a morals charge, that could be fun.
Driver? Nothing. She’s just sitting there, waiting for me, not moving a muscle.
He’s good. Sly. Surreptitious. Staring ahead as though there is nothing going on at all. Except for his right hand. Barely out the window, slowly turning his plastic cup over and pouring out his beer.
Hence the pissing sound.
Then I hear the cup hit the ground. Tinktinktink.
So I change course and go to the passenger’s side window first. I snatch the cup from the ground, give it a sniff to make sure, then cock my head at the passenger.
He looks at me and says, “Damn.” But he doesn’t look angry, just amusedly annoyed it didn’t work.
“Nice try,” I said. “Come on out for me.”
He gets out and I cuff him and sit him down on the shoulder, still keeping an eye on the driver.
“You’re not under arrest, but you are being detained, okay?”
He laughed. “No problem, Officer, I ain’t going anywhere.”
He was cooperative and pleasant and had no problem with me citing him. In fact, between him and the driver, it was one of the more pleasant DUI investigations I’ve had in a while.
That’s it. Nothing earth shattering. No fights. No cows. No foot chases. Just a couple of amusing anecdotes. But it is getting warmer…summer’s a’coming…and that’s usually when the idiots come out.
I love this job.