Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bookfield, Midnight Move - Part 1

It was a warm clear night. I got carried away selling because I was doing well and it had gotten late seemingly all of the sudden. It must have been almost nine o’clock and I was still pedaling for home on the Macon Highway. I was trying to make good time coming home, so I rode at a pretty good clip. This was a pretty isolated area; no houses, plenty of crickets. I knew that here was a long down hill ahead, and when I got there I was really moving. I’m sure that old Sears three speed never went so fast. My tire driven headlight shone really bright at that speed.

A car passed me in the oncoming lane and I noticed it was a police car. To my surprise, the police car made a speedy u-turn. I guess I just heard tires stroking the pavement behind me and knew what it was. The car came up behind me with the blue and red lights on top engaged. One whoop of the siren answered my question, they were pulling me over. I stopped at the bottom of the hill and got off the bike. I felt kind of vulnerable standing out on the road like that.

The officer left the headlights on and also put his spot light on me. I couldn’t see his face when he got out of the car, but it was a one man car; he was alone. He walked over to where I was standing. “Do you have any identification, driver’s license?” he said.

I fumbled with my wallet and handed him my Parchment employment card and sales permit.

“What’s the problem officer?”

“No driver’s license?”

“I don’t drive yet.”

“Do you know how fast you were going down that hill?”

Aw, come on now I thought. This was too much. “No I don’t, Sir.” I answered politely.

“You were coming so fast down that hill that I thought you were a motorcycle. Technically, you were over the speed limit for this area. What are you packing in that case?”

“Packing?” not understanding what he meant.

“You heard me. Do you have a weapon in there?”

“No Sir.” I opened the case slowly, while he held his flashlight so he could see. He looked carefully in between the books and under the lid.

“Well, you don’t have anything in there but books! How can you feel safe out here, at night without a weapon? There’s plenty of room in there for a pistol.” he said.

This caught me off guard, and I didn’t quite know what to say. At least the officer’s mood had changed from giving me a hard time to protecting me.

“I guess there is room.” I answered. The thought of ‘packing’ had never occurred to me.

“Haven’t you heard about the murders of women in town? That’s where you’re headed at this time of night? Look, let me take you down to the station house and loan you a standard issue police 38'. It’ll fit right there in the lid.”

“I don’t know how to use a gun. I’d probably shoot myself in the foot with it.”

“You really ought to be packing something out here.” he tried to convince me.

“Gee, thanks but I wouldn’t know what to do with it. But maybe you could give me a lift home seeing as how it’s so late?”

“I could drive you home, but what about your bike?”

“That’s easy!” I said from experience, “It fits in the trunk, and we can use my bungee cord to hold the lid down.” He opened the trunk of the cruiser and I had that bike in there and the trunk lid tied down too fast for him to entertain a second thought on the matter. Now I would get home at a decent hour, although probably too late to go to MacDonald’s. I went to the back passenger side door to wait for him to unlock it.

“Why not come and sit up front with me?” he said. “It’s not like you’re a criminal and have to sit in the back.”

“Oh, that’s okay.” I answered. “I’ll sit in the back.” He conceded. But he made me suspicious. Off we drove towards Athens. I am always a little nervous when I take a ride, and this was no different. The whole way he pulled me over was weird. He struck up a conversation, looking at me in the rear view mirror. He asked me how long I was in town for, that sort of thing. Then, the tone of the conversation changed.

“Are you married?” he asked. “I don’t suppose you are. What husband would let a pretty thing like you out on the road to sell books all summer? But you could be engaged or even have a boyfriend. Am I going to hear it from some guy who’s your boyfriend or are you free and clear?”

Before I could answer, a guy in a sporty red metal flake kit car pulled up next to us at the stop light and honked his horn. “Hey Joey, how are you doing? What’s that sweet little thing doing in the back of your car?”

“I’m just giving her a ride home, Hank.” he explained.

“Uh huh. You stay out of trouble now, you hear?” The light changed and we rode on. Hank scoped me out big time as he drove by. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car.

“Um, yeah. I have a boyfriend. Hey look, this is my street! Could you let me off right here, please?” I asked, lying about the street. We were just at the corner of Reese and Milledge Streets, two blocks south of my street. There was no way I wanted this cop to know where I lived.

“Oh, which house is it; I’ll drop you at your door.”

“Thank you, but this is close enough.” I was willing to take my chances with the stabbing-rapist at this point. The rear door was not locked, so when the car came to the corner, I got out. I thanked him again as he took my bike out of the trunk. I waited until he had driven off to get on the bike and ride home.

Mary was home already. She sat on her bed recording her day’s sales on the forms. “Sue, I was thinking that we should move.” she said.

“Really? Why, I like it here.”

“Well, Mrs. Epps told me today that she wants to raise our rent. We could do better. I visited a house just one block down on Meigs Street that is cheaper and has more room. It’s a studio apartment. It has three beds and a kitchenette and, get this, a private bath room with shower. We could cook our own meals! The rent is only as much as Mrs. Epps wants to ask us for.”

“Wow, I can’t believe it. A studio apartment for that little money?”

“Yeah, and the elderly couple that own the house are really sweet. We can go see it tomorrow morning if you like.”

“Sure, sounds great. I’d love to have a private bath room. But we were able to get this low price with Mrs. Epps by renting for the whole summer.”

“Yeah, but she wants to renege by raising the cost!”

“You’re right.”

“Just go look at the place. If you agree, I’ll handle everything with Mrs. Epps. Can I take my bath first?” I nodded to both questions.


Ryan said...

i always love your stories u know how just 2 write enough 2 keep me coming back. oh and thanx so much 4 your well wishes.

Sue said...

Thanks Ryan. You are more than welcome.

Brad said...

I'm with Ryan. Your writing is excellent sweetie. Don't ya just hate those spammers like anonymous there who spam even blogs? Wish I could send a bolt of lighting down the line to the computers of those types of idiots!

Sue said...

Thanks for the compliment Brad. That's what you get when your Mom's an English teacher I guess. Yeah, every now and then I go through and delete the spams, but they just come back. If you figure out that lightening thing, think of me! :)

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