There is a Thin Line

This was just the kind of action I was looking for.  It’d been a slow night and coffee just wasn’t cutting it this time around.  I’d been on duty for 6 hours—hadn’t seen a single speeder.  I was beginning to wonder why I’d joined the highway patrol, dedicating my life to an apparent world of monotony when this godsend of a lady flew by me at 95 miles per hour.  What excited me more than her speed, though, was her swerve: an awe-inspiring fishtail that, once again, awakened me to the thrills of the highway and all of its vast mysteries and dangers…

It was nice and dark out at that point, probably around midnight, and I was really enjoying the drama of the sporadic red and blue flashes of my lights cutting through the night, reflecting off of this lady’s car and heightening the drama of the pursuit.  It took some time for her to slow her zigging zag to a halt, and I felt very smooth and professional as I pulled in effortlessly behind her, assaulting the back of her car with dust and pebbles.  She was clearly drunk; there was no way she’d notice.

I opened the door and began to step outside when I noticed that the lady seemed to have the same idea as me. She opened her car door with impressive force—so much, in fact, that it immediately bounced back and slammed shut on her outstretched ankle.

“FUCK!” she shrieked as her ankle slinked back into the confines of the rusty red Oldsmobile.

“Ma’am, you need to remain inside of your vehicle,” I warned, choking back a snort of amusement.  This was more than I ever could have hoped for.  After a full day of watching reasonable drivers pass me by at reasonable speeds, a little entertainment was well deserved.

I approached the driver’s side window, anxiously anticipating what was sure to be an inspiring encounter.  The lady still hadn’t rolled her window down so I rapped against it lightly with my knuckles.  From within, I could hear muffled cursing and watched as she struggled to stuff a fairly large bottle into her glove compartment while simultaneously wrestling with the seatbelt, obviously attempting to pull one over on me and click it before a ticket.

I knocked once more on her window, this time a little harder.  She jumped, clicking her seatbelt into place, and looked out at me with watery blue eyes chunkily bordered with dirty black eye gunk and something gooey resembling mascara, much of which was running down the sides of her face.  Her thin lips, smeared and thickened with lipstick, were stretched into a vague smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.  There was lipstick in her teeth too.

“Ma’am, please roll down your window,” I said loudly so that she could hear me through the glass.

“Ok, ok, ok, ok, OK!” she responded, the final utterance bursting forth from the car as the window was lowered.

“Ma’am,” I started, “Have you been drinking tonight?”

“Whattaya think? You think I’m the kinda person that’d drink?  I’ve got kids, mister, four of ‘em and I raised ‘em good.  Don’t you go accusin’ me of bein’ an alcoholic—you don’t have the RIGHT.”

She ended the slurred statement impressively with a belch—an effective persuasive technique.  Honest to god, I could barely hold it in.  This lady was comedic gold.

“Ma’am, do you know how fast you were driving?” I asked.

“Wasn’t even a mile over 75!  You think I’m a monster, or what? I got a baby in the back, I’m no idiot,” she gestured with one flailing arm to the backseat where there quietly sat a child who looked to be about three or four years old.  She didn’t have a seatbelt on.  Staring at me blankly, her watery blue eyes only a little bit more focused than her mother’s, she hugged a decapitated Barbie doll and smiled at me blearily.

“Alright, ma’am, first of all, the speed limit is not 75, it’s 65.  Either way, you were speeding.  You passed me going 95 miles per hour.  Also, neither you nor your child was wearing a seatbelt, which is both unsafe and against the law.  You vehicle was swerving–”

“Whattaya think you’re talkin’ about?? I’m wearin’ a goddamn seatbelt!” she interrupted, gesturing at the recently positioned item, “Here, here, here…it’s fine.  Lemme just show you my license, insurance, whatever it is you wanna see.”

She fumbled for her wallet, removing from it her license, and then reached for the glove compartment.  As soon as it was open, the bottle she had apparently forgotten she’d hidden just a moment ago tumbled out.  It was quite visibly a half empty bottle of Kamchatka vodka.

With shockingly quick reflexes for someone so clearly inebriated, the lady snatched up the bottle and tossed it under the backseat, within her daughter’s reach.

“Was just at the grocery store, bought some cooking vinegar,” she slurred, with an uneasy little smile that exposed too many lipsticky teeth.  I couldn’t believe this lady.  To acknowledge the absurdity of this would be unprofessional, but I could only suppress the raging amusement for so long.  This woman was ridiculous to the point of being inhuman, like a cartoon character who happens to be really, really drunk.

“You are clearly intoxicated, ma’am.  I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car.”

“Fuckin’ crazy…you have no right…” she mumbled as she tumbled out of the car.  I caught her by one arm before she could tip all the way over.

“Lemme go, lemme go. It’s just the heels…a new pair. Lemme GO,” she bellowed, and pulled away roughly.  Shockingly, she managed to remain in an upright position, though there was definitely some heavy swaying involved.

“Ok, ma’am, I need you to take 10 steps in a straight line away from the car and then 10 steps back,” I instructed, wondering how far she’d make it.  Turns out, it wasn’t very far.

She managed to totter in a forwardish direction a couple of steps and then flopped down to the ground hard.

“It’s just the new heels, you ASS HOLE!” she screeched, her voice breaking on the word “ass.”  She started to cry a bit.  Her kid must’ve heard too, because then she started crying from inside the car.  I guess my willpower’s not that strong because that’s when I started to laugh. And it was the best laugh I’d had all day.




^My callous impersonation of the poor, drunk, fictional soul


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