Recently I made a trip up to the chilly north of West Palm Beach. It was dusk when I began the journey southbound and all around me motorists drove with Kamikaze urgency. Hundreds of steroidal vehicles zoomed all around and I was terrified to even change lanes, and when I did I noticed I was whispering prayers.
After what felt like several anxiety filled hours I was distraught to discover I had yet to pass Miami. Eventually it was late and dark and I pulled off the highway and parked. I sat still for a moment, allowing my body to catch up with the gravitational pull. As the molecules adjusted to time and space I turned on the interior lights and retrieved my stuff, phone, sandwich, etc, as everything had lunged to the floor from so many taps on the brakes. With another hour and a half to get home I rolled around until I was facing the highway where I waited for the oncoming rushing cars to pass and then I dragged out to the road and pressed the gas, spluttering out in a wide arc. Naturally, in the echoingly silent night, I had not used my turn signal.
As I was righting things I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a parked car. A double take and I cheap car mechanic spotted the row of lights across the roof. Anxiety stabbed momentarily as, passing, I saw a person within was raising arms to the steering
wheel. Cold fear flash-froze me as all the clues fell into place. And then his infernal headlights flamed on, the cruiser appearing to elevate like a hovercraft from hell.
I stomped the accelerator. In my rearview mirror I could see the pulsing progress of the cop. He was coming for me! Adrenaline flooded and I remembered advice from ex-boyfriend Criminal Mike, all those stories he repeated, ad nauseam when he was drunk, all of them starting with, “Back in the day…” and then would unspool some tale of extremely bad choices wrapped up in his endless supply of good luck.
A gentle curve in the road afforded me my chance and I cut the wheel hard and pulled into a parking lot and turned off the engine and the headlights and the interior lights which are programed to switch on for a grace period. A feature designed without the needs of criminals in mind.
With my eyes half closed I stealthily observed Mr Cop cruise slowly by. He was staring ahead and he didn’t spot me. I exhaled in a lumpy uneven terror filled manner and talked myself down from the ledge. Criminal Mike had always stressed the importance of patience. He would go so far as to crawl into a hole and sleep for several hours until the coast was clear.
And then Eureka! I watched Mr Cop returning northbound. He had given up his pursuit. I gave it a little longer and then I was free to sail on homeward. Free to gloat at last!