It's 3:50 PM when I finally awaken from my uneasy slumber. There's this overwhelming feeling that I have to do something today, or the something will not be done. I turn on the computer and check my calendar, to see if I "jotted" down any notes. "Post Office Box Fee Due Today" I have typed. Good GAWD, how can it already be the last day of June? I only have about 20 minutes before the Post Office closes. "No time for a shower," I say to myself in my head, only it comes out of my mouth, and I worry for a moment that I might be turning into one of those crazy people that talks to themselves about stock options at Embers. They never have time for a shower, it seems.
Realizing that I don't have the $44.00 I need to pay the Post Office People, I frantically search for my checkbook. After about five minutes, I have found every checkbook I have ever owned, going all the way back to 1992, with exception to the one that I can actually use. I debate over writing a bad check, but I think that's like 70 years in a gay prison with no Chastity Belt. I gather up my three credit cards, and quickly call their 1-800 numbers to see if any of the corporate bastards grew a heart and wiped out the thousands of dollars that I owe them. Two have closed my account completely, and one will not let me use it until I pay my outstanding debt. Great, now I'm going to turn into one of those crazy people that talk to themselves about stock options while doing the dishes to pay for the meal they couldn't afford at Embers. I concede to the fact that I will have to stop at the bank and make a $50.00 withdrawal from my account. This will leave me with $10.00 to live on for the next 7 days. At least ducks are easily frightened, and, if you scare them away at just the right time, there's usually some moldy bread on the ground.
I grab my jacket, run out the door, hop into my car, drive to the bank, withdraw my money, fake laugh when the teller looks at what's left in my account and says, "I don't see early retirement in your future," hop back into my car, drive to the post office, arrive as they are locking the doors, beg them to let me in, get allowed in by some guy that lets me know he's irritated that I'm making him stay two minutes late, pay the pissy guy $44.00 to keep a Post Office Box open for contributions that I know Juicy Cerebellum readers will never send in, hop into my car for a third time, mumble something to myself about wishing I would have had the money to invest in Krispy Kreme, come to terms with the fact that I'm already one of those crazy people that talk to themselves about stock options, I just don't do it at Embers, wait for traffic to clear, so I can make my turn and go home, get bored waiting and start adding up all of my debts, wonder where the next one will come from, turn left when the traffic finally does clear, realize that I just ran a red light, see a squad car behind me, and pull my car over to the side of the road, and wait.
"What happened back there?" He asks, as though he was born yesterday. "I ran a red light," I say, as though answering someone that was born 24 hours ago. "I didn't even realize . . ." I say, before being interrupted by Yesterday-Man. "You just gapped it out. Heard that one before. I'm going to need to see your identification." This was the question I was dreading. About 10 months ago, my mom was helping me move junk out of my apartment, and she put a bag of "important" stuff in a place where it wouldn't get lost. Regrettably, it was also a place where it wouldn't be found. My ID was in that magical safety patch my mother took advantage of one day in a lonely basement apartment. It probably still is, actually. I was never too worried about it, being that stealing my identification for money would be about as useful as holding up a store that just went out of business. And, hey, I have to get a new license this November, anyway; why not save money, and just wait to get the piece of plastic then?
I look at the humorless face and into the hollow eyes of a man at least 3 years younger than me, and about 10 times more powerful, and tell him that I don't have my ID with, but I do have a receipt for a Post Office Box with my name on it. "Will that do?" I ask, as though I was born yesterday. He almost rolls his eyes at this point, but doing that may cause him to blink, and the robotic facade would melt away faster than his sculpted muscles will the day he feels he has "job security." "I'll need to see your identification." "You don't need to see my identification," is almost my reply, but I decide that this is one Stormtrooper Jedi Mind Tricks won't work on. "All I have is this receipt from the Post Office," I repeat. He takes it, asks for my middle name and date of birth, and says he has to "call it in." "It'll be a minute," he tells me, as he walks away with that "Bad Cop in T2" sort of strut that will make him look like a grumpy Santa Claus, once he develops a gut.
Twenty minutes later, he returns.
"Please don't give me a ticket," I say aloud. He gives me a ticket. So, there's where my next debt is coming from. "We all make mistakes driving," he reveals, "but running a red light can be dangerous. I have to give you a citation." I look it over. He explains to me that I don't have to go to court, if I pay the $80.00 before the 17th of July. "That's a lot of money!" I yell out, startling him into losing his T2 cool. "I don't set the prices," he tells me. "No," I say, "you just work here." He ignores my joke and reminds me that I have to either pay the ticket before the 17th, or go to court. "Well, then," I say, "I'll see you in court." I crouch down for a few seconds, waiting for him to shoot me for my insubordination, but the gun remains in its holster. After giving me dirty looks for about 30 seconds, he walks away. "Thanks," I say. He doesn't return with a "you're welcome."
I start my car and drive off. "That was kind of sucky," I tell myself. "It wouldn't be so bad if I would have invested in Krispy Kreme and made a fortune, but I can't afford this. It's not fair that Bill Gates pays the same price for running a red light as I do. They should socialize ticket prices!" I pause a second, suddenly hungry for Embers. I decide getting home would be a better idea. I haven't been pulled over in years, and the whole experience has me kind of frazzled. "At least it will be a while until I'm stuck with a cop in my window, again," I grumble, trying to sound optimistic, so myself won't know how crappy I feel.
About two minutes down the road, I'm pulled out of an interesting conversation I'm having with my brain about the Dow Jones Industrial Average, by a turtle who's making his way slowly across the road in that special way only turtles and senior citizens with walkers can do. I quickly swerve, to avoid hitting the dawdling creature. Upon doing so, a cop car pulls up behind me and turns on his lights. I am forced to pull over . . . again.
The policeman walks up to my automobile and I roll down the window. "Could I see some identification?" he asks. "I don't have any identification, but I can show you the notes the other cop that pulled me over five minutes ago wrote upon my receipt from the Post Office." Cop # 2 seems slightly confused, but hides it by mixing snot with air, causing an odd snorting noise to emanate from his nose. "You seem to be weaving quite a bit," he tells me, "have you been drinking?" "I was swerving to avoid hitting a turtle," I reply. The cop looks around, working his hands across his belt while sniffing deeply in that way rednecks sometimes do to indicate that their brain is working really hard on concentrating on something extremely easy. "I don't see any turtle," he returns. At that, I take a look around, and the turtle seems to have disappeared in much the same way that my ID did 10 months before.
"Would you mind stepping out of the car and taking a breathalyzer?" The redneck police person asks. "I haven't had a sip to drink. It's only 4:00 in the afternoon." "4:55," the policeman corrects me, as though the alcoholics really start going wild around 4:22. "Then," cop # 2 asks, "could you show me this turtle?" I sit a moment, wondering if this is all just a dream. It's starting to seem too surrealistic for reality, even a reality as bizarre as the one I'm stuck living in. The cop jolts me from my thoughts by demanding that I step out of the car to find the turtle, "NOW."
I step out of the car, complacently, figuring he just wants to see if I'm staggering, and start looking for the turtle. The policeman joins me in my quest. He actually slaps his palms on his knees, as though calling a dog. I debate over yelling, "here boy," but decide he might think I'm as dumb as he is, and book me for impersonating a cop. Dozens of people drive past us, in our great turtle search; I can only imagine what they are saying. "Hey, honey - there's that guy that was just pulled over a couple miles back, walking around the road with another cop. Maybe he's got a thing for boys in blue. This could be some elaborate three-way!"
I finally venture onto the grass in hopes that the reluctant turtle has made it off of the road, and back into nature. "Damn you, turtle," I say to the turtle that I can't find, causing me to worry for a moment that I might be turning into one of those crazy people that talk to invisible turtles in coffee-houses late in the evening. When I've just about given up all hope, I see the turtle struggling to get over a small mound of dirt, in that way only turtles and really small midgets can do. "THERE IT IS!" I scream, feeling vindicated. The cop sees the turtle and comments on how we should kick it. "Uh, maybe some other time," I say. He tells me that he was just kidding, and rubs a wet nostril on his uniform.
I get back in the car and drive home. Once I arrive, I look over my ticket. I see that it is marked as the 29th. My computer calendar jumped one day ahead. Foiled again by all of this damn technology! I drive to Embers and wait to be served; there's a pile of pancakes that's just dying to hear my incredible tale.
Email me because I don't like it when you don't and I'll stop writing updates.
©2000 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. If you copy this, without my permission, I'll send that "cop" in the title-graphic above to use his "nightstick" on your sorry ass.
Back to The Juicy Cerebellum