Tue 26 Feb 2008
Miracle On The 101
Daniel’d been pushing the little hatchback southbound on the Hollywood Freeway just about as fast as she would go. So focused was he on getting to Jess’ apartment, when he finally picked up the police car’s lights flashing red and blue behind him he honestly didn’t know if they’d been tailing him for a few seconds or a few miles.
His foot leapt off the gas pedal and he hit the right turn signal and began picking his way through the traffic flow and across the lanes, coming to a stop on a little island between the lanes and the The Vermont offramp. He dutifully turned off the engine, rolled down his window and placed both hands on the steering wheel.
Watching the officers get out of their car, he wondered exactly how drunk he was. The beers and shots he’d glumly put away that night at the Casa Vega’s bar pretty much left little doubt, but the more important question was whether or not it would be obvious to the officers. In hindsight, perhaps it hadn’t been such a good idea to act on the irrational impulse that the only way to salvage the mess he made was to go across town to her at midnight — especially if he instead wound up in jail with a DUI hung around his neck.
“Just great!” he yelled.
“Excuse me?” asked the officer who’d arrived beside the car, shining a flashlight at him.
‘I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t mean anything. It’s just been a helluva night that looks like it’s just gotten worse.”
“I’ll need to see your license, registration and proof of insurance, please.”
“Yes sir. My wallet’s in my back pocket. and my registration is in the glove box.”
He moved slowly in retrieving them.
“Do you know why we stopped you?”
“Well, you had been doing 85 mph for the first mile we were behind you, but you got up to 90 for the next one.”
“Yes sir,” he said, handing everything through the window to the officer who shined his light on the license.
“Mr. Stice, the speed limit is 65. Might I ask why you’re in such a hurry?”
And that’s when Daniel burst into tears so outrageously he surprised both the cop and himself.
“My girlfriend and I had a fight,” he said through the sobs. “And if I don’t get over there and try to straighten things out I’m pretty sure we’re finished!”
The way the cop initially recoiled from the raw emotion you’d think Daniel was contagious, but he quickly recovered and shot a wide-eyed look at his partner, who just shrugged in return.
“All right now,” he said to Daniel who’d dropped his head onto the steering wheel. “Just calm down. I’m going to run a check on your license and vehicle and then I’ll be back. So hang tight.”
“Yes sir,” Daniel whimpered, a little embarrassed by the display but also more than a little pleased by the diversion it created. And a minute later the officer returned, handing it all back to Daniel — everything but a ticket to sign.
“We’re going to cut you a break and let you off with a warning tonight, Mr. Stice, on the condition that you don’t exceed the speed limit the rest of the way to your girlfriend’s house. Okay?”
Daniel’s heart leapt, but outwardly he still played the griever, sniffling and wiping the tears from his eyes. “Thank you so much, officer!”
“All right then. Drive safe — and I hope things work out.”