Day 15, part 2
We got underway, fingers crossed,
and hoped to make Lafayette before night. We limped about five miles,
the car not willing to go 55 mph. I watched a cop car approach in the
distance, and wondered aloud which sap he was going to nail. I should've
known it would be us. His lights went on. I swore. We figured once we
shut the car off, it wouldn't start again.
Johnny Reb, the southern law
officer, got on his loudspeaker and said, "Driver, step out of the
car." Rory thought it was weird that the cop had me get out, instead
of him walking up to the car. I wasn't worried, when I picked up my speeding/reckless
driving/unsafe lane change ticket while playing Mario Andretti in Chicago
the cop made me go to him.
Officer Reb spoke to me through
his mirrored sunglasses--ever the Southern Lawman--he'd received reports
we were running people off the road. I laughed nervously and told him
we were broken down on the side of the road. He nodded and told me to
turn over the weapons and narcotics I had in the car. That caught me off
guard. I said, "I'm may be dumb enough to drive through the South
in a zebra-striped convertible with California plates, but I'm not dumb
enough to have any illegal substances in the car."
He told me if I turned over my
weapons and narcotics, the judge would go easier on us at sentencing time.
I was given the choice of letting him search the car where it sat, or
having it impounded where they'd give it a thorough going over with the
dogs. I gave him permission and hoped Rory had smoked all her hash in
Salt Lake City.
I was given the Miranda warning,
and told to sign a paper saying I was freely giving permission for my
car to be searched.
He started with my wallet, pulling
out my California driver's license, my Illinois driver's license, and
two fake California driver's licenses with the names "Bob Azlebub"
and "Richard Trenton Chase." A play on Beelzebub, and a Vampire
of Sacramento joke. Both had Dorothea Puente's address. I knew it was
a long shot that he'd catch on, but I was doomed if he did.
A second cop had pulled over
and walked up as he asked, "Why the fake IDs, son? It's a federal
offense to falsify government documents. I could take you in for this
alone, but I'm just going to add it to the list of felonies we take you
"They're so I can buy beer.
I'm underage," I said.
He nodded and said, "I've
got no problem with beer, just your narcotics and weapons. How old are
I stood there with two cops staring
at me, while a third cop approached and talked to Steve and Rory. The
were all wearing mirrored sunglasses, and two had mustaches. "I'm,
I'm nineteen. No, I'm twenty. I'm twenty. I had a birthday two months
ago. I'm twenty."
He said, "Why so scared,
boy? Is it the drugs and weapons you have in your car?"
"I've seen Deliverance,"
I said without thinking. Oh shit, I thought. Nice going. Good job, pea
The cop stared at me for a minute.
Just stood there and stared. He looked as if he wouldn't piss himself
if he was on fire. He was so cool. Finally he said in his Southern drawl,
"That's Hollywood, boy. Let's get this started."
He had me stand in front of his
car while they talked to Steve and Rory. He took their ID and stuck them
into his shirt pocket.
As they searched out bags, a
cop pulled out one of Rory's black bras and held it up laughing.
"This must be some kind
of a joke," he said. "Ain't no one wears anything like this."
"Are you sure you don't
have any weapons and narcotics," he asked Steve and Rory. They said
no. He looked at Rory then back to Steve. "Are you sure you don't
have any narcotics," he repeated.
"No sir," Steve said.
"What about marijuana,"
"No sir," Steve repeated.
I imagined wrestling a gun away
from one and shooting them all. Cop killer on the lam in Louisiana. I'd
die resisting arrest while standing on a water tank yelling, "Top
of the world, ma! Top of the world!" Plugged in the belly, I'd swan
dive to the pavement.
They popped open the trunk, as
I waited for them to find the Route 666 sign Steve and I tore down in
New Mexico. Another felony of destroying government property, and I'd
lose the cool sign we worked so hard to souvenir. They missed it. Too
big I guess. It wasn't what they were looking for, so they didn't see
it. They finished, and the first cop had me step to the rear of the patrol
car as the other two drove off.
1, of Day 15
3, of Day 15