We were different people then. I wasn’t very good at saying ‘no’ and she used to litter.
After an off day driving on back roads til it wasn’t fumes, it was the ghost of fumes. Looking at weird shit on the side of random weird shit roads, west, then north, then back home.
Me working the pedal, her shifting. Laughing at the cassette deck devouring reels of thin magnetic tape, mixtapes of the love songs of our nectar soaked youth.
The sun was going away like a flashlight with a dying battery.
We wanted hamburgers and just one beer each. Little sips. We pulled into a strip mall with a new bar inside. Inside the place was dark. A dimly lit cave with Lou Reed singing low and wounded. I took a spot at the bar, she dug her hand in my pocket looking for quarters to put into the jukebox. Her hair was longer then. Her eyes seemed to glow in there. Small coals hovering as she left.
It wasn’t 30 seconds before I felt a clasp on my shoulder. It was Costa. Well, he kept bringing us beers.The food never came beer after beer after beer. Raising glasses! He was just so happy to see us in his brand new place. It felt good to feel wanted.
As we left. It was snowing. The first snow of the year. We were ripped and couldn’t make sense of life underneath the streetlight. We stumbled into my pickup truck, pulled out onto the road. It wasn’t a minute before I saw the red and blue lights flashing behind me. Whoop Whoop.
I pulled over. The snow coming down hard. She rolled down her window, started really talking it up with the officer. Lovey Dovey. Almost pillow talk. She was a saint and trying to distract him. He wasn’t distracted. The man said, “License and registration”. I couldn’t find it. I mean, I dug in the glovebox, but, it just wasn’t there. “Step out of the vehicle”
Now he had me on the side of the road. All the tests. Follow this pen light. Touch your nose. Walk the line. All the tests. I was done. This was it. They had me. They had me right where they wanted me.
“Alright, I know somebody’s been drinking tonight. I smelled it when I came to the window..”
“Officer, she’s wasted.”
He just glared at me.
“I go to the bar at the end of the night to pick up the drunk girls and get them home. It’s easier that way.”
The cop started laughing. I watched the snow landing on his bottom lip as it hung open as he just laughed and laughed. It was like he hadn’t laughed in twenty years. Snow sticking to his moustache. “I’m gonna try that one.” He said. “You know why I pulled you over right?”
“I saw a bunch of garbage come streaming out of the passenger side window.”
“She’s a drunk and a litterbug.”
That littering bitch. I’d have to kill her. Before the cop could handcuff me and drag me to the station, I’d have to slip away and quickly butcher her in the car. I glanced at the back of her head in my truck. She had a pretty head. Too bad I’d have to take it off with my bare hands.
The cop laughed again, “Get your paperwork in order, OK.”
Then- he let me go.
Yeah, no insurance card. No registration. In a town in famous for evil blood drinking cops, nothing better to do on a Saturday night, he just let me leave.
I drove us home in silence.
But when we got in the driveway, I pushed the cassette tape back in and it started to howl and pop and make all kinds of distorted noise and she leaned over and put her whole body onto me- as the snow blanketed the car, obscuring all of the world and the silly shit it insinuated was important.