Friday, May 5, 2017

The Arnold Palmer Part 6



Read the previous chapters here: 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5


-Begin Part 6

The crumpled hood stared at him as he sped down the block. It seemed to be asking him, "Was that really a better idea than calling a cab?"


"Shut up," Steve said, and stepped harder on the gas. 

Within a few minutes, he saw the on-ramp for the highway. 

"Finally." 

Once he got on the highway, it would be smooth sailing for about half an hour. Then he could finally get that Arnold Palmer. And a painkiller. His toe was pounding. Any time he moved his foot, it got worse, so he was doing his best to avoid braking. He'd really have to see a doctor tomorrow. He had a serious headache from the whiplash, too.

As he flipped his blinker to turn on to the highway, he saw a glimmer of red and blue lights in his rear-view. Usually he would get a slight feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach whenever he saw those lights, even if he hadn't done anything wrong. This time, he assured himself that the lights weren't for him. His luck couldn't possibly be that bad.

Unfortunately, no matter how bad things are, they can always get worse. 

The lights rapidly got closer and he soon heard the "whoop" of the police cruiser as it pulled up behind him.

He almost cried as he slowly pulled his car to the side of the road, mere yards away from the on-ramp.

"I just want to get home," he groaned as he put the car in park. "Why can't I get home?"

After a few grueling minutes waiting for the police officer, a young, clean-shaven man in a crisp blue uniform came to his window and asked for the usual paperwork.

For an instant, Steve knew deep in his heart that he didn't have his registration or insurance or license on him. He was absolutely sure that something would be missing and the cop would give him a huge fine or even take him in to the station. That's clearly where this day was headed.

But his fears were allayed when he found the documents he needed. He even double checked everything to make sure it wasn't expired. He breathed a deep sigh of relief, and with a beaming smile on his face, handed the paperwork to the officer.

"What's so funny?" the cop asked.

"Sorry?"

"You got a big shit-eating grin on your face. Wanna tell me what's so funny?"

"No...it's just...I had a really long day."

"I can tell," the officer said as he pointed to the crumpled hood. "What happened there?"

"Long story."

"You sure you should be driving this thing?"

"Oh yeah. It drives fine, it's just cosmetic damage."

"Well it looks like it could use some serious cosmetic surgery."

In the silence that followed, Steve could tell the cop wanted some recognition of his joke, but he just didn't have it in him to respond with even the slightest indication that he recognized the cop's "wit." In fact, the only energy he had left was currently being used to prevent himself from slapping the look of self-satisfaction off the cop's perfectly shaven face.

After a seemingly endless awkward silence, the officer said, "I'll be right back." He then slowly walked to his vehicle and got in. 

"Well it looks like it could use cosmetic surgery," Steve mumbled to himself in a high-pitched tone. "Hilarious. Jackass."


After more agonizing moments of waiting, Steve's mind began to wander. What was the officer looking up on his computer anyway? He had no arrests, no outstanding tickets or warrants. Maybe he was going a little fast? Maybe he didn't use his blinker? Or maybe he heard about a car destroying a gate at the Lassiter building, saw the hood of Steve's Toyota, and was currently putting 2 and 2 together?

After about five minutes, another cop car arrived. The driver, an older man with a luxurious mustache got out and walked to the first car. The young officer got out and they began talking.

Steve was sure he was going to be arrested. There was no other reason for them to take this long. This was the last thing he needed right now. Thrown in a cell, most assuredly fired, car a wreck, toe broken, whiplash, and still no Arnold Palmer.

Goddammit!

This was it. This was the moment that was going to break him. All he wanted was a cool refreshing drink to take some of the stress of the week off, and it seemed like ever since 4:48pm, the moment he started thinking about that drink, his entire day went haywire.

Maybe it was a sign. Or maybe it was a coincidence. Or maybe he was just having the worst day of his life since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cancelled minutes before his 7th birthday party started.

As he pictured himself on that dreadful day, an orange bandana around his head and a broken pair of plastic nunchuks on the ground next to him, tears began to take form. He tried to stop them, but he felt all the shame and disappointment and helplessness that he felt that day rushing back, and the tears came rushing out.

He let out a wailing sob and slammed his head on the steering wheel, accidentally honking the horn.

"Ow! Shit!" While rubbing the fresh bump on his head, he looked for a tissue. As he opened the glove box, the officer appeared at his window.

"Did you honk at me?" the cop asked sternly.

"N-n-no, sir," he managed through sobs. "It was an accident."

"Are you all right?" the cop was now shining his flashlight onto Steve's wet, red face.

 "Yes, I...well, no," he stuttered.

"Is there something you'd like to tell me?" the officer asked, keeping the light firmly on Steve's face and moving his free hand towards his holster. Steve didn't notice that, or the other cop on the passenger side creeping closer.

"It's...it's just that..."

"Go on son. You'll feel better when you tell me," the cop stated, now in a concerned fatherly tone.

"I-I-I just wanted to see Michaelangelo and Donatello! I didn't even care if all four of them came! I told everyone they'd be there and then Tommy Beringer made fun of me the rest of the year!"

"Sir, you're going to have to be more--"

"How could they do that to me?" Steve screamed through an ever increasing amount of tears.

"Sir, I don't think--"

"I couldn't even enjoy the cartoons or my toys anymore after that! They ruined my childhood! And not just in the internet ironic way, they really did! And I loved them so much! Why did they do that to me?"

"Sir, I'm not...I don't." The cop looked at the grown man sobbing with a bright red bump on his forehead and a crumpled hood on his car yelling about Renaissance artists and cartoons and decided he didn't want to deal with this paperwork.

"Sir, you failed to make a complete stop at the sign back there. And you need to get that hood fixed. Gather yourself and get home safely." He handed the license and insurance card back through the window.

"I couldn't even eat any cake," Steve sobbed as he took his cards back.

"Well, you can buy some cake and have it now, ok?"

"You think so?" Steve looked at him, the flashlight still lighting up his red face.

"Oh definitely. Just, just stop crying ok?"

"O-ok."

"Drive safely."

"Thank you, sir." Steve watched as the officer quickly walked back to his cruiser, joined by the older cop.

That was...strange. He didn't mean to lose it like that, but...it worked. He'd always heard that women got out of tickets by crying but he never thought guys could do it too. Cheers to equality!

Ignoring what the cop's unwillingness to engage with a clearly unhinged person behind the wheel said about mental health treatment and officer protocol in this country, or what the encounter could have been like if his skin was a little darker, Steve wiped his face with his shirt sleeve and started up his car. For a second, he was worried it wouldn't start, but the ignition switched right over and the engine began to purr. Things were starting to look up.

He turned on his blinker and continued on the exit ramp. The Arnold Palmer was now minutes away. His mouth started to water and a line of drool slowly dripped from the corner of his mouth.

"Jesus, get it together, Steve," he said as he wiped the drool with his already wet sleeve.

-end Pt. 6

I love You All...Class Dismissed.

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