Life’s a Beach and then You Die
A siren, closing fast.
I stare in the rear view mirror with disbelief as the white Chevy with the cherry on top comes up fast behind me. Everything turns to black and a sick feeling fills me up.
I tell myself that I’m okay if it’s only a speeding bust. Then I remember the cocaine mirror is lying on the floor in back, uncovered, and look frantically for something to throw on it.
“Dorie,” I say, my head throbbing, “Carefully reach in the glove compartment and get a map or something to throw over that mirror. We’re getting pulled over, so try not to show any movement, if you can manage it.”
Her shoulders rise up and her skin gets a few shades lighter but she manages to slide out the Florida road map and skillfully work it between the shifter and the bucket seat and drop it on the mirror. As I come to a halt, I look back at the cop and notice a small corner of the mirror sticking out from under the map. It will have to do; the cop is out of his cruiser and striding toward us.
A big man, about six-four, with a small gut hanging over his belt and a toothpick in his mouth, he looks like a local but has the aviator shades, Mounty hat and jackboots like all the heat down here seem to wear. This one has an arrogant swagger like maybe he played football in college and misses the opportunity to hit people.
“May I see your driver’s license, sir.”
I reach above the visor where I put Bagley’s alternative wallet.
“Take it out of the wallet, please.”
He holds a clipboard with one hand while studying us. I hand him the license. He puts it on the clipboard and stares into my eyes.
“Are you aware that the speed limit is fifty on this road, Mr. Kirby?”
Dorie shoots me a sidelong glance.
“You were traveling over seventy, sir. Can I see your registration, please?”
“It’s not my van, officer. It belongs to a friend of mine, who’s down in St. Pete. He let me use it for a little sightseeing and camping trip. I don’t know where the registration is.”
The cop frowns: “Would you step back into the patrol car with me, Mr. Kirby.”
I get out of the van and start to walk back along the highway toward the cruiser.
“Please step to the shoulder, sir. Around to the other side of the van.”
“Dorie, look for that registration card, will you please,” I say. “I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. Dan always kept his things in order.”
I walk around in front of the van and the cop lumbers along behind me. I can feel him peering in the windows even though my back is to him. He doesn’t linger and I’m able to calm down enough to stop shaking.
I get into the cruiser; the cop slides behind the wheel.
He leans back against the seat and the scent of garlic and onions and cheap after-shave hit me like a damp cloud. He lifts up his shades, peers down at the license.
“What kind of name is Elton, boy? Some kind of limey moniker like that fruity Elton John? You a limey, son? They got all kinds of funny names over there.”
Yeah, like Billy Bob and Bubba. “No, I’m an American.”
“And where in America do you reside there, Elton?”
“In Clearwater. That’s where I’m headed.”
“You need to get this driver’s license changed then, this one here’s from Colorado. You need a Florida license.”
“Only been her for three months, officer.”
“Then ya’re only sixty days overdue, boy. But I ’magine you and the missus here, have plenty a things to keep ya busy?” He winks at me.
“Uh…well… ah, yeah. And here she comes now—the wife. She must have found the registration papers.”
Dorie is walking toward us; red purse slung over her left shoulder and a white card in her right hand.
“Sure is a pretty one,” the cop drawls. “You are a lucky guy, even with a name like Elton.” He laughs.
“Yes I am, Officer. I surely am. Sometimes I don’t realize how lucky.”
Dorie comes up to the driver’s window and hands the card to the cop. “I found it, honey,” she says, leaning in until her tits are damn near falling out into the guy’s mouth.
His eyes lock on the luscious mounds. Then he looks distractedly up at her face and then over at me, and then back to the card. He stares blankly at it for a second, then back at the girl and then me again.
I’m smiling sheepishly when Dorie’s hand darts into her purse like a cobra going for an egg.
(To be continued)