The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

I turned left on a city block and looked in the rear view mirror. There I saw a town cop with his bubble gum flashers all lit up. 

I pulled over to the side and stopped to let him by. I had seen him back there at the school intersection, so I, for once, had come to a full stop at the stop sign. So it couldn’t be innocent me that he was after. Must be someone ahead of me. He didn’t go by. Much less than not go by, he was stopped and getting out of his car and walking up to my car, one hand on his gun.

The little red Geo convertible is little. Looking up at him gave me a crick in my neck. I kept shifting around, trying to ease the pain. OK, so I looked shifty.

By this point in life, I’ve earned several tickets. Most of us probably have, as far as that goes. Rural stop signs honestly appear to me to be a total waste of time, and an equally great waste of Newton’s First Law of Motion, which states that a body in motion wants to remain in motion.

Newton must have never had many stop signs. No one in this century, so full that it is of towns and cities and stop lights and yield signs and automotive congestion, would have ever considered any law except for one that said: A car in motion is unnatural, therefore the Law is: A body at rest wants to remain at rest. Which is the flip side of Newton’s First Law, really.

When I’m in motion, and I can see miles in every rural direction, exactly why is it that I must stop? Stopping is more costly to society.

It’s more costly because I know we’re running short of gasoline. Despite our best efforts to help us in that regard, our gas is still buried under their sand. In a way, me running a stop sign and not wasting gasoline defeating Newton’s First Law of Motion is supporting our conservation efforts. If all of us ran stop signs every chance we could, our national gas mileage would improve.

The cop looked down at me, me sitting down there twitching and rubbing my neck, and asked: “Do you know why I stopped you?”

“Do I know why you stopped me?” I thought to myself.

Then I thought to myself: Although he’s pretty young, maybe the same memory thing that seems to afflict me is setting in on him. I get to the bathroom with no apparent reason in mind. I paw through the kitchen junk drawer for several minutes before I realize I don’t know why.

Maybe this guy pulled me over, and by the time he walked up to me, realized that he cannot any longer remember why. I wanted to help him, but I was completely unable to. I was the pullee. He was the pullor. He was going to have to figure this out himself.

“You pulled me over because you’re going senile like me?”

I didn’t say that.

Then I thought to myself, maybe he thinks he’s being clever.  I peered up at him and continued to wiggle my head to release some of the crick in my neck. Yes, I know: Shifty.

“You pulled me over because I’ve got a trunk full of cocaine and there’s a trail of white powder down the road behind me that ran out through a rust hole in the floor?”

I didn’t say that.

“Maybe you pulled me over because you’re going to give me a medal of commendation for helping the war effort by running stop signs every time I see one?”

I didn’t say that, either. I guess I’m not much of a criminal, because I couldn’t come up with anything good to confess to. Working really puts a crimp in criminal behavior.

“Does that ever work, you asking if pullees know why you stopped them? Better yet, which is the truly stupider behavior: You asking? Or them occasionally spilling their guts?”

I didn’t say that. Finally, I just shrugged and said: “I don’t have a clue why you pulled me over.”

With that, he could tell I was way too smart for him. “You’ve got a turn signal out. Better get it fixed.” And he walked off, looking for a stupider criminal down the road.

Crime doesn’t pay. My neck’s still got a crick in it.