Out past Yarrowville the trouble began. We were on a small, two-lane road, very straight, lined by tall yew trees standing naked to the sky, like anorexic models. As the Eagles declared I’m already gone, Joey’s foot hit the floor. The speedometer rose steadily, 50, 55, 60, on and on it went.
“We have to be careful,” I warned him. “My friend doesn’t have insurance.”
“I’m always careful,” laughed Joey, and pushed the Honda to increasingly higher speeds. The naked trees were flying past us so fast, that they changed from black, white, black, white, black, white, to one continuous blur of gray.
Then I heard the sound I had most been dreading. A police siren, following us from quite a distance behind. I still faintly hoped it might be chasing some other sinner. “Slow down, Joey,” I begged. “You’ve got to slow down.”
“Yeehaw!” came his response, as the Honda lunged forward. I was definitely, irreversibly in the hands of a complete lunatic. It took a while for the police car to catch up with us—the feats that Joey was putting the Honda through were a challenge even to those equipped for pursuit. How could he be enjoying the whole thing so much? The window was cracked just a little on his side, just enough to blow his hair back onto the head-rest behind him. His eyes were aflame with pure thrill. Maybe I should just open the car door and throw myself out onto the road. At least my final moment would be a statement of disaffiliation from this maniac. Perhaps the police would realize I’d been kidnapped. Rebecca and the kids might land some sort of claim. Before too long we heard the sound of another siren coming from the other direction.
“That’s it,” chuckled Joey. “They won.”
I couldn’t believe him. He was playing some sort of cops and robbers game with my best friend’s uninsured car. Joey reduced his speed and pulled over. We were hemmed in by the police in front and back, and after a couple of minutes another car appeared and pulled off on the other side of the road. The boys were definitely excited. This was a quiet, rural area. Probably the most action they’d seen in many years.
“Get out of the car,” cried one of them, obviously the most senior. “Get out of the car and put your hands on the roof.” He was shouting, desperate to seem in control. The others all had their hands quivering near their waists, like children who’ve seen too many cowboy films.
“Get out of the car,” he shouted. Joey stepped out of the car and obligingly offered up his wrists. “Put your hands on top of the car,” repeated the older policeman. One of them had drawn a gun. Joey shrugged, grinned, and joined me, resting his hands on the icy metal next to mine. The same older policeman was reading us an official statement that sounded very familiar—about the right to remain silent, attorneys, and so on. All I was interested in was how quickly I would have the right to die. They frisked us roughly from head to toe, in a whirlwind of nervous excitement. We were both handcuffed and pushed into the back of the police car that had been parked across the street.
Finally, Joey got his wish.
Excerpt from Arjuna’s new novel, The Last Laugh. Buy your copy here.
photo credit: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/asset/if07029/wsoh0705.cfm, http://downandoutchic.blogspot.com/2009/10/giveaway-anirtak-jewelry.html, http://www.thecampuscompanion.com/