See exclusive content of Stacy at

See exclusive content of Stacy at

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Crazy Road Trip

Stacy Burke, Ann Parker, and I were leaving Yellowstone Park and Stacy was driving. I sat in the backseat reading the map. As it turned out I directed Stacy to the wrong exit and we spent six extra hours trying to drive all the way around Yellowstone before heading back to California. She and Ann were just smoking mad about the whole situation. They told me not to say another word to them until we hit the Nevada border. I stared despondently out the window until I fell asleep. Hours later I was awakened by the feel of the tires grinding to a stop on the side of the road. What was happening? Ann was sleeping soundly in the passenger seat and Stacy was sitting rigidly behind the steering wheel staring into her sideview mirror. A quick glance at my watch revealed that it was just after 2AM. Actually, maybe it wasn't - I didn't even know what state or timezone we were in. Heavy footfalls on gravel indicated that someone was approaching our car. Stacy hesitantly rolled down the window and then a huge belt buckle with a six-shooter to the left of it stepped into my line of sight, perfectly framed by Stacy's window. Of course the gun and buckle were attached to a giant utility belt worn by police officers everywhere. Ten beefy fingers drummed on the edge of the belt. Heavy, ornate metal rings decorated each finger. Those fingers looked like they were just itching to wrap themselves around the butt of a gun. Or maybe around the throat of a hapless motorist. What had Stacy done to attract the attention of this fucking redneck?

The cop started to bend down towards Stacy and the process took a long time. Finally his red face was about a foot above hers and he rested his forearm on the top of the car. He was wearing a gigantic cowboy hat and mirrored sunglasses with weird blue reflective lenses. I didn't know exactly what time it was, but the nighttime sky was pitch black outside. How could he even see through those glasses?

"Y'all been drinking?" the officer demanded.

"No." Stacy responded. "I've been driving for hours and we have no alcohol in here."

"Well, you must be awful tired then. Driving tired is even more dangerous than driving drunk. Do you know that?" the cop asserted with a nasty leer.


"You're going to catch a deer before you hit Gillette if you keep driving like that, missy!" he drawled.

Stacy remained steadfastly silent. The cop regarded her as she stared straight ahead through the windshield into the darkness. Finally he said:

"You gonna tell me that you didn't see that stop sign back there when you passed through the center of town?"

That got her attention and Stacy snapped her head around to look at him.

"Stop sign? There was no stop sign. What are you talking about, officer?" Stacy said with a bit of genuine surprise. Then, with some indignation she repeated: "There was no stop sign."

The fat sheriff glowered through the window and his jowls quivered.

"You arguing with me, young lady?" he snarled.

"No, I'm just telling you how it is." Stacy declared. The sheriff's face seemed to grow even redder in the moonlight. "There was no stop sign. No stop sign at all. I would have seen it. I passed through that giant white arch thing at the entrance of town with the Rotary Club insignia, the Knights of Columbus insignia, the population statistics, and whatever else is on there. Then I saw you parked in the lot of the bowling alley with the interior light of your vehicle on so I was making sure to drive carefully. And I did not see a stop sign. There was no stop sign!"

The sheriff could not seem to digest her words or fathom her insolent attitude. I was becoming alarmed. We were not in Los Angeles. We were not even in Bakersfield. This small-town sheriff with the six shooter had us on the side of the road in the center of America in some little town where his word was law. Stacy needed to calm down and be a little more polite. She had no such intention.

"If you're going to ticket me for running a stop sign then you need to show me exactly where this stop sign is. I don't believe it even exists so why don't we go back there so you can show it to me?" she shot at him with all the disdain of one accustomed to the modern ways of a big city.

The sheriff had mentioned Gillette when he first approached the car so we must be on the outskirts of a city smaller than Gillette. Gillette, Wyoming is not a big city. Stacy's snotty attitude was not going to go over well here in the cold non-bosom of our nation.

"Sir," I said urgently as I leaned forward from the backseat, "my friend is very tired.."

I got no farther and because the fat sheriff immediately had one hand on a huge flashlight and the other on his six shooter. I froze. The flashlight beam blinded me as it hit me in squarely in the face. At least it wasn't a bullet. I felt the strong beam wavering as the sheriff struggled to control his equipment.

"Everyone out of the car! ...EVERYONE OUT OF THE CAR!!" he bellowed over and over.

Of couse Ann was wide awake by now and all three of us scrambled out of the car through our respective doors. The red sheriff tried to recover his equanimity. It hit me belatedly that he had not even realized someone was in the back of the car. Was he drunk? Oh yeah, that's what it must be. His synapses were not all firing at the correct speed. After a few moments I heard myself imploring him in a quiet voice to just "let us be on our way." I assured him that my friend had been driving too long and had gotten too tired to remember her manners. I went on and on trying to appease him while beseeching him to let us go. Somehow I ended up convincing him that I would do the driving and get us safely out of town. He finally allowed us to leave. We piled into the car with me at the wheel. I set the cruise control at 54.5 MPH and that sheriff followed me the whole twenty-four miles to the county line.

I was still seething five miles after I saw his headlights U-turn behind me. I had hated kissing his fat ass and I was mad at Stacy for having aggravated the situation at the outset. Or maybe I wasn't. Perhaps I was just mad at myself for getting us lost in the first place. And for sucking up to the cop. My foot pressed down harder on the gas pedal. Pretty soon I was going over 70. Then over 80. Then past 90. Now I was blazing down the highway at 110 MPH. I was just starting to feel a bit amazed that my old Buick Skylark could go that fast when I saw the flashing lights in my rearview mirror. Holy crap, it was another cop. I willed myself to calm down. Ann and Stacy were yelling at me to stop. I did. The cop stopped too. Moments later we heard the sound of heavy footsteps crunching gravel yet again that night..

What happened next? How many of us ended up in the local jailhouse? How bad was the abuse at the hands of local law enforcement?

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- XXOO Tanya

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