KOOL-AID: When a policeman offers you eggs, you know you’re in the country

Another instalment of Almost Drank the Kool-Aid…

So yes, about the policeman. Landlord and I waited in the car; Landlord scowling for some unknown reason, me about to piss my pants.

Was wondering — do you get arrested for driving without a licence? Not that was worried about being arrested. Was worried about what came with it. Publicity.

Wound down window when saw the blue chest of policeman uniform. Just in time for Landlord to announce ‘for fuck’s sake.’

‘As pleasant as ever, ______.’

Was my ranga mate. And it seemed he and Landlord knew each other. Seemed like they wished they didn’t.

‘Any reason you pulled us over then, _____? Slow day for the force?’

‘Always slow in these parts, thank goodness. And I don’t need a reason.’

Wasn’t sure, still not sure, but thought policeman winked at me.

Landlord protested that I had been driving within the speed limit. He spoke with venom in his voice.

Policeman ignored Landlord, instead said to me — ‘licence please, miss.’

‘She doesn’t have a licence,’ Landlord said immediately, resignation in his voice.

‘I’m sure she can speak for herself, ______,’ the policeman offered. He preferred to use Landlord’s full name, I noticed. As if distancing himself from him.

Turned to Landlord. Again, he spoke for me. ‘She doesn’t speak.’

Policeman looked at me. I nodded. ‘Out of the car, miss.’

Landlord began to protest.

‘It’s unsafe for me to be out here on the road. Miss, if you could please come to the back of the vehicle.’

What was with him calling me miss? Am almost thirty years old. Certainly not a miss.

Policeman held door open for me. Landlord took hold of my arm. Looked imploringly at me. But couldn’t disobey a police officer. Who saw that I was having difficulty getting out of the vehicle. A hand was held out to me, and was guided down. Didn’t make any ascent any more graceful.

Followed officer to the back of the vehicle. Will not mention the appearance of police officer’s perfectly round behind. Will not.

We stood at the back of the vehicle. Policeman got notebook and pen from his pocket.

‘Can you write?’ He asked, handing them to me.

Found self smiling.

‘Something funny?’

If only he knew. Shook head.

‘Name and date of birth please, miss.’

Wrote. Trying to be as neat as I could. Still resulted in raise of eyebrows from policeman and narrowing of the eyes as he tried to read my scrawl.

Next thing I knew policeman was taking radio off chest. Pressed button, ready to speak into it. Didn’t think. If was thinking, would not have lunged forward, placing hand over handset to stop the radio call.

Policeman looked at me. Shocked. I was wide-eyed, realised had just done a very bad thing. Held up hand. A surrender. Scribbled quickly on notebook, showing it to policeman.

‘Not on radio. Why? Is there something I’m going to learn about you?’

I shook head. Wrote again.

‘People listen to police scanners?’

I nodded. Not just for me. Am not narcissistic. Is just something the church does routinely. Information is power. Blackmail even more.

Policeman frowned at me. Was sizing me up.

‘What about if I call?’

I nodded.

Waited as police officer made the call, giving me name and date of birth to dispatch.

When he finished the call, Policeman looked me square in the eye. ‘No licence.’

I nodded.

‘Which you knew.’

Nodded again.

‘And yet you thought it was a good idea to get behind the wheel today.’

The lecture was coming.

Oh no, was wrong. ‘Why couldn’t his lordship drive you then? Surely is too early in the morning to be drinking?’

His Lordship? Man, was bitterness between these two. And what was with the whole drinking thing? Or is that just a police thing? Assuming everyone avoiding driving is a drinker?

Scribbled on notebook (with my big writing I was going through pages quick. Hope police notebooks are supplied by her majesty and not at officers own cost. Although, how much would a notebook cost any how? Is not Smythson. Am not sure you could buy them in bulk. Perhaps can get officer discount) that Landlord could not drive for medical reasons.

‘Have the two of you been together long?’

Should have been outraged by personal question. None of your business, Mr Officer Sir.

But no. Mr Officer Sir an attractive man. And policeman. He had authority. If he asked me my cycle, would probably have told him. Go into days of heavy bleeding, spotting, or as it should be called, the annoying final days of your period when it looks like your body is evacuating black tar from its deepest resources.

Wrote: are not together. Am renting the gatehouse.

‘Surely ______ cannot be so hard up for cash that he needs a tenant?’

Again with the bitterness. Informed policeman was long story, but a colleague we had in common helped me when needed place to live. Suggested Landlord.

And can I just say — this entire exchange was excruciating. Might as well start talking. Having to write communications is a very laborious exercise. Policeman took to looking over shoulder as I wrote to speed up the process. Which every now and then my body bombed up against his utility belt. Which was hard. Which of course meant that every time it happened I imaged how heavy the belt would be. Wondered how loud the thud would be when he took it off, throwing it to the floor…

Policeman said, ‘well, you living at the gatehouse makes us neighbours, then. My farm is the next property over.’

Turns out the county is just as small as London.

Policeman informed me that would not be penalised for non-licence. Not to do it again, etc, etc. Landlord should get himself a driver the next time he leaves the property. I could drive him home given we were so close, but that was to be the end of it.

Handed back notebook, was given a ‘good day to you,’ and Mr Policeman walked back to his vehicle. He stopped, though. Called out to me. ‘Do you like eggs, _______?’

Do I? Yes? No? In things, yes. On Own? Not sure. Why was asking?

Didn’t need to reply, even with a gesture. Because Policeman said — ‘will bring you some!’

Excellent. Yes.

Silence in car, but as we neared home he did ask me if had been given a ticket. Shook head.

‘Wasn’t that nice of him.’

Bitterness. Again, bitterness. What went on with these two?

And now, I guess, I wait for eggs.

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