My weekend unfolded normally, with me pestering a cop into providing a tour of the Newberg, Oregon police station.
|Behold, the drunk tank at the Newberg, OR police station.|
It was research for the third book in my contract, and it was a lot of fun.
Well, except the part where I asked the cop if I needed to be handcuffed to see the holding cells, and he stared like I was some sort of sexual deviant (at which point I reminded him I’m a romance author, which totally excused the sexual deviancy).
Little did I know, my tour of the slammer was a hint of what was to come.
I’ve been operating an automobile for nearly 20 years, and would say I’m a slightly below average driver. In spite of this, my only prior brush with the law occurred in Montana right after they repealed the speed limit. Apparently, the cops were bored.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” the Montana cop asked.
I considered the question. “Was it the body in my trunk?”
He didn’t smile. “Your rear license plate isn’t attached correctly. It’s supposed to be attached on all four corners, and yours is only attached on three. Also, you have to use wing nuts to attach the plate, and you’ve used wire.”
I frowned. “I was going 80 miles an hour. How can you see my wing nuts?”
He ignored the question. “I’m going to let you off with a warning, but in the future, be more cautious.”
And I was cautious – for the next 10 years, I made sure my license plate was properly attached.
Speeding is another matter, which is how I found myself exceeding the limit as I drove home from an RWA meeting on Saturday.
When I saw a car pulled off the road and a man kneeling in the dirt with a gun aimed at me, my first instinct was to duck.
It should have been to slow down. It was a radar gun, and I was busted. Unlike the Montana situation, I knew I’d done something wrong.
In my mind, I had played out this scene a million times. I would cry. I would beg. I would smile so sweetly the officer would shake my hand and thank me for making his day.
That’s not how it happened.
I managed to roll down the window. That’s as far as I got.
“Do you know how fast you were going?” he asked.
I shook my head mutely, fumbling for my driver’s license.
“You were going 70 in a 55, plus there’s a construction zone on the other side of the highway.”
I still couldn’t seem to find any words, so I widened my eyes with what I hoped was surprised remorse, but probably looked more like I was choking.
The cop gave me an odd look. “Let me have your license and proof of insurance.”
I handed them over without a word, and he studied them for a moment. “Don’t go anywhere, OK?”
I shook my head, solidifying his suspicion that he’d just pulled over a woman born without a tongue.
The cop retreated to his car, which gave me a few moments to contemplate whether I should work up some tears, remove my shirt, or attempt both.
Instead, I just sat there. It was like that dream where you want to speak or run away, but your foot is stuck in a barrel of melted saltwater taffy and the purple troll is pinching your lips together with asparagus tongs. You know that dream?
Eventually, the cop returned. “Because of your exemplary driving record,” he said, “I’m not indicating this is a construction zone. That reduces your fine by $100. The instructions are on the ticket. Have a nice day.”
He stared at me for a few beats, providing me one last opportunity to prove I wasn’t mute. I nodded and made a noise somewhere between a squeak and a belch.
The cop walked away, shaking his head.
So that’s the story of my first speeding ticket. Not really how I imagined it, and also not how I’d planned to spend $190. Chalk it up as one of those unplanned costs of writing.
What’s your story? Do you have an interesting tale of your first brush with the law, or are you still untarnished? Share in the comments. I’ll be over here practicing my speech for the next time I get pulled over.
“Wow, officer – I really like your pants.”
|Me with my very first speeding ticket. Oh, the shame.|