or That Moment When You’re Driving around Naked and Your Heart Jumps into Your Throat Because You Didn’t See the Police Car behind You
She always wanted to drive.
Leaving aside the fact that she’d never driven automatic, much less manual, and that it was the dead of night and unfamiliar road, Victory had definitely had more to drink than was probably wise. Even for an experienced driver.
I hurtled down the pockmarked highway, chasing down the beams of my own headlights, and said to her sideways, “Okay, but only if you’re naked.”
She didn’t say anything, but before I could put the playful punctuation at the end of the sentence, her dress was over her head and tossed in the backseat. She was wearing nothing underneath.
I grabbed for the stick shift as she clambered impulsively on top of me, her skin pressed against my jacket. The steering wheel remained mine as she stretched out the painted tips of her toes to reach the pedals. She was small but I stretched slightly as well to see over the frizz of her lemon-scented hair.
She put her hands on top of mine in a steering wheel sandwich, and we played hide and go seek with the road as quickly as I dared. There was a car behind us, yellow brights shining too closely into my rear window, and I wished that it would pass.
The yellow changed to red and blue, and spelled out T-R-O-U-B-L-E in my rearview in bursts of flashing colored light.
Singing to me the shrill, plaintive cry of a whale in heat.
I tried to buy time, slowly signalling right and drifting to the shoulder. As quickly as it had been pulled off, her dress was now back on, and she was seated daintily in place, chaste hands folded primly in her lap. As the cops signaled us to get out of the car and come over to chat with them, I noticed the tag on her dress was on the outside.
One cop grilled me by his car and the other her by mine. We were just two kids driving home after a small weekend celebration. Yes, license and registration were all in order. No, I had not had too much to drink.
He had been following us ever since the bridge a few “kilometers” back, he subtly jabbed with a knowing twinkle in his eyes. “She’s very beautiful,” and I knew he had the upper hand.
Fortunately, he wanted to fix things in an anticlimactic manner to the tune of a few pesos. The other one extorted a similar amount from her, and we were back on our fully-dressed way.
Well, fully-dressed for a few more miles anyway. And I kept one eye on the mirrors.