“I’m sorry, officer. I can’t get out of my car. I have this overwhelming paranoia that we’ll be standing out there and a car will swerve out and run us over. There’s just no protection.”
“Ma’am, you need to step out of the car. You reek of alcohol.”
“Of course I do! I was at this stupid party trying to pretend I’m not almost thirty years old and I was such a wallflower because obviously I don’t belong with a bunch of twenty-two year olds. I have a kid! I’m almost thirty! I realized what an idiot I was being, trying to hang out with college students majoring in cheap beer and getting laid. I just want to go home and snuggle with my son and just be a boring homebody. But then I was leaving and this stupid undergrad stumbles by giggling about how she’s ‘so trashed’ and spills her full cup of beer all over me! I know I was going a little fast, officer. I’m really sorry about that. But I haven’t had anything to drink. I just want to get home, send the babysitter away, and forget this night ever happened.”
The officer looks down at the pad in his hand and back at the woman in the car. It’s late. He’s off duty soon. He doesn’t want to make this poor woman’s night any worse.
“That’s terrible. But I know how you feel. Divorced, single dad.” He gestures towards himself and leans on the side of her car, “How much longer do you have the babysitter?”
She looks at him curiously, “I told her I’d be out until about 2.”
He looks at the clock on her dashboard, “Look, this might be weird, but I’m going to kick myself if I don’t at least offer. I’m off in about 20 minutes. I’m going to head to Lucky’s Diner on Becker afterwards. I’d love to treat you to a cup of coffee and a conversation that doesn’t involve cheap beer or what I’m majoring in.” She starts to speak, but he holds up his hand, “I’ll be there in about 20 minutes. I’d love to see you there.”
He scribbles something on the pad in his hand and passes the ticket through the window. She starts to speak, but he holds his hand up and walks away.
A few steps from the car, with her still staring at him in confusion, he turns with a smile, “If I don’t see you, I do hope you have a lovely evening.”
She watches him in the side-view mirror as he gets back into the police cruiser. As he drives off, she looks at the paper in her hands. It’s a blank ticket. She sees that he has written a message across the front.
By the way, my name is Carl.