Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ticket 2 Ride

All I could see was the gun. I folded my hands in my lap, faced forward and hoped Shawn wouldn’t say anything stupid as the voice from above asked, “Do you know how fast you were going?” After treating our early morning commute in the HOV lane like a trip down the Autobahn, complete with scared to death screaming and nails digging in my legs, my speed racer husband mumbled from inside his little car, “A hundred?”

“No,” said the cop, “I clocked you at 123.”

I could’ve killed Shawn. He's supposed to be saving lives at work, not running them over on the way. I know I’m not perfect. I’m a regular at defensive driving school for the occasional over-the-limit speed, or a roll through a stop sign or a once in a while glance at a text, but this was serious. Mr. Man With The Gun could have taken Felony Shawn to jail right then and there, leaving me by the side of the road to ponder things like bail, work release programs, hiring a replacement for him at the office, gay prison sex, or saying to our daughter, Shana, “Look, Honey, there’s Dad over there in the orange jumpsuit.”

I wanted him to suffer. He should suffer. But since that somehow required also making me suffer, I dropped my holier-than-thou, our-justice-system-isn’t-fair, who’s-fighting-for-the-little-guy-while-those-Richie-Riches-pay-everybody-off attitude. Shawn’s Get Out Of Jail Free card cost fifteen hundred bucks and his sleazy but smart new attorney made the whole thing disappear.

I knew that car would be trouble. Instead of Porsche it should be called Spoiled Brat. He spends hours massaging the leather, polishing the paint, going over every inch with high-end products and towels he hand washes himself in Woolite, lovingly draping them all over the house to air dry. This from a guy that can’t pick up his socks. When he’s not with the car, he’s thinking about it, researching parts and accessories, talking to other car addicts online, gazing at each other’s beauties like car porn.

Meanwhile, my big, white four-door is a freak show. It's full of wrinkled clothes, sticky Diet Pepsi spills, mismatched shoes and days worth of fast food wrappings. Shawn actually shakes when I get in his car, knowing that the greasy lotion and drippy lip-gloss I’m about to use translates into another hour of maintenance when they’re back in the garage, just the two of them, making my chances for a little attention drop to zero.

After a few months in the doghouse, Shawn was back at it, speeding, coming home one day with his head hanging low. “I’m selling the car,” he said. “It’s already on the Internet. I mean it.” This time it was 60-something in a 35. Busy street. Rush hour. Still a felony. He said something about not being able to get his foot off the accelerator. Yeah, right. The lawyer, now on speed dial, didn’t get any cash for making ticket number two disappear. Instead, Shawn traded him something for his fee - a gun, a watch, a blowjob - I don't know. I don't want to know. But he didn’t dare touch the checkbook and I figure that, at least, is progress.

These days, the little yellow car has an alarm that goes off when the speedometer hits 45, sort of like a Pavlovian neutering device. To make up for the wimpy bell, Shawn took off the muffler and now drives around thinking he sounds more like a badass, wreaking havoc on the environment as well as our neighbors’ peace and quiet. I yell at him as we rumble down the road, “It sounds like a lawnmower!”

“WHAT?” he says. He can’t even hear me anymore.

Maybe that was the idea.

Look what Santa brought. At least this one has a muffler.

1 comment:

  1. This is great! So is the little yellow engine that (really!) could still in your garage?
    good story! good writing!