An officer of the law approached me during my nightly walk. I was winding up to toss a cigarette into the streets when I spotted their vehicle and, fortunately, had enough sense to realize the consequences of unintentially discarding an ember through the window sidling abreast of me. I pulled back my hand and took another drag from the mangled nub.
“What are you doing?”
“Hi!” I replied, enthusiastically, my arm in an awkward pose. “I’m taking a walk.”
“Where do you live? What street?”
“Umm, just around the corner.” I paused. Since I couldn’t see with the flashlight in my face, my brain decided it didn’t have to think either. “On ________” (which is not where I live but it was the first street that came to mind and, happily, one that was indeed around the corner).
“So you’re out for a walk?”
“Don’t stay out too late.”
As quickly as they had come, they vanished back into the darkness, a predator reminiscent of a squat, genetically defunct zebra. I did not turn around to watch the red tailights fade from view. Stumbling about at 1 AM was suspicious enough.
Returning home, I pondered over my brief encounter, in particular, the distress that can overwhelm the average citizen upon such a chance meeting. Why are our verbal responses suddenly stripped of emotion? Do policemen not possess humour and pathos? Perhaps the conversation should have gone as such:
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“Good evening, sirs. I am out catching the night breeze. Not long ago, my brother incensed me greatly and there’s much to sort in my head.” I’d say, with a shadow of glum politeness.
“Shucks, what did he do?”
“Well, nothing serious. I was only reading off a list I had found online of ‘100 things to do before you die‘ and all he could do was ridicule and find fault with each entry. The negative energy was a downer.”
“That’s a darn shame.” He’d say. “I’m glad you’re taking it constructively rather than beating him senseless. Take it from me, there are a lot of wackos out there.”
“People say I’m a nice guy. Sirs, would you mind if I hitched a ride back home. I’ve never sat in a police car before and you know, that’s one on my own list.”
“Certainly. Come on in. So you really were just out for a walk?”
“No, actually, I was looking for a cow to tip but haven’t come across any in these ‘burbs. Maybe we can stop by a supermarket, run in, and knock over a stack of frozen meat patties instead?”