I lifted up a mini-bike, all five foot two, 95 pounds of me, placed it in the back of my van, and drove off. With a hard cast on my broken arm and air cast on my broken knee. On crutches no less.
That’s what the police said when they pulled me over.
I was driving my kids home from school. Sure, I was going a bit over the speed limit but only like 5, I had to get my kids settled and fed and myself showered and dressed for work and had under two hours to accomplish everything.
My Manny’s best friend was riding home with me as he and the Manny were taking my and the neighbor's kids out to a carnival later. “Oh man, did you see that cop?” He asked me.
Of course I had. He had flipped an immediate U-turn as soon as I passed him to get behind me.
“What did you do?” He asked me, as I watched the officer call in my plates from my rearview. I was driving fine and everything was working and current. “What did I do? What did you do!?” I joked with Tim, “You’re the one most likely to have done something!”
He did look a little peaked when I said that, but there was no time for a reply as the crusers lights and sirens suddenly informed me I was to pull over.
“License, insurance and registration,” the officer demanded. I complied.
He called in my credentials and got a number response from dispatch. “I need you to step out of the vehicle ma’am.”
“Pardon? Wh- why?” I asked. I’ve never been asked to exit my auto before, not that I’ve been pulled over much. I can count the times on half a hand. But still…
He moved his right hand to his hip and placed it over his service revolver. My heart rate increased a bit at this point. I wasn’t dangerous! I was tiny! And I had a handful of children in my van!
Plus, hey- gold star for me, officer- ALL the children were buckled in!
Unfortunately I don’t think he even noticed that.
I grabbed my crutches and hopped out and was instructed to move to the rear of my van. “Open it,” the officer demanded.
I balanced there on one leg. “What, my van doors?”
He glared at me, “Now.”
“Um, Sir, I can’t,” I replied.
“What do you mean you can’t?”
“I mean, I can’t. Look at them, they are unopenable.”
My back doors had been smashed inwards during a hit and run the week before. The kids and I had been sitting in a long line at a stop light and a truck going 45 never stopped.
“I was in an accident last week, a hit and run? I’m sure you can check it as it was in your jurisdiction Sir, just 3 miles from here in fact.”
The cop didn’t believe me or it didn’t register, or perhaps he was riddled with glaucoma because he took my keys and tried and tried to pry those back doors open. His partner tried, two other cops from a supervising squad car tried. The doors wouldn’t budge.
Just as I’d said.
I could see all four of the officers now with me were getting irritated. The original one motioned me to the shoulder and got in my face. “Well? How did you do it then? Do you have another van?” He spat at me.
“No, this is my only vehicle.”
The other officers had my children and Tim on the shoulder now and were searching my van, having entered from the side door.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Where did you put it?” A ginormous commanding deputy appeared beside my cop.
“Where did I put what?” I asked.
“Don’t play with us, we already know it was you.” Another cop, incredulous and condescending.
“What was me?” They were surrounding me and I was starting to freak out at this point. They were all not small men, I was cut off from my family, and there was barely any traffic.
So basically- no witnesses.
Hey, I’m a writer, my mind always and immediately thinks of every possible scenario. ;)
This kept on for far longer than necessary, with them saying they knew it was me and asking how I did it, but not telling me exactly what they believed I had done!
Anxiety, anger, fury… it was all bubbling up and threatening to burst. “Listen officers, I don’t know what you think I did but I am asking you to please inform me now so that I can prove it was not me.”
“Oh!” The supervising deputy shoved me with his ample donut riddled belly, “We have a demanding little innocent here!” The other officers chuckled.
“Yeah, I’m innocent,” I said, although a bit more meekly as all four of them closed in tighter around me causing a wave of claustrophobic panic to hit me.
“You stole the mini-bike last night. We have witnesses.” One finally informed me.
“What’s a mini-bike?” I asked.
They scoffed. “Don’t pull that on me,” yelled one, “Bullshit lady,” called another.
“I don’t even know what a mini-bike is, what, is it a miniature bicycle?”
“The mini motorcycle,” someone answered.
“A mini motorcycle?” I repeated, “You think I stole a mini motorcycle?”
“We know it was you, we have witnesses.”
“I swear on everything I did not steal a mini-bike, not last night, not ever.”
I suffered over an hour of interrogation standing on the dusty shoulder in the heat of that midday, being called liar and faker- I guess everyone has the materials to be able to fashion a plaster cast on their arm at home- I must have never gotten that memo. Worst of all- my kids were physically pushed down to sit on the shoulder further down, crying the whole time, and I was not allowed to comfort them.
During the next hour I finally got the story. A female with a petite build had pulled into a driveway nearby at around 6pm- just after the sun went down the night before. She had opened the back doors to her van, grabbed a mini-bike from a yard, lifted it into her van, and drove off. The best part was her van was white, too, and her hair was eerily similar.
“How many females have long blond hair with burgundy streaks and drive a white van around here?” They asked me. I did not have an answer.
“We know it was you.” They kept repeating. “Just admit it and this will all be over.”
My oldest son kept escaping the little circle of children and running out into the road to try to get to me, and punished severely by the cops. “He’s only 6!” I cried.
“Shut up tdirty thief,” a cop responded.
I wanted to hurt people. Just sayin. They were being abusive to my small children, physically manhandling my 3,5 and 6 year old babies!
The worst part of it was I had an alibi for the time of the theft! I had been working at a pirate bar for several weeks, and last night I had clocked in at 4:30pm and clocked out at midnight.
“Listen, there’s no way I could have done it- check my alibi, besides, my van doors are permanently shut now. Plus, how in the hell do you figure I lifted a two hundred pound motorbike with a broken left arm and fractured right knee? I have to get my kids home and you’re making me late for work.” I saw an opening between two cops and slid through. Deputy Donut’s jelly-belly roll was too fast for me, immediately arresting my momentum toward my children.
I was incredulous, and hearing my boys cry was killing me inside. “Fine! I have a couple thousand right in my purse! In cash! You can take that as a deposit on your stolen mini-bike until you can prove it’s not me! I need to go!”
“Exactly what a theif would say,” a cop said.
“Excuse you? Um no, I need to put this matter to rest and get my kids home now, and I’m willing to place a deposit to do so.” It sounded good in my head.
They allowed me to drive home and Tim to get my kids upstairs to our apartment. They followed me and held me in the parking lot. “We have an officer with a portable polygraph, will you be willing to take a lie detector test?” They asked me.
“Sure, I have nothing to hide.”
I waited. And waited. Seated on the sidewalk surrunded by cops. More had joined.
All this for tiny little me. The girl with a broken van, arm in a cast from it’s accident, and perfect alibi- including video surveilance.
“Was she at work last night?” I overheard one talking into his cell phone. OMG, were they just now calling my boss? You’ve got to be kidding me.
“What time did she arrive?”
“What time did she leave?”
“When was her break?”
“Did she leave the property for her break?”
“Is there any way she could have snuck out for 30-45 minutes without anyone knowing?”
“Oh, I see.”
All eyes were on that cop on the phone before he even realized we were all listening. Even the crowd of neighbors, milling about and pretending not to be listening were holding their breath.
He turned around and looked beside me, but never at me, “You may go.”
“What?” I asked. Just like that? After all that?
“You are free to go, and hurry, your boss is expecting you. You’re late.”
With that he immediately entered his squad car and drove away. The other officers quickly followed suit.
I was frozen. Seriously?
I gained my reality and ran up the stairs to hug my babies. The whole ordeal from initial pull over to being released took three hours.
I rushed into work to find the bartender I was relieving disgruntled at my lateness but a very understanding boss.
And yes, they had told everyone.
And everyone found it extremely comical.
“Oh my gawd!” The most un drug dealery looking ex-drug dealer I’ve ever seen, Beau, immediately doubled over laughing when I appeared behind the bar, his well oiled pompadour not even wiggling. He wore an ankle monitor and was on house arrest, so how he was able to be at my bar so much we considered him a regular was beyond me.
“Ha ha,” I rolled my eyes, “funny until it happens to you,” I drawled sarchastically.
“You have no idea!” He howled, joined by the guy on his right.
I regaled the group with the tale of my “adventure” with a pleasant side affect of an increase in tips, so at least I have that.
After a few beers and shots, Beau motioned me over. It was pretty slow by then, so I had a few minutes to chat.
“Remember when I said you had no idea earlier?” He asked me, voice lowered conspiratorially causing me to lean in.
“Sure,” I responded.
“Well, you have to promise not to repeat this.” He deftly slid three crisp one-hundred dollar bills across the bar with a wink of understanding. Of course I immediatelly pocketed them.
“What’s up?” I asked, never even promising.
“That mini-bike? The stolen one?” He said.
“I know the girl who did it.”
My heart skipped a beat. What do I do? Is he full of shit? Do I sneak to the bathroom and call the cops? What do I do?!?
“Really?” I asked.
“Really!” He chest was puffed up with pride as he tried not to laugh at the situation.
I on the other hand felt a fury igniting in me as he detailed the stealing of the mini-bike by a friend of his from a county over. She had a white van and wine colored streaks in her blond hair.
The only thing my doppleganger didn’t have was an alibi.
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