viernes, 31 de enero de 2014

Roger and Nancy and the Police Officer

Roger was late. He needed a car to get to the train station but his father had taken the Ford to work and his mother had gone shopping in the station wagon. 

"I've got to get there on time," he mused to himself, "she'll dump me if I don´t show up on time."

Nancy was her name, blond, green eyes and a character of sugar and fire. Roger was madly in love with her. They had met two months previously at the skating ring. It appeared to be love at first sight. Roger had had little experience with women. But with Nancy it was as if he were an experienced lover. His memory was still fresh of that date a few days after they met. He had invited her to see his collection of exotic butterflies and she had accepted! God! How he remembered that day! But what was he going to do now? They had promised to meet at the train station at 8 p.m. and it was already 6:30.  He didn't want to be a minute late. It was going to be an important encounter, he was sure of that.  He could take the bicycle to the station. True. But neither a fool nor a big-time cyclist could make 20 miles in half an hour. So he decided to hitch hike.

                When she knocked on the door that evening he was still half dressed. With the straightforwardness of youth he opened the door. The girl retreated a little.

                “I’m sorry. I haven’t finished dressing…why are you running away? Please come in.”

                “I’m a bit ashamed,” said the girl in a not very convincing tone of voice.

                “If it’s because I don’t have my shirt on maybe you could take off your blouse. Then we would be on an equal standing.”

                Then they took off their clothes in silence, piece after piece until they were completely naked. They embraced. He felt her heart pounding. There they were entangled in a monumental embrace, like some piece of heroic sculpture. A stroke of lightening brought out the curves and minute details of each of their bodies.

                “Oh God!  What a woman!” Roger mused, coming out of his daydream.  “I’ve got to get to the train station on time!”

       Sunset Place, smack in the heart of an affluent Los Angeles suburb, was not the ideal place to get a lift. One after another the cars passed by without slowing down even for the red light that was blinking at the corner. Big empty cars with bored looking middle aged women zoomed by. The male drivers, dressed to kill, did not even spare a blink. No screeching brakes were to be heard, no shouts, nothing but the dull whir of engines.

       "God damn it!" In a burst of anger Roger picked up a rock and threw it across the road. Then another flew through the air, and another. He was lifting a third rock when he heard a sharp screech and the sound of a car pulling to a stop.

       "Hey buddie! Whatcha think your're tryin' to prove?" shouted the loud deep voice of a policeman. Roger swallowed hard. He seemed to have lost his tongue.

        "I´m talking to you. Has the cat got your tongue? Don´t you know how to address an officer of the law?"

         Roger slowly advanced towards the officer, trying to organize the thoughts that were racing through his head.   

         "I'm sorry, Sir, really, it's just I'm late and nobody wants to give me a lift."

         "So you figured you'd throw rocks at the cars? Is that it?"

         "Nobody would stop!"

         "What kind of an excuse is that? They have no obligation to stop..."

         "I know but it´s just, I got impatient."

         "Impatient? You think I don’t get impatient with punks like you who break the law for no good reason?"

         "I wasn't breaking the law, Sir." Roger had become deadly calm. "I have a very good reason. If I don't get to the train station, I'll arrive late and Nancy will kill me!"

           "Nancy? Who is she?" Roger did not answer but inside he was struggling for words. How could he explain to a policeman why it was so important to see the woman? 

            "Did you say she is going to kill you?"

            "Not literally but, you know, she's very temperamental."

            The officer smirked, the way he usually did when he had to pick up teenagers.
                “It looks like both of you are temperamental. OK. Get in. I´ll take you this time but the next time you mess with the law you’ll regret it.” The officer waved Roger into the car and then got in himself and off they went speeding down the highway, lights flashing, and siren still hooting. Roger closed his eyes and hoped and prayed they would get to the station on time. The officer drove in silence, pushing the car in an out of the traffic with a masterly touch. He knew the way by heart. The last time he had raced to the train station he was hot on the tail of the First National Bank robbery. He arrived late. The robbers left no trail and were not apprehended. However, a witness asserted that the thieves were two men and a woman. Half a million dollars and assorted jewelry in the safe boxes. Sgt. Jonathan Williams felt humiliated by the escape of the robbers and had sworn to himself that he would get them sooner or later.

                As the patrol car pulled into the parking lot in front of the station, the train screeched in and passengers hustled off to their destinies. Roger dashed past the ticket office, and then looked around towards a newspaper stand where Nancy was standing reading the headlines. The officer still followed Roger, as if he were his pet dog. He peered intensely at the girl. She was young, sandy blond hair, a slender figure, inviting hips; dark sun glasses covered her green eyes. There was something about her that called the officer’s attention. Policemen are like that. They register people’s faces as if their eyes were digital cameras.

                “Nancy! Nancy my love! I’m here!”

                Roger rushed up to the woman and embraced her.

                “I was afraid I wouldn’t arrive on time. Didn’t have a car and nobody would stop to pick me up. Oh, I’m so glad to see you!”

                “Keep kissing me my love,” said Nancy. Roger felt her body suddenly stiffen. “Quick, let’s get out of here. I can’t stand train stations.” She began running towards the taxi stand, dragging Roger by the hand.

“What’s the hurry? We’ve waited so long. I just want to be with you, feel your heart beat. Hey, why don’t you take off your glasses? I want to see your eyes.” She paid little heed to his request at first but lowered the glasses just slightly when she flagged the first taxi that stopped.

“Where to?” asked the driver.

“Holiday Inn,” replied Nancy.

The car was idling, ready to begin the trip. The Sgt. Williams peered into the car.

“Haven’t I seen you somewhere?” he asked Nancy.

“That’s none of your business! To the Holiday Inn!”

“Your license please,” demanded the officer, not taking his eyes off Nancy for a second. He was stalling for time.

“Look you helped me arrive on time,” put forth Roger, “now let us go. You have no right to hold us up.”

“We’ll see about that. Your ID Miss.”

Nancy bent over and seemed to fumble in her handbag but with a sudden lurch she jerked open the door and bolted in between the passengers streaming out of the station. A bullet resounded above their heads.

“Stop in the name of the law or I’ll fire!”

Nancy stopped. Sgt. Williams approached her and removed her sun glasses.

“Now will you show me your I.D.?”

“You don’t have the right to do this,” screeched Roger.

“Yes I do. It’s my duty. Miss Nancy Barrymore I hereby arrest you under suspicion for the robbery of the First National Bank. You may consult your own lawyer. If not we will provide a defense attorney for you at the offices of the district Justice of the Peace.”

Roger stared at Nancy in silence, unable to move, much less utter a word of protest. Could it be true that Nancy, the love of his life, a bank robber? 

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