Daily Prompt, 8 June 2014
Judging A Book By Its Cover
Hank’s heart sinks when a flash in the mirror catches his eye. It’s a cop. Where’d he come from? His speed is right on the money. He mentally reviews his log book. It’s up to snuff. He spots a paved pullout and begins slowing, and then sets the brake after he’s come to a full stop.
He doesn’t need this. He still has three hours before he has to go to bed. Why isn’t this jerk out chasing a bank robber rather than harassing someone who is trying to make an honest living? He goes through a laundry list of things he wants to say as the officer approaches his tractor, but Hank states none of them. Instead, he switches on the four-ways and shuts off the engine.
“I need your license, your bill of ladening, and your log book,” the officer says, after Hank lowers the door glass.
Hank remains silent and hands down the items. Then he settles back in his seat and waits.
“Wait here,” the officer says, returning to his patrol car.
Hank sees the reflection of his laptop against the officer’s face, and he wonders about his source of WiFi out here in the middle of the desert on Interstate 80. He watches him put the microphone to his mouth. Then the officer busies himself with something that is out of Hank’s range of vision. Writing? This doesn’t look good.
He recalls a time, years earlier, when a pack of cops pull him over at the edge of a small Ohio town. After checking his fire extinguisher they let him go. Much to his surprise, he another group stands waiting on the other side of town. They, too, want to see his fire extinguisher, and then write him a ticket because the seal is missing. He wonders what this Nevada fellow has in mind.
His attention is redirected to the officer as the door swings open. He watches him make his way back to the tractor.
“I suppose you’re curious why I stopped you?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
“One of your trailer tires on the right side is flat. There’s a truck stop about twenty miles ahead. If you run slower you might make it there without blowing the other one out. You have a safe trip to Salt Lake, sir.”
“Thanks.” He watches the trooper pull out from from behind and continue eastbound. Hank climbs out to check the chains and binders, and then thump the tires. By the time he’s back in the seat it’s just him and the desert again. He’s glad he didn’t vent on this guy and ruin the night for both of them.