Caught red-handed

“A Writer’s Book of Days” has the final word tonight. And that word — rather, words, in the form of today’s writing prompt: “You have stayed too long.”

He’s speeding. Smack on the tail of my Ford Focus. Tomato red. “Cops notice red cars,” friends warned, daring with laughter. “Red cars get ticketed more than other colors.”

Guess they were right. My 4th ticket in 10 months.

I slow into a roll to the shoulder. Easy does it.

Caution is demanded when any maneuver except speeding, tailgating and abrupt frequent lane changes — The Norm of California Driving — occurs. Your very life depends on expert execution.

And I’m not about to get slammed and sent sailing into some lane by some speeder doing 85 and meet my Maker at age 24! Where ARE the cops for those assholes anyhow?! Me, I was goin’ only 75.

“Do you know how fast you were going, miss?” he asks, even before requesting license and registration. Not a good start. Good cop bad cop, can’t tell.

What I can tell is a square strong jaw, a broad-shouldered buff tough build, a well-groomed small brown mustache above small tight lips. And my reflection in his mirrored sunglasses. I take advantage by checking that innocence and cooperation are plastered on my face.

“I’m sorry, officer,” I respond in the most conservative tone I can muster, masking my contempt for highway cops. “I was going a little fast.”

“What’s that, miss?” He can’t hear me over the oceanic thunder of 6 lanes of vehicles soaring past at 90 mph. California: Where Speed Limits Are A Mere Suggestion.

Unless your car’s red. Might as well attach a roof topper like pizza delivery drivers use that screams: “STOP ME!” Or “COPS CHEW BIG RED!” Or “RED, NOT WHITE, BLEW BY!”

“I said I was going a little fast,” I roar over the thundering 405.

He jumps back a little.

“He thinks I’m some crazy stoned — dope’s legal in Cali after all — snowflake-y millennial who can’t handle an ounce of stress and am gonna turn psycho on a dime.”

With his eyes secreted behind sunglasses, I can only speculate. His hand brushes casually against the big manly weapon holstered on his right hip. Maybe I’m onto something.

“Miss, you were going 92 miles an hour.”

“WHAT THE F…?!” I remember the authority figure to my left and auto-correct. “Funky … what the funky day I’ve had.” Sigh. Chin and shoulders raised and dropped for effect.

Total lie. I’d had a fucking fantastic day. Got laid by the boyfriend. Day off from the job — waitress at Fuddrucker’s. And now I’m gonna meet Desiree for happy-hour margaritas, free chips and salsa. Perfect meal for a pair of 24-year-olds on the prowl. That’s probably her 10th text buzzing about my whereabouts.

“Funky or otherwise,” says the cop with all the levity of a German judge conducting trials for war criminals. “Facts are facts. The speed gun clocked you at 92 miles an hour.”

He punitively rips the ticket off his clipboard. I could see him in a bar socking some dude who looks at him wrong or his girlfriend lustily. Assuming he’s got a girlfriend. Probably, that whole “guys in a uniform” aphrodisiac.

Not for me. Not now and not him, the prick. He’s someone else’s problem. My problem is the yellow paper in my hand. And the promise of penalties a-plenty.

Brusquely he sets foot toward his vehicle, where spinning blue and red lights slice through even brightest sunlight.

I shove my titties — 36C, all natural, I’m proud to say in the State of Silicone  — up for maximum cleavage, unbutton another to reveal a hint of my hot-pink bra. I cross my right leg over the left and strike a slightly provocative pose, left hip angled into the seat, right aimed toward the driver’s side window.

I lean out. “Ohhh, officer,” I shout, feminine wiles and coyness discernible even from a distance.

My final shot at an appeal. Gotta take it.

The cop marches back to the window. “Yes, miss?” Again, judge at the war-criminals trial.

“Would it help if I said how very sorry I am? I didn’t mean to speed. I had a lot on my mind.”

Such as margaritas with Desiree. I wave my right foot lightly to create undulating motion in my pelvis pointed his direction.

He smiles.

“There’s hope!” I muse. “Turn up the sex appeal.”

I inspect his face.

That’s no smile after all. It’s a smile wanna-be. A straight line bordering on a constipated grimace. Not attractive. Makes him appear humorless, almost cruel.

I uncross my legs and assume the driving position. Rebutton the button and tug at my skirt like an uptight Mormon secretary whose thigh is exposed 4 inches above the knee.

Four tickets. Caught red-handed am I. Dead meat am I — with the DMV, insurance rates, missed work, lost income, even jail time.

Desperate, I stretch for salvation one last time.

“Officer, I’m really, really sorry …”

“Miss,” he replies. “Be as sorry as you wish.” My hunch is he knows I’m not. I am ticked off at the bad rap red cars get. So unfair.

“You’ve stayed too long in my company … and on these roads. Jail time would do you a world of good. Teach you respect and regard for the law and the drivers with whom you share the roads. Let’s hope the judge sees it the same way.”

He turns sharply on his heels, gets into his car and spins his wheels hard, sending gravel and dust my direction.

“Jerk. What a waste of time. And effort,” I free my titties from ramped-up cleavage.

I cut into the freeway race, royally pissing off some guy behind me. He flips me off with vehement waves as if conducting an orchestra and spews presumably a stream of profanity judging by his billowed inflamed red face.

I notice. ‘Cause things red get noticed on the roads.