The first nine chapters of The Regular Guys are free.
U.S. Highway 86
Outside A Medium Sized Town
Somewhere In The Midwest
Lenny looked in his rearview mirror, saw the police car’s blue, yellow and red lights flashing and, despite Biblical prohibition against doing so, uttered the first and last names of the human form of the Christian triumvirate in a manner inconsistent with praise.
“What the hell’s going on here? I wasn’t going a hair over 90!”
Larry, sitting in the passenger’s seat of Lenny’s car, started laughing as Lenny, still violating the terms of the Second Commandment, pulled his car over to the side of the highway. He leaned over a bit and rubbed his forehead with his left hand as if he had one of those tension headaches you used to see in TV commercials years ago. An officer got out of the car and walked toward Lenny’s car. She approached the car, stopping just behind Lenny so if Lenny had a gun drawn it would be harder to shoot her.
“Good evening men,” the officer said. “My name is Ann and I’ll be your citing officer this evening. May I see your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance please, sir?”
“May I see your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, sir?” Lenny echoed sarcastically. “What if I said ‘no, you may not see my driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance’? In fact, what if everyone who was pulled over refused to show their driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance. What would you do then? Your scam would be over. Over!”
Larry laughed and the officer smiled. Lenny then proceeded to search for his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
The cop took in the guy in front of him; he was kind of cute. A little pudgy perhaps, but she liked his black hair that was kind of curly and a tad thin on top and his otherwise friendly face.
“I’d have to arrest you, then, sir,” she said. “And that means more paperwork than either of us really wants.”
“Here,” Lenny said, proffering the requested papers in both his hands, as if he were trying to hand her a fistful of dollar bills. “I’ve even included a blood print and my last five tax returns.”
Lenny was annoyed because he and Larry weren’t all that far from their destination, a dive lounge in a hotel in a medium-sized town a couple of hours from their home in the Midwest where he and Larry, in their role as Professional Comedians, were going to perform the next couple of nights.
“Do you know how fast you were going, sir?” the officer asked.
“No, I don’t know how fast I was going,” Lenny said. “If I did we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we, ma’am?” Lenny turned and looked at the lousy fuzz that had pulled him over. He saw a lady a bit younger than him, cute with short blonde hair. She had a pretty, wholesome face. Her nametag offered the name ‘Shelton’.
“You know, Officer Shelton, I am bigger than you. What if I were to strike the classic martial pose and yell “HI-EEEE!” To emphasize his point Lenny brought his hands, palms open, in front of his face in what he supposed was the classic martial arts position. He really had no clue if this was the classic martial arts position, or even if such a position existed, because Lenny knew squat about martial arts.
“I’d have to shoot you, sir,” Officer Shelton said.
“That would rule,” Larry said. “Could you just graze him though, he’s my ride home?”
“Perhaps, sir,“ Officer Shelton said. “We prefer shots that actually penetrate the suspect to flesh wounds, however. Makes them less able to resist.”
“Uh-oh. Better do what she says then, Lenny.”
Lenny looked at Larry like he had just sprouted a third eye. “Why don’t you shut up?” Lenny asked.
Larry laughed again. So did Officer Shelton for that matter.
“We had you clocked at 92, sir,” Officer Shelton said.
“We? Who’s we?” Lenny said turning his head left and right. “You on patrol with Reid and Malloy?” Lenny and Officer Shelton made eye contact. Lenny winked at her.
Officer Shelton laughed. “Where are you two headed that you need to get there yesterday.”
“The next town,” Larry said. “There’s a world-class resort there that’s expecting us to make people laugh the next couple of nights.”
“World-class resort? In the next town?” Officer Shelton was momentarily confused because she lived in the next town. Not only that, she had grown up there, gone to school there and was now, after having successfully completed the required training, a deputized officer of the law there.
“Oh, you mean the Ramada Inn. Yeah, that’s world-class. You’re not playing that dumpy dive off the lobby are you?”
“Along with Marvin the Mediocre Hypnotist,” Larry confirmed. “And the Precision Broom Brigade.”
Lenny started to get annoyed with Larry, who he felt was mocking their weekend’s work, which he was, of course. Lenny had been trying to hit it big as a comedian for years with somewhat less than incredible success. Or any success, really.
Lenny didn’t know much about Larry, who he was just giving a ride to break up the monotony of the drive. He had been on a few of the same bills as Larry, who had just started on the comedy racket. Lenny had no idea what Larry used to do before he got into the comedy racket; though they were hardly strangers, and Larry didn’t talk much about himself in the time they had spent together.
“We are booked into the main showroom at the Ramada, yes, Officer Shelton,” Lenny said, making the gig sound like they were on their way to Carnegie Hall. He was, after all, a professional entertainer on his way to his next performance. Or was, until Officer Shelton pulled them over.
“I’ve worked security there when I’ve had a night off,” she said. “Wait here while I go make sure you’re not on the Most Wanted List.”
“Great,” Lenny said when she was out of earshot. “A ticket from a cute cop. Just what I need.”
“I think she likes you, Lenny.”
“Shut up. She does not.”
“OK,” Officer Shelton said, leaning into the window. “HQ reports you don’t need to be shot on sight and are not an immediate menace to society, which I highly doubt, but I need to reach my quota so I am going to issue you a ticket anyway. But I’m only going to cite you for going ten miles per hour over the speed limit. It’s a lot better legally than the 47 miles per hour over you were doing.”
Lenny graciously muttered his thanks as Officer Shelton finished writing the ticket.
“Here,” she said handing Lenny her clipboard. “Sign where the X is. Signing is not an admission of guilt.”
“What is it then,” Lenny asked. “A declaration of innocence?”
“Actually, it just means you’ll appear in court on the agreed-upon date, or pay the fine beforehand.”
“Lenny, how about as a token of your appreciation for Officer Shelton’s not sending you to death row you get her comps for tonight’s show at the main showroom at the Ramada Inn?” Larry sounded as if he were telling a child to write a thank you note for a birthday present.
“How about as a token for providing ground transportation you shut your trap?” Lenny said, which caused both Larry and Officer Shelton to start laughing again.
Lenny considered the matter for a second. “You think we could get comps?”
“I think so. What are they gonna say, no?”
“Officer Shelton, if I were to issue you said ‘comp’ – which I am NOT ready to do yet – would you attend?”
Officer Shelton leaned on the door and peered through the open window. Lenny could smell a faint trace of some fancy-schmancy, high-quality soap. He liked that.
“Well, I’ve got some old ladies to cite for jaywalking later, but I suppose I could break free. Assuming the offer is graciously extended and not an attempt to influence a duly deputized officer of the law in the performance of her duties.”
“Officer Shelton!” Larry exclaimed in mock horror. “I am appalled! Appalled! We are merely trying to offer a hard-working law enforcement professional a complimentary evening of entertainment. You’re a hero now, don’t forget.”
“My ass she’s a hero” Lenny said. “She gave me a ticket. What’s so heroic about that?”
“People like you should be behind bars,” Larry said condescendingly, looking down his nose at Lenny.
“You charmer. OK, I’ll be there,” Officer Shelton said.
“Bring your handcuffs,” Lenny said, winking at her again before driving off.