Another day on an Interstate Highway. A car gets pulled over.
“License and registration, please”
The driver complies readily.
“Do you know why I am stopping you?”, says the displeased officer.
“It certainly isn’t for speeding. I was doing 65.”
“Well officer, I am sorry, but I was doing 65. In fact, everybody else seems to be doing 90 on this highway. See all of these cars flying by? They were flying by me too. That motorcycle must have been doing 110 mph. Don’t tell me you are booking me for speeding?”
“We know this tactic.”
“What do you mean?”
“You were doing 90 miles an hour, and then you reduced the speed when you spotted me from the distance. I know your type.”
“I did not do such a thing.”
“You did too. Listen, I see this everyday. These other people flying by, they are at least honest. They stick to their speeding, they’ve got nothing to hide. On the other hand, sneaky people like you are dangerous…”
“I can’t believe what I am hearing…”
“Well, you better believe it. I will estimate by the heat of your engine you were doing at least 100, more or less. So I will book you for 100. That is settled.”
“This is outrageous. Do you know why the car is hot? Because it is 15 years old. This thing heats up like crazy. It can’t go 100 mph.”
The officer turns a notch more unpleasant.
“Sir, please step out of the car.” The driver could swear the officer already had one hand on his weapon.
“You are way too aggressive. I see some patterns, I have to run some tests.”
“I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t take medicines. If those are the tests you are running, you are wasting your time.”
“I see. Just like your car can’t go 100 mph, huh”
“Ok. Just give me the breathalyzer, I’ve got nothing to hide.” The driver takes the test. Then he walks, the straightest walk on earth. The surprised officer goes to the car and calls the radio. Comes back with a very serious demeanor.
“I am calling for back-up.”
“What did I do now?”
“Well, you didn’t do a thing. But I have reason to suspect my breathalyzer is broken. So I called another officer. We will use his instrument instead.”
“This is outrageous…”
“Sir, you are going to have to calm down, or else I will have to cuff you.” The driver decides to shut up. The officer means business.
They wait another twenty minutes, when the other officer arrives, sirens blasting, walks out of the car with the breathalyzer ready to go.
“Hey, guess what, we got a code 402 here,” screams the officer who called for back up.
“Another 402? They are spreading like wildfires.” The back-up officer addresses the driver. ”Sir, please breathe right here.” They wait for the result, and find the driver’s breath was as clean as a whistle. Again.
The officers look at each other baffled. They walk away from the driver and talk a little. They call the radio. Maybe the batteries were bad in both units. They start looking for fresh batteries in their cars. They found a set. They run the test again. Clean, clean, clean.
“Well Mr. Rudolph, you got away from the D.U.I. this time. I have better things to do, so I will not call for further back-up or take you to the station. You are lucky my son was born today and I got a promotion, so I am in good spirits. I will only book you for doing 100 mph in an 65 mph zone.”
“Sir, can I say something, please. I mean no disrespected, I like the police, I watch COPS every night, but my car cannot go 100 mph. In fact, it can only go 65. You know why, because after 65, it rattles and shakes so much it becomes undriveable. If you care to join me, I will show you.”
The two officers look at each other, taken aback by the interesting, fresh piece of information. The booking officer decides to take a ride with the poor driver. The driver accelerates the car to 40, 50, 60, 65, once past 65, the thing makes all kinds of noise, shakes like crazy, and it seems it will fall apart if the driver accelerates even a bit more. The officer seems convinced, and tells the driver to return to the place where he was stopped. One and a half hours have elapsed since the police action began. The officer leaves the vehicle and walks to his patrol car again, talks on the radio, and comes back to address the driver.
“Am I free to go? Did I prove this old piece of manure can’t exceed the speed limit?”, says the anxious and relieved driver.
“Well sir, you indeed proved your can can’t do over 65. I am also calling a tow truck, and giving you a summons for driving an unsafe vehicle. We are taking this car off the road, and you will need to appear in Court. You get 3 points off your license too. You should consider yourself lucky that we are taking this car away from you. Safe driving, sir.”
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Artigos de autoria de Carlos de Paula, tradutor, escritor e historiador de automobilismo baseado em Miami. Articles written by Carlos de Paula, translator, writer and auto racing historian based in Miami.
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