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Is There Anything Wrong Officer?


Lloyd Hudson Frye

“You in the white Celica, pull over!” The anger in the loud speaker was unmistakable.

I hadn’t been watching the traffic around me, too much on my mind. I was heading home after another hour-long interview, where the hiring manager seemed uncomfortable and talked a lot about how fast paced the job was. Like the 39 interviews before this one, I knew there would be no second call to come in.

A flash of hope crossed my mind. I thought the officer might arrest me and take me away so I didn’t have to tell JoBeth another “swing and a miss” story. It’s now been two and a half years and over 10,000 resume submissions, since they sent my manufacturing job to Mexico . The unemployment checks ended two years ago and we’re ripping through the penalized 401 money at an alarming rate.

If he arrested me, it wouldn’t be my fault. Maybe it would be a crime that carried a twenty-year sentence; surely that would be enough time to die from natural causes. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about everyone thinking of me as a loser. I’d be the wrongly accused, convicted felon, a tragic case.

Anything would be better than this life. My five-year-old granddaughter can’t remember me ever working. Friends from the old company quit calling a year ago, after they all got back to work. I spend my nights hoping to hear my wife finally drift off and start snoring. My days pass slowly, watching her stare out the window and sighing in a deep depression, wondering where we’re going to end up.

I waited patiently. At least someone would be talking to me soon. He seemed to be looking at his dashboard a long time. There was more waiting. Gees, he could run my whole history in this amount of time. Finally, the officer started towards my car. He had the walk of an employed man. I felt nauseous. I wanted to apologize. I felt ashamed. Defeated. Alone.

Rolling down my window, I quickly blurted out, “Is there anything wrong officer?”

“Sir, do you know why I’ve pulled you over today?”

“Was I speeding?”

“No, Mr. Johnson of 1223 Meadowbrook Drive . I have here a confirmed three strikes and you’re out decree.”

“I don’t understand. What kind of a decree?”

“It’s a brand new law passed at midnight.”

“What’s it all about?” I began to get excited that an arrest was taking shape.

“Sir, please speak clearly into the microphone, if you would please …for the record.”

“I’ll try.” My voice cracked from fear and anticipation.

“Sir, have you filed age discrimination charges against local corporations with the EEOC in the last five years?”

“Well yes, I have. I know it’s going on, I just can’t prove it.”

“Sir, you have just admitted to violating the new Federal Employee Work Reduction Act, FEWRA, 2006, where it is illegal to bother any federal employee with requests that cause them to do any paperwork whatsoever. That is strike one!”

“I didn’t know. Does asking for food stamps count too?”

“Yes, any public employee is covered. State, county, city, utility company, school district, all of them count.”

“Sir, have you reached the age of 55?”

“Yes I have. I was NAFTAed in the back by congress just before turning 56.”

“Sir, you have just admitted to violating PL#18943 also known as The Old Indian to Walk into the Woods to Die Act, OIWWDA, of 2006. That is strike two!”

“No one told me that was the law.”

“It’s brand new. The department memo said it was the only way to reduce the medical insurance cost problem. And besides, who wants to look at old people, they’re not exactly eye candy, now are they.”

“Hey, I’m over 55.”

“Sir, look in the rear view mirror. Need I say more.”

I stared into the mirror, I had to admit, it wasn’t like seeing Johnny Dep or Ryan Seacrest. “OK, you may have something there.”

“One final question.”

“Go ahead.”

“Sir, what would you estimate your net worth to be?”


“If all your assets were liquidated at today’s fair market value, what are you worth?”

“That’s my business. I don’t see how that concerns the government.”

“Our records show that even with the sale of your home and all the furniture inside, when added to your dwindling 401 accounts, you are worth a little over $108,000. The new minimum to be an American in good standing is $2,500,000.00. PL# 18944.”

“This is insane.”

“Sir, you have admitted to be in violation of at least three federal laws. I’m going to have to ask you to step out of your vehicle.”

“Oh, for Christ’s sake!” I jumped out of my car and slammed the door.

“Sir, you’ve just added the charges of: blasphemy, cursing in a public place, showing agitation, disrespecting a police officer, showing immaturity, acting out the initial phase of road rage, causing an officer to feel nervous or anxious over future behavior of a subject, displaying poor manners, possibly causing damage to eventual public property after the estate sale of your automobile, and showing signs of a general disrespect of the government and the potential seditious acts implied.”

“I can’t believe this is America .”

I’m standing there, trying to calm down, staring down in the ditch in front of me. I notice fresh dirt in uneven piles all along the ditch. Looking closer I see a shoe here, a hat there, then a hand. The ditch has partially buried bodies as far as the eye can see in both directions.

I go to turn around. An explosion of a gunshot ruptures my ear drums and everything goes black.

Later a crowd forms.

Someone in the crowd asks, “Was he going over 55 mph?”

“No, he WAS OVER 55!”

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