Highway Patrol

I got a star on my car and one on my chest,
A gun on my hip and the right to arrest
I'm the guy who's the boss on this highway
So watch out what you're doin' when you're drivin' my way
-Junior Brown

Scofflaws. Criminals. Lawbreakers.

Call them what you want; I call them scum.

I’ve got one pulled over now. Red and blue lights illuminate their vehicle in pulses like the emotions roiling inside me, hot rage and cool contempt. It's a late model Ford Focus with out-of-state plates. It doesn't belong here.

It’s just past midnight when I set my boots to the frigid asphalt. I draw in a deep breath to steel myself for the tedium ahead and let it out in a satisfying plume of fog. The driver rolls down the window the moment I rap on it with the knuckle of my black leather glove. It’s funny how some people will pretend to be good citizens, happy to follow the rules and cooperate when they’ve just been caught breaking the law only moments prior.

A cloud of clove cigarette smoke billows out from the window. The driver is young, mid-20s I’d guess. He smells like the cloves, like rebellion and disrespect. It is my firm belief that no one smokes cloves because they enjoy them; they smoke them to say “fuck you” to societal convention.

“License and registration please,” I say. He hands them over without comment. Sometimes they get real chatty at this point, trying to talk their way out of trouble. This one is either too scared to speak or not scared enough.

I take the documents back to my cruiser but I don’t bother running his info for warrants. Those searches are logged. I just wanted to make sure the dashcam was off before I got down to business. Such tiresome lengths I must go to just to do my job these days.

When I hand him his documents back he finally speaks, “Is everything ok officer?”

I stare at him a moment, letting the silence stretch out to make him uncomfortable.

“Officer?” he repeats.

“I clocked you going 70 miles per hour,” I say.

“Oh, I’m sorry I must not have been paying attention to my speed.”

The smug bastard. He thinks our laws are so inconsequential that he doesn’t even need to pay attention to them. I will show him that there are consequences.

“The limit is 65 here,” I say.

“I know, I just,”

“Sir, do you have any weapons in the vehicle?”

“No,” he frowns. “I mean, there’s a pair of scissors in the glove box, but…”

In an instant I’ve got my pistol free of its holster and pointing straight at the scumbag’s face.

“Keep your hands where I can see them and step slowly out of the vehicle!”

“But, I…”

“Do it now!”

He complies. His hands tremble as he holds them above his head. That smug face looks better covered with a good dose of fear.

“Turn around and put your hands on the car!”

“I don’t understand. What did I do?” I hear the panic in his voice. Good.

He turns around as ordered. I holster my pistol, draw my stun gun and deliver a million volts of justice right to his kidney. He screams and protests but I don’t let up until he’s unconscious. When he wakes up I’ve got him secured in the back of my cruiser. We’re about 5 miles down an old Forest Service road.

“What happened?” he groans.

I say nothing.

“Wait a minute, where are we? What are you doing?”

“I’m doing my job.”

“Am I under arrest?”

I look at him in the rearview. The moonlight is just bright enough to illuminate his pale skin.

“No, you’re not under arrest,” I stop the car. “In fact, you’re free to go.”


I don’t bother to answer him. Instead I get out and open the rear door.

“I don’t understand,” he says.

“You don’t need to understand. You just need to get the fuck out of the car.”

“But I,”

“Get out of the car,” I draw my stun gun and zap at the air a couple of times so he can see the arc, “or I'll drag you out.”

He scoots out, keeping his hands up. I close his door, then get back in the driver’s seat. I can see him shivering in the cold night air. The thermometer on my dashboard puts the temperature at 20 degrees.

I hit the gas, spraying the scumbag with dirt and gravel. At the first wide spot in the road I turn the cruiser around and turn off my headlights.

He hears me speeding toward him and tries to jump out of the way but it’s too late. The impact sends him spinning into a ditch. When I find him he’s still conscious. His legs are bent in unnatural directions. I climb down to take the cuffs off of him.

“Why?” he pants. “Why are you doing this?”

“I swore an oath,” I tell him. “You broke the law. That makes you a criminal. I’m just doing the job I swore to do.”

“The law?” His words come out in halting gasps as he struggles to speak. “This… you’re breaking the law. I have rights… running someone over… against the law.”

“When you speed, that’s against the law. When I speed to catch you, that’s my job. This is no different.”

He tries to say something else but only manages a disjointed blur of groans. That's how I leave him, certain that if his injuries don't kill him the cold will.

I check the front of the cruiser for blood or fibers and lament all the time I have to waste on such details. It’s sacrifice on the altar of lawyer worship, demanded by parishioners who despise the law. No matter. Let the fools litigate the world to Hell.

I will keep doing my job.