The following account dates back to the first year of Linda and my marriage. If you’ve seen the colour of my hair, you’ll realize this encompasses many years. Due to the considerable lapse of time, I admit to some haziness regarding details. In the interest of full disclosure, reader discretion is advised.
Linda and I had been married only 6 months when she returned from an auction driving a blue, 1960 decommissioned cop car. We didn’t need another car so, like a courtroom attorney, she had marshaled her defense.
“Sweetheart,” she began. She tended to call me sweetheart when I needed convincing. “I’m sure it’s as powerful as a D8 cat.” I was then working as a heavy equipment operator. She had no concept of how powerful a D8 cat is.
It would soon become evident that some neurotic mechanic had applied his genius to this car. It was the mechanical equivalent of a cheetah.
A few days later Linda was listening to a radio talk show when she pulled into a full service gas bar. She neglected to turn off the engine and after about 2 minutes the exasperated gas jockey tapped impatiently on the side window. “Lady,” he sputtered, “would you mind shutting off the motor? I can’t get the tank full!”
That week we drove from our home in rural Abbotsford to Penticton for the May long weekend. To avoid the traffic on our return, we departed for home at about 11 pm. with Linda at the wheel.
It was a magical night, just Linda and me, a full moon overhead, and a Kenny Rogers cd playing “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave me Lucille”. Exhilarated by the opportunity to test the Cop Car on a highway uncluttered by traffic, Linda was seriously speeding as we neared the top of Sunday Summit.
Too late we saw the police cruiser parked at the summit, the officer standing about 50 paces away, doing something for which I’m sure he now realized he could have selected a more appropriate location. With his free hand he waved at us to stop. The car shuddered, but scarcely slowed when Linda stepped on the brake. The accelerator was stuck against the floor and we began racing down the other side of the summit.
“The car won’t stop,” Linda said. “I’ll have to outrun him.”
In the side mirror I watched the officer hurriedly completing his business and then running to the cruiser.
We were cresting another hill when the cruiser’s emergency lights began flashing. I lost sight of it, but in the distance ahead we saw tiny flickering lights. Must be fire flies I guessed. As we drew nearer, I realized they were tail lights of motorcycles, the biker gang we’d noticed partying at Skaha Lake. They were dipsy doodling all over both lanes of the highway, beer cans in one hand. I reached over and pressed hard on the horn, not aware the neurotic mechanic had placed transport truck horns under the hood. Hearing it, the bikers feared they’d be run over by a highway rig. Crashing wildly into each other, they desperately cleared to either side. Fallen bikes were strewn along both sides of the highway and enraged bikers shook indignant fists at us as we hurtled past them in the space they had cleared.
Once again, I saw the flashing lights of the police cruiser far behind, racing alone along the dark highway. The accelerator released and Linda was able to slow sufficiently for the next corner. In the darkness, a truck run away lane loomed just ahead to our right.
“Up there!”’ I said, pointing. Due to the hill behind us, neither the bikers or the officer had us in view. We bounced up the runaway as elegantly as a herd of turtles. At the top Linda applied the emergency brake and turned off the lights.
Swarming along the highway below like angry wasps, roaring Harleys pursued the phantom car that had defiled their riders macho identity. Shortly we heard the cruiser’s siren, eerily piercing the darkness. I wondered what the officer would do if he caught up with this gang of enraged bikers.
Linda poured us each a cup of black coffee from a thermos, then said, “it looked like those boys were having a great time.”
“Don’t even think about it, dear,” I replied. “I’m still adjusting to the cop car.”