That doesn’t mean Hick and Val wish to get rid of their Genius. It means Thevictorians have a driving record. And that record is something to leave home about.
You might recall that Hick once ran over an old lady while driving the city
truck, and sat on the road holding her hand while she was still under the truck,
waiting for someone to think to call 9-1-1. Hick also ran a Monte Carlo off the
road by a culvert and landed in a little creek. He rear-ended a lady on the
highway just before getting out of the city, which caused nuts and bolts to fly
around the front seat of his Cutlass like the hornets that swarm around his own
head when he mows over their nest every summer. That accident wasn’t really noteworthy,
aside from the fact that it showed him his new hire was nickel-and-diming his
workplace on nuts-and-bolts.
Hick was questioned but not ticketed for Parking While Hick in the public
park. And just last week, he was pulled over in College Town for a non-working
tail light. That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.
Val herself is no stranger to the flashing red light. Her own kindergarten
Genius ratted her out to a local cop over an ALLEGED 5 mph over the speed limit
infraction: “My mom’s had FIVE speeding tickets!” That might be a bit of an
Let’s see…there was that warning when I was pre-valedictorian. “Well, little
lady, do you know how fast you were going?” Yeah. It was 35. In a 30. Why so
nit-picky, Bubba, you city policeman?
Then the college speeding ticket down south on I-44, when I was driving a
Chevy Chevette, which I KNOW didn’t go over 75, or I would have felt it vibrate
like a space shuttle breaking up. The patrolman really didn’t have to be quite
so dramatic, standing along the shoulder, jumping into the air and pointing his
finger at my moving car like he was declaring me a winner with the checkered
flag, then motioning for me to pull off. AND acting like he was doing me favor,
writing that ticket for 79 in a 75, rather than 81 in a 75.
My first job was in a town that was a long way from civilization. I made an
hour drive into Springfield about once a month. That was almost as much
excitement as I could take. So there was no need for the state patrolman to
pull me over on my way home one night. No funny business. I had merely been
visiting friends, then shopping. How was I to know that I had no taillights?
Just because the dash lights didn’t work. I was a safe driver! I had a
flashlight to shine on my dash periodically. To see how fast I was going, you
know. And I didn’t get over 50. Way below the speed limit. So all I got was a
warning to fix my taillights.
Speed was not a factor when I rolled my Chevette three times down the middle
of winding blacktop Highway 8. I had my window down, cruising along, enjoying
the late summer day, on my way to Springfield. A big bumble bee bounced off my
side mirror and flipped into my shirt pocket. BZZZZZ! BZZZZZ! BZZZZZ! Said the
bee. Disgruntledly. I reached down with my hand to flip it out, and when I
looked up, I was headed for the woods on the other side of the road. I yanked
the wheel sharply, sending myself rolling ample-butt-over-teakettle down the
middle of the road. ONE! TWO! THREE times I rolled! It seemed like slow motion.
I ended up driver’s side down in a ditch on the right-hand shoulder. I
unbuckled myself and crawled out, a concussion and dislocated shoulder and
forearm contusion and multiple bruises worse off than when I started. But hey!
And that ticket I got while teaching in Cuba was totally not my fault! I was
driving down the outer road to get to St. James for a tasty shrimp buffet when
a car started coming up behind me. It came closer. And closer. Was tailgating
me, in fact. So I sped up. That was back when I did not want to inconvenience
anybody. And wouldn’t you know it? The minute I sped up, the red light started
flashing, and I knew that I had been entrapped!
Those country roads are tough driving. You have to pay attention every
minute. And let’s hope you don’t get behind a truck pulling a long trailer full
of cattle. That could seriously change your hour drive into a two -our drive.
So when there’s an opening to pass, you take it. You have to get up speed to
get around a long cattle trailer and the truck pulling it, because the road
won’t stay straight for long. And it takes a minute or so to slow back down
once you cut in after passing. Which is right when a highway patrolman will
choose to put on his lights as you whiz past him sitting there on the shoulder,
barely off the road, where there is no room, really, for a patrol car to sit. I
don’t know how he can’t understand why you were going so fast. Not to speed.
Just to get around that slow cattle trailer, to resume the normal speed limit.
And how are YOU supposed to know your own speed, what with staying on the
two-lane road and making sure you don’t cut off that truck getting back over.
Who has time to look at the speedometer? So the only answer, really, to the
question, “Do you know how fast you were going?” is the answer I gave him:
“Pretty fast.” Can you believe I got a ticket for THAT?
Don’t cops run your license when they pull you over? Because surely they
must know how many speeding tickets you have. Like when they pull you over on
the way back from Walmart on a Sunday morning, going back to your $17,000
house, and just give you a warning for going over 30 mph.
Or when you are leaving your current school's old building during the early years, and heading
down a back street a few blocks away, and the city cop coming at you turns on
his lights and motions for you to stop. And right there in the middle of the
road tells you that you are going a little fast. To which you reply, “I was
only going 25.” And he says, “Speed limit’s 20, ma’am.”
So I suppose that would make my grand total 3 tickets and 5 warnings and 1
Yes, poor little Genius never had a chance. Not since the days his
10-year-old self was stick-shifting his little brother Pony around the grounds, all responsible and such, making him ride in the back seat because he was so
little, and making sure he put on his seatbelt.
Toyota Tercel windshield-shoe-polish price...$400.
Silver-tongued Hick's bartering technique...$300