"cousin" and the car

My speedometer's gone wonky. I think its problem is somehow connected with wet weather, but I don't know. First time I noticed, I was doing 55 as I drove sedately toward Prairie Road. Next time, it read 90 on Maxwell. Gave me a little thrill, but somehow the buildings weren't spinning past like they should have been.

The 1991 Dodge Dynasty is fine for me. I think it has plenty of power, though Tim says its engine's got nothing on his '66 Falcon in its glory days (I think his speedometer showed high numbers for real a couple times on Illinois back roads). The Dynasty runs and is paid for, however there is the speedometer problem. There is also an occasional right turn signal glitch, in that its light comes on, but without the click, click. It shines steady and makes no sound. Is this legal? I'm not sure. Today a sheriff's car followed me briefly, and I turned to the right in from of him. He didn't come after me, so if I'm in the wrong it's at least not a big enough infraction to warrant immediate action by law enforcement.

Something happened last weekend, though, that brought the authorities to our doorstep.

Tim and I were alone most of Saturday, so of course we were highly stimulated to clean the kitchen counter. Then Tim, in typical fashion, made his way to the garage while I went online and tinkered with my blog. After an hour spent cajoling HTML widgets and thingies to do what I wanted I took a break and wandered through our living room, past the front window, where outside the green trunk of a sheriff's car showed, its front obscured by Tim's work truck. The sheriff, his back to me, was jotting things on his clipboard and talking to a man who had his hands behind his back.

I stepped quickly past the window. "Tim," I called to the garage door. "You should look out front. A sheriff's arresting someone on our driveway."

I felt rather like Mrs. Kravitz from the old TV show, Bewitched. I kept peeking to see what might happen next. Amused, Tim offered to go out and ask the arrestee (a middle-aged guy we didn't recognize) what he'd been handcuffed for. "I can tell him my wife wants to know," Tim said. "My wife, Deanna, who frequents the jail to visit her cousin."

I rolled my eyes. "Thanks, anyway." Still, it was hard not to check the scene every few minutes.

It was Tim who noticed when a couple of city police cars parked near the sheriff. Things were serious, yet also quite familiar. The guy being arrested had the dazed look of the usual Cops felon. Tim has watched that show for years, and we could guess the sort of dialog transpiring. Criminal: "Why'd you stop me? I wasn't doing anything." Policeman: "What did you toss out when you saw us behind you?" Criminal: "Nothin'. This is my friend's car. I don't know what you're talking about." And so it tends to go.

Why we had this particular episode out front was a puzzler. Our house sits in the middle of the block on a quiet street. Such drama doesn't transpire here. Had this man fled to our home for some reason? Conceivably, my cousin in prison could have given him our address.

I sure hoped not.

At last I made it back to my computer, just before the doorbell rang. Uh, oh. I skittered toward the front door, glad to see Tim there first. I peered over his shoulder at two state patrolmen.

"Do you recognize Ken out here?" one of them asked.

"No," Tim said. "We checked, and he isn't a neighbor or anything."

"He told us his cousin lives here," the officer said.

"Hm, Ken..." I think Tim was smiling by now. "Cousin Ken...I could go look up the family tree."

The officers' laughs relieved me, but I tensed again as Tim started making more comments, mentioning kissing cousins and the like. The first officer said they would get his truck out of our driveway, and the two of them moved away, while Tim swung the screen door wider and made to say more. I motioned quickly for him to get back inside. "Enough," I whispered. I love my funny guy, but the troopers might have stuff to do.

A big tow truck pulled up in front. That's when I saw the newish truck "cousin" Ken had been driving being backed out of the slot my Dynasty normally occupies. I'd all but forgotten Victoria had taken the car to work, and Tim's truck had been hiding Ken's vehicle. Now the situation made better sense. Ken had been fleeing the troopers and had turned down our street and found what he thought might be a hiding place on the other side of the large-wheeled Dodge Ram Tim drives up to transmitters. If the troopers had been snoozing, perhaps Ken's plan might have worked. Instead, a crime was foiled, for which I'm definitely grateful.

I'm pretty sure he wasn't in trouble for a faulty blinker. But next week mine's getting checked at the garage, along with the crazy speedometer.


Mike S said…
The great thing about such happenings in a small place like this is you can easily turn on the scanner, unless you just holler out the officer's name & ask him to stop in before they leave for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
Buck and I were talking the other night about how it's a good thing (but not always possible) in life to avoid getting onto the radar screen of dangerously criminal or disturbed people. I expect Ken is one of the more routine clueless lowlifes trolling the roads, but I'm still glad you stayed in the house.

p.s. I enjoy your blog tinkering. This is a nice clean design and soothing, but not boring. I especially like the size of the type.

p.p.s. We went to the post office yesterday and I came away with a treat: the book you sent, Saying Goodbye. Today I am giving myself the gift of reading and savoring your story in it, "Memorial Day." Thanks so much for sending it. I treasure the inscription.
Deanna said…
Mike, if I weren't shy, I could perhaps try asking the police people in for hot cocoa. Tim would, I'm sure, if I'd let him. But in a smaller town I think it would feel more okay to do so. I know, they're people, too...

Beth, I tend to feel safe, but I know. You never know. Glad you like the blog and so glad the book arrived safely!
deb said…

Glad to hear it all ended well. We live in a fairly safe area , and take it for granted I think.

The book arrived Friday, and I hid from the chaos until I'd read through your piece. It's remarkable. I'm going to read it again, and offer a little more feedback probably. Thank you again for sending it , for giving. I can't wait to read all the essays, and hold it dear to me as a sign , that you know, I can do this I think. Hold my writing in my hands. How very exciting that must have been for you.

And I've nothing to offer re the blog tinkering. Although I did change over to a gmail acct this morning, so uber technically cool aren't I . The other acct was one that came with the purchase of a website space for my now defunct Green Acres business. It had very little storage space etc. That's something , a start.
Ruth D~ said…
Haha. Funny story. And your so right. It does have the ring of Cops, but not quite as bad. Have you made an appointment for the car yet?
Deanna said…
Deb, I have a strong feeling you'll soon know what it's like to hold your own writing in your hands. I recently saw that one of your posts was in the top ten at High Calling for 2010. You've got something many readers will be happy to have and hold, as well. I'm glad you thought well of my piece.

Ruth, I'm having to reschedule the car work for next week, because life is crazy around here, even without the cops out front. Such is real life...