Everyone in America’s favorite road trip moment: flashing blue lights in the rear view. That was sarcasm by the way. Like the kind infused in Ray’s comment only a moment before, “Oh, you’re a professional all right.” Then appear the lights that only Vic can see. His stomach sinks simultaneously as he glances to the speedometer (too late). Through his chewed up cigar, “Aw, shit.” He downshifts to fourth and the Camaro roars in protest. Instinctively Ray knows to turn around in his seat to looky-loo. When he’s done, he turns back around to settle in for the fun, “Well, jes show ’em your tits.”

The car slows down some more and Vic steers her into an empty gravel parking lot. Garbage cans and telephone poles are beginning to reveal themselves, unmasked by an early purple. And what is purple is fast becoming navy blue and they’ve got about an hour to make the dawn at Gulf State Park. Vic shuts the car off and leans across Ray’s lap to get at the glove compartment and the requisite trouble papers.

“How fast were you going?”

Vic shrugs, “I really wasn’t payin’ attention.”

“Playin’ that God damned ball game again, is what.” Then Ray thinks better of his poor attempts at therapy and decides to be nice. “Didn’t seem like you were going that fast.”

A moment later a young officer appears in Vic’s rolled down window. The cool morning air comes into the car along with him. “License and registration please, sir.”

Vic hands them over no problem. “M’really sorry about that officer.”

The officer looks up at the apology, having already noted Vic’s sixty-three years of age. “Sorry, sir?”

“It’s—we’ve been goin’ for a while—it’s late and I’m tired and I jes wasn’t payin’ attention, sir.”

Leaning down so he can get a clear look at Ray as well, the officer stares for a moment. Ray’s only sorry the kid’s not wearing sunglasses so he could already have a good reason to hate him. “You were doin’ eighty-six in a forty-five,” the apparent and critical difference being in the tens for some reason. Law-abiding Vic Hauser says nothing, doesn’t even make eye contact. Take your licks, boy. “Are you aware that caliber of speeding falls within reckless driving? I could arrest you right here on the spot.”

Vic winces at the word ‘arrest’. Ray winces at the use of ‘caliber’ and smile: only thing worse than a pig is a dumb pig. “I’m really sorry officer. If you’ll just give me a ticket, I promise to go slow ’til we get where we’re goin’. You have my word on that.” Ray on the other hand, is getting worked up about the idle threat: so arrest us you little shit. Speeding at four-thirty in the morning in a G. D. Camaro is one thing. Reckless driving was another caliber of crime entirely.

The officer lets his threat linger as he stands and begins scribbling in his ticket book. Surprisingly another car whooshes by. The officer doesn’t even look up. After a long silent moment he impatiently tears the ticket out off the pad and relents, “I’ll reduce it to twenty over. But you’re from out of state, and I’m gonna’ call ahead and make sure folks are looking out for you, you got me?”

Vic takes the ticket and internally breathes a sigh of relief as Ray thinks, Fuckin’ country cop. Who’s he gonna call? Punk. But it’s Vic that does the talking. “You got my word, sir.”

“What are you gentlemen up to you at four-thirty in the morning exactly?”

Ray leans way over, “Jes runnin’ some ganja down to a fren’o’mine near Pensacola.”