A traffic stop suddenly turns foul
Shirley Rae is a cheerful and full of life grandmother. In a word: spunky. Mindful of her health, Shirley is a charter member at a yoga and fitness studio and to keep on top of her medical needs, Shirley has a standing biannual appointment with her physician of many years, Dr. David Yanai.
Shirley was on her way to an appointment with Dr. Yanai when reflecting in her rear view mirror she saw flashing red and blues.
Puzzled her driving attracted police attention, Shirley broke-off her sing-along to the tune Neil Diamond was singing on the radio. “Damn! I wonder what I did to be pulled over.”
A portly and neatly uniformed police officer approached Shirley’s driver’s side door. “Good afternoon, ma’am, I’m Officer Delp.” Flashing a broad smile, Officer Delp politely asked, “May I see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, please?”
Shirley, anxious, but obliging, handed the officer her driver’s license, requesting, as she did so, the officer not laugh at the the photo. “Bad hair day, ya know.”
Officer Delp kindly responded, “I’d never do that, ma'am. Registration and proof of insurance, please.”
“They’re in the glove box.” Then, as a heads-up precaution, Shirley alerted the officer, “Just so you know, and for both our safety, I have a gun in the glove box. It isn’t real. It’s a squirt gun that belongs to my grandson.”
Upon hearing the word gun, all pleasantries abruptly ceased. Officer Delp pulled his firearm from its holster and sternly warned, “Real easy now, hand me the gun. Any fast moves, I’ll have to shoot you. Do you understand?”
Shirley nervously answered, “Y-yes. P-please, Officer, don’t shoot me. It’s just a squirt gun.”
“So you say. Last week, Officer Garcia was shot and killed by a man who said the same thing about a harmonica he had in his glove box. So again, I warn you, no funny business.”
Shirley, now in tears, wearily spoke, “I swear, Officer, it’s a toy; it’s just a kid’s toy.”
“I’m sure it is. Now, stop crying, and hand me the gun.”
Nearly petrified with fear, Shirley hesitantly reached for the glove box, but quickly recoiled. “I’m afraid.”
“There is no need to be afraid. Hand…me…the gun.”
Shirley balked. “You’ll shoot me.”
Confirming Shirley’s terrified posture of being shot, Officer Delp assured her he would shoot her dead, but only if she pointed the gun at him.
“Now, then, reach in the glove box with your left hand. Secure the gun by the barrel, and slowly, hand it to me.”
Shirley had never in her life been attacked with such over the top hostility. Attempting to de-escalate the harrowing situation, Shirley pleaded, “Please, Officer, I’m afraid. Could you come around to the passenger side and get the gun yourself?”
With heightened alertness, Officer Delp, still pointing his gun directly at the potential killer’s head, directed her to stay put with both hands on the steering wheel and walked ever so cautiously to the passenger side of Shirley’s car.
“Do you have to keep pointing your pistol at me, Officer? I am not a criminal; I have a squirt gun in my glove box. It’s just a toy for God’s sake.”
“Better safe than sorry. Remember what I said about Officer Garcia? He left behind a wife and nine cats.”
“You don’t sound too sorry to me.”
“I guess I’d be sorrier if I were a cat person, but I’m sorry, all the same.”
“I’ll pass your condolences on to Officer Garcia’s wife.” Officer Delp opened the car door and pressed the button to open the glove box. “You say there’s a squirt gun in here?”
“Yes, Officer. It’s in there with my registration and proof of insurance.”
Keeping his eyes trained on, and his gun pointed at Shirley, the search for the alleged squirt gun began. As Officer Delp fingered his way inside the glove box, he suddenly and loudly screeched, “Ouch! What the . . .?”
Somewhat startled by the unexpected cry, Shirley asked, “Something wrong, Officer?”
“Yeah. Something just bit me.”
Appreciating what the “something” was, Shirley feigned heightened concern and jumped on the opportunity to have a little fun at Officer Delp’s expense. “Oh, that’s Tony. I forgot I put him in there. Don’t worry, officer, Tony’s just a wee-bit of a poisonous snake. Did you find my grandson’s squirt gun?”
“I don’t care about your grandson’s squirt gun. What about the snakebite? Am I gonna die.”
”I’ll call 911 for ya, maybe they’ll get here in time.”
Panic-stricken, Officer Delp, clutching the index finger of his left hand with the hand that once held his gun, quickly spat, “In time? What does that mean?”
“Eight minutes. That’s eight minutes if you can stay calm and don’t start running around. Have a seat on the ground. Use my front tire for a backrest. Now then, be quiet. I have 911 on the line.
“Hello. My name is Shirley Rae. I want to report a snake bite.
“No, it was a policeman who was bitten.
“Right now he is sitting on the ground.
“Yes, he’s conscious, but unless you send help, he won’t be for long.
“Oh, heavens, yes. Very poisonous.
“I’m not quite sure what kind of snake Tony is.
“I’m facing North on Knott just South of Orangewood.
“Thank you. Good bye.”
In a comforting voice Shirley told Officer Delp that help was on the way, adding, “I’d like to stay, but I’m late for a doctor’s appointment. Now, then. What did you do with my driver’s license?”
Shirley found her license tucked in Officer Delp’s shirt pocket. As she was putting her license back in her billfold, she asked Officer Delp why he pulled her over.
As he felt his life was circling the drain, Officer Delp eked, “I… I was going to give you a Thanksgiving Day turkey for being such a courteous driver.”
“Thanks all the same, Officer, but I’m a vegetarian. Really now, I do have to get going. Dr. Yanai hates it when his patients are late.”
As she pulled back onto Knott Avenue, Shirley saw in her rear view mirror Officer Delp on his knees, reaching out in vain for her to stop and pleading not to leave him behind to die. The sight brought about spontaneous laughter because, unbeknownst to Officer Delp, Tony was a non-venomous garter snake.
Shirley Rae is a cheerful and full of life grandmother. And too, the lovable soul has a biting sense of humor.