Dissections logo scissors body by Deena Warner


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner





Wednesday Morning

Frances Auld


8:43 AM. She was running late. Not terribly late, but later than she liked. She wasn’t even in the car yet! It took Cindy’s PT Cruiser exactly 22 minutes to drive the 12 miles from Port Charlotte to Venice. But it was tourist season and there were tons of New Yorkers on the West Coast of Florida, many of whom drove by feel. She’d go the back way to work. It was Wednesday and she needed to make copies for her 9:30 am LIT 2000 class. Getting there by 9 am assured her time to deal with a particularly cranky printer while tuning out assorted mailroom chat.
She locked the top lock and let the porch door close itself as she slid behind the wheel and checked for her briefcase. She patted her purse for the cell phone and as the engine turned over NPR welcomed her to another day of political hell. She checked the rear view mirror and glanced at her lipstick and pulled out.

By 8:50 she was on Cochran. Cindy rolled up to the 4 way stop just past where the locals fished. No one coming; she gunned it. This was the stretch to make time. No heavy equipment ahead of her meant 55 for the next 6 miles. It was still Old Florida around here, no houses yet. An ex-armadillo and some buzzards took up the tiny shoulder and a nasty ditch yawned just behind them. A huge bald eagle flew directly over the centerline and Cindy stuck her head out the window to watch it. Beautiful. She pulled her head back into the car just in time to catch the flashing red lights in her rearview mirror. Shit. Not today. The squad car flashed its lights. “Yes, today,” Cindy sighed and pulled the car as far off the road as she could, putting the window down. She fumbled for her registration and driver’s license, glancing in the rear view mirror. A youngish policeman (did khakis mean a sheriff?) got out of the vehicle, sandy haired and paunchy. “Balding,” she corrected herself, and caught the image of her car in his mirrored shades as he walked up to her window. Was this guy local or state? “Step out of the vehicle,” he advised her. She was already reaching to hand him her license and registration through the window. This is weird, she thought, remembering the last time she had a speeding ticket. He stepped away from her as she got out of the car, offering him her paperwork. Instead of reaching for it, he leaned in and closed the door behind her. “Do you know how fast you were speeding?” he asked. Oh no, she thought, that is the oldest one in the book. There was no right answer. On the inside she pleaded, “Just give me the ticket” and on the outside she smiled and said what she thought he wanted to hear. “I’m sorry officer. . .,” Cindy paused, looking for his name tag. There wasn’t one. She glanced back at his car, the angle was wrong to read the writing on the side. But didn’t they put letters on the front, as well? “Over here, sugar,” Officer Baldy said, turning her chin to face him. “Now we both know you were speeding and going way more than ten miles over the limit. That’s a $225 dollar fine and do you see that little sign over there?” He pointed back down the road where a tipped over “Construction” triangle sat partway in the ditch. “That doubles your fine, young lady.” Cindy started to cry, just a little bit. She wasn’t doing it for effect; she was starting to get freaked out. This guy felt wrong, didn’t cops wear hats? He had a gun in a holster on one hip and some kind of heavy baton on the other hip, but his shoes didn’t fit the uniform. Nikes?

Officer Baldy shifted his weight and put his hands on his hips, just under that little paunch. “I could be in the mood to be lenient,” he said. If he wiggles his eyebrows, I’m going to lose it, Cindy thought. He pushed the mirrored shades up onto his head and damned if he didn’t raise one eyebrow as he put a hand on her shoulder, pushing Cindy to her knees. He unzipped his fly with the other hand, leaning over her.

A little part of her snapped. The left heel of her new black pumps to be exact. Cindy felt herself falling backward toward the ditch and stood up, trying to gain her balance. Her arms pin wheeling, she clocked Officer Baldy under the chin with the top of her head, cracking him righteously under the jaw. His head snapped back and those stupid mirrored shades flew off into the road. Worse still, he must have had his mouth open, as there was a little pink nubbit of tongue on his chin and red frothy dribble was gathering at the corners of his mouth. Hopping on the broken heel, she moved toward the car door. He lunged at her, his eyes shifting from surprise and pain to rage. “Students have left by now,” floated through Cindy’s head and she failed to suppress a snorting giggle.

“Wednesday is hump day!” she thought, panicky laughter building.

Officer Baldy was not amused. He put one hand on his pistol and the other reached for the baton at his opposite hip. Sadly this caused his undone fly to pouch open and an awkward swath of flesh and Captain America fabric caught the breeze. A line from Aphra Behn popped into Cindy’s head, “But oh, what envious Gods conspire/To snatch his Pow’r” and she outright cackled. It was, she later admitted, the wrong time to laugh. He sputtered something that sounded like “Throng Doove” which Cindy translated to “Wrong Move” as he closed the distance between them. Officer Baldy let go of his gun and grabbed her shoulder, dragging her up the side of the car and pulled back the hand holding the baton.

Cindy’s knees gave way and the baton missed her head, bouncing off the car’s roof. He hauled her to her feet again and stepped back, powering up for the next blow. Cindy closed her eyes and felt the woosh of air and heard the thump as an SUV (New York plates) caught the policeman’s raised baton and flung him over itself and onto the small patch of green, weedy road shoulder. By the time she opened her eyes, the SUV had sped up and run the hidden intersection’s stop sign. It was long gone.

Officer Baldy lay in the far left lane. His head, like his fly, gaping open and promising no good. Cindy slid down the side of car again, caught her breath, “Screw the copies,” she said, “I’m gonna be late.”


Dissections logo pterodactyl by Deena Warner
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