Chapter 9


a female officer was first to emerge from the cruisers. i found out later the officers name was Jeanie. the woman from the sandwich who had put the plate in her phone now recited it for Jeanie.

“FF2 7210,” i said after her, to be sure.

Jeanie had a hard time writing it down. she kept beginning again, scratching the last one out. she shook her head. the number i gave could not have been correct, she explained to us, because the first three characters in any Ohio plate are letters.

“was it definitely an Ohio plate?” the officer asked.

“yes,” i and the guy-witness said together.

by this time a half-dozen squad cars were in park, flashing lights in any of various angles, surrounding us. an officer asked me which way had the minivan gone, and i told him.

“look for a shower cap!” i exclaimed.

he took off in pursuit of the vehicle. a handful of cops now stood or leaned against their cars short distances from where we stood. most of them spoke (or listened) to these walky talkies that were strapped to their shoulders. they seemed completely removed from our situation. didnt give me a glance.

Jeanie went to her car and got on the laptop to search license plates that began FF and ended 7210. 

she came back, “you sure it was a minivan?”

“yes, it was a silver minivan in new condition, like no rust or anything, but an older model.”

“i got her!” Jeanie declared.

“it was FFG 7210,” she explained.

she went on to say a 2001 silver minivan with this license plate was registered to a woman who fit my description (of a young African American, aged 25). a damn good description it had been—FFG 7210 was female, 24 and ‘black’.

it was funny to me Jeanie had used the word ‘black.’ so had the African American woman in the SUV. id always thought it was offensive, or at least politically incorrect to say ‘black.’ and yet, Jeanie, like the good Samaritan was, well, black. 

“yeah, it was FFG 7210. i just scrambled it along the way,” i figured aloud.

“either way,” Jeanie told me, “we will get the plate. they just installed three cameras at this intersection.”

a white male officer approached.

“oh, so there is no way in hell we wont catch her, right?” i said to the two officers.

“well,” the male officer said, but did not finish.

he moved like lightning to his cruiser. the other cars also took off, to answer other calls or maybe the same urgent one. the last officer standing let Jeanie know she should head to Garrys Grocery, when she had done with me.

then an ambulance arrived. they took two minutes to emerge, a threesome in various costumes. i refused a ride before it was even offered, told them i was fine. the medics stepped back, spoke in hushed tones to one another, one gripping a legal-sized metal clipboard-box.

one officer approached, asked me in a quiet calm did i not have health insurance? but i told him i did have insurance. i just didnt think i was hurt badly enough to go thru the rigmarole.

“okay,” he said, in a way that made me think it really wasnt.

he went over to Jeanie. i took in the panoram. the sandwich was hard at work, writing reports. the guy turned out to be a Cleveland Heights prosecutor. his name was actually Jack Doe. bible. Jack was well in to a heated discussion with Jeanie, three yards into the street.

my ears perked up.

i heard Jeanie say, “legally, we cannot force her to go.”

“yeah,” he looked down at his foot and tapped.

friendlier then, he said, “so, how long have you been on the force?”

“2 years,” i heard Jeanie say.

they talked about so-and-so, and what-and-what. i tuned out. i was antsy to get home and charge my phone so i could call Brian.

we left the witnesses as Jeanie motioned me towards a shadow by the cinema so i could pull down my pants, in private. she wanted to see if i had bruises or other visible wounds. she was going to take pictures, regardless how minute i insisted my injuries to be.

first she had me stand in the light. she shot some welts and scratches on my elbow and hand i didnt even know i had. then we walked together into the shadows.

i was thinking about the fact i was not wearing underwear.

since she was about to find out anyways, i let Jeanie know.

“its embarrassing,” i drawled, getting into some kind of character to quell my shame.

she laughed, “it doesnt matter, hon. there isnt much i havent seen.”

but i hadnt got my pants down, when i suddenly said there were no injuries to show.

“forget it,” i told her, “i really feel fine. my legs are pretty sore but i can move everything.”

“everything is working.”

“okay,” she led us away from the shadow.

at this point the medics approached, with the facial expression of worried parents, asking one last time, was i sure i wouldnt go with them.

i told them i was probably fine.

but thot to ask, “what happens if i wake up in the morning, and im in, like, crazy pain?”

“then you go straight to a hospital,” one medic said, emphatic.

“ok,” i said.

“im sure.”

i signed the large metal clipboard. they put their ambulance in drive, and i turned around. the witnesses were gone. it was just me and Jeanie, who helped me into her cruiser car.

once i was seated in the cruiser Jeanie handed me another clipboard and i finally wrote my own report. i sat saddle, my feet planted on the road, my face and body touching the cinema light.

i was sure to say ‘silver minivan.’ i wrote ‘two African American females, 25 yrs old.’ i said ‘southbound,’ ‘eastbound’ and ‘shower cap.’

when id got it all down Jeanie was speaking into her shoulder.

she finished on the walky talky. she asked if i wanted a ride home and this sounded fine. she helped my legs into the car. she shut my door. Jeanie took a while getting to the drivers side. i buckled in. between me and the glove box was the open laptop. on its screen was a head-shot. i mindless, stared at the photo. it dawned on me, this was the driver.

huh, i thot.

or maybe its not her?

i distinctly recalled the driver as having light-colored eyes. like yellow-green or hazel. the woman on the LCD screen appeared to have dark brown eyes like me. the woman pictured had this short, conservative, almost preppy haircut but the driver had worn longish, trendy locks. altho, the eyes, whatever the color, were hers, surely…indubitably…

Jeanie shut her drivers door and handed me a sort of business card which detailed the case number, her name and two phone numbers. she pulled the laptop to the center of the dash and shut it with one hand.

“you can come to the station tomorrow and have photos taken of whatever bruises appear,” Jeanie said, backing her car up.

“and they will appear,” she added.

she got in gear, “now Bree, do you think you can pick her photo out of a lineup?”


Jeanie pulled into the old Pizza Hut drive, and turned the car around. a sign on the door said ‘For Sale’. it was the kind of sign someone puts in the dash of their old car when they wanted to sell it. i couldnt eke out the price.

i had just seen a photo of the driver. at least it was likely i had. it seemed at the time it would have been dishonest of me to say i could pick her photo out of photos.

“naw,” i waved her off, “let the cameras get her. i just want to get home.”

i was thinking let fate decide. it was an open and shut case with witnesses, a plate and Orwellian eyes.

i was thinking about my long leather couch, perfectly weathered and less than a minute away. what i wanted was to land on it like so many bricks—that is, once id plugged my phone in the charge, and lit one glad smoke.


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