I didn’t drink and I didn’t smoke. Most of the other guys smoked, and they all drank, except for the preacher’s boy. We all went to the same church, too. My choice against these things was wise, to be sure, but it wasn’t because I was any sort of spiritual giant. I was just a hard-headed non-conformist.
An old Dodge loaded with some of my friends had left the pavement and was carefully picking it’s way down a farm field road between the county road and the state highway that leads to the beach. Those guys had some beer hidden in the brush out by a fence post and they had decided to retrieve it and consume it that afternoon.
Sam was with me, and he usually drank with these guys, but he had decided to ride with me and stay “dry,” that day. Sam wanted to know where they had stashed the stuff, and so he had me follow them. We picked our way down the muddy two-rut road behind the Dodge full of under-aged beer drinkers. They had recovered their cache and they were popping tops now, turning up cans of warm beer as the big car moved slowly toward the state highway.
As they pulled up to the pavement and looked to the south for any oncoming traffic, we all saw the same thing. A highway patrol car was sitting a few hundred yards down the road with his radar out, probably hoping to nab speeders coming back from the beach.
The under-age drinkers kept their beer low, terrified at the close proximity of the lawman, even though he was facing the other way. Bob, the driver of the Dodge, gingerly clicked his turn signal on and eased onto the pavement, very predictably moving away from the trooper like he was driving a baby carriage.
“I have an idea,” Sam told me, shooting a sidelong glance the trooper car. “Pull out with a lot of noise but without spinning your tires and pass them….” I saw his point. We’d certainly get the cop’s attention that way.
There wasn’t much traffic and the trooper was probably bored stiff. If we did it right, we might be able to at least put some fear into the under age guys who were drinking in the Dodge. I gunned the old Galaxie I was driving and heard the bellowing sound of my glass packs as I pulled out on the highway like I was going to a race.
It didn’t take much speed to pass the creeping Dodge full of my terrified peers. As I zoomed past them I glanced in my rearview to see the trooper whip off the shoulder, wheel around, and head in our direction.
I never exceeded the speed limit, and there was nothing unlawful about my maneuver. I had stopped accelerating at 50 and had leveled off. The trooper had no reason to stop me. As for wide-eyed beer-drinkers in the Dodge…
Well, when he passed them on the left, they were throwing out beer on the right.
“The guilty flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1