Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Cletus and Zeke in Ainsworth, Nebraska

Life in Nebraska stops when the Corn Huskers are playing. It goes into reverse when it is a big game.

The Corn Huskers played the Buckeyes and it was a close game. Babies stopped being born. Old folks stopped dying for the duration. Sinners stopped sinning and cops stopped writing tickets.

It was a nail-biter right to the end, and then it was time to go home.

The bartender peered out the window. "He is still there." was all he said.

Zeke and Cletus looked at each other. "Well, I suppose we gotta go sometime." Zeke said.

They slouched out the door. As they stepped outside they burst into song. They sang loudly, off-key and most of the words were wrong:

Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be
Oh, I believe, I've leprosy
Why my arm falls off, when I cough, I wouldn't know... 
Then would burst into hilarious, raucous laughter. As they walked it was clear that both had difficulty balancing. Like a couple of punch-drunk fighters they leaned on each other to avoid falling.

They wobbled their way over to the Dodge truck. Cletus dropped the keys before he could stab the lock. Leaning over to pick up his keys he fell on his dupa.

Zeke called him a bad name loudly enough that the 250 patrons still in the bar could hear him.

Deputy Andrew Aguecheek could hear them both from inside his patrol car. He had listened to the game on a single ear-bud as regulations require that he monitor the radio; not that anything was going to happen during the game.

Andrew was an angry and bitter man. It was just his luck to pull this shift. He was tucked into a turn-around across the road from the rural bar. There used to be a town around the watering hole about seventy years ago but now only the bar and graveyard remained. Farmers and Husker fans from thirty miles around made a pilgrimage to the bar every game-day. It is just what they did.

Cletus started up the truck and pulled into the drive. He stopped and turned on his turn indicator.

Andrew was not by nature an unfair man. He turned on his lights so the drunk could see that he had been watched. Even though dusk was falling, his light bar was clearly visible and there was no doubt that the drunk was being watched by a cop.

Then the drunk doubled down on his stupidity. He pulled out onto the highway.

Andrew tucked in behind him. He really needed 'probable cause' before he pulled him over. Andrew was certain that the drunk would not be able to stay under the speed limit or would wobble out of his lane, given the difficulty he had walking from the door to his vehicle.

The truck had Michigan plates, and that made it even better. The sheriff wouldn't be getting an irate phone call from a voter about over-zealous cops.

The drunk must have set the cruise-control because he kept the speed pegged at 2 mph below the limit. Then after driving for two miles he tapped the brakes and turned on his signal indicating a right turn. He made a perfect turn to the right.

Patrolman Andrew ran out of patience. He turned on the gumball lights and the truck slowed down, pulled over and stopped.

The driver had his registration and proof of insurance ready, which was unique in Deputy Aguecheek's experience.

After waiting the required 20 minutes, Aguecheek had the driver blow into the breath-o-lizer. The needle did not move. Aguecheek told him to do it again, watching to ensure that no funny business happened. Again, the machine registered 0.00%

"What the Hell!" the frustrated deputy exclaimed.

"Well, dontchya know, I am the DD." the driver informed him.

The deputy looked at the passenger who had been a model of decorum and tact, unlike every non-sleeping drunk on the planet.  "He ain't drunk." the deputy stated with disgust. "He don't need no designated driver."

"I ain't the designated driver. I am the designated decoy." Cletus said.

The deputy swiveled around and looked at the bar's parking lot. It was empty and not a single vehicle had gone down the highway behind the patrol car.

And that was when Cletus and Zeke got paid $100 to watch a football game to and sing.


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