For Alfred Nicol
What goes around comes around, I tell you.
One minute I'm squinting out the car window,
sure I recognize the mom of one
of my Little Leaguers, 'cept she's kissing some guy
not her husband under the parking lot light
down to the Stop and Shop, so I wave, big-like,
kind of being a jerk, although I wouldn't
ever really say anything about it.
Next thing I know, a siren, flashing red
and blue, some cops waving at me to stop.
I pull over, roll down the window, blinded
by the flashlight. They start to say they saw
me rolling through the stop, then get a whiff —
really, it's just the way the leather jacket
picks up all the smoke and the smell of the booze —
and I'm out of the car, walking the damn straight line,
saying the alphabet way too loud, then standing
on one leg (like I could do that sober)
counting one-mississippi, two-
mississippi with the kid's mom
across the street watching the whole damn thing
or at least part of it, 'cause I looked once
and saw her watching, then I looked again
during the mississippi's, and she was gone.
They let me go with a warning — gotta love 'em.
Maybe I'll give her a call. Probably not.
from Flume Ride. © David Roberts Books.
[First posted February 22, 2007]