Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brush With The Law

Ever hear the saying, bad things happen in threes? Yeah, well, my luck tends to disprove that theory.

Back in May, 2009, I was on line at a website called 911tabs. Here you can get guitar chords and tabs to thousands of songs. I was looking up how to play some Jefferson Starship when I clicked on a tab link and was immediately informed that I'd just activated a Trojan virus.


What I thought was my spyware software warning me, was actually something called Personal Antivirus. It's clever because it looked just like Microsoft alerts. I clicked buttons to prevent my laptop from getting sick.What I ended up doing was downloading the spyware directly to my computer.

All these warning popups appeared, demanding my attention, telling me my computer was infected. That my personal data and passwords were being sent to an offshore IP address.Personal Antivirus wanted me to purchase their spyware. Did some research. Turns out, Personal Antivirus does this. Infects your system with their "fake" viruses. Nothing was going anywhere. But the virus wanted you to think differently.

It worked so that so that popups continually interrupt whatever you are doing to make you panic, thinking your computer is infected and needs their software to heal it.

So, that was how the day started.

Got in my car later. It made a rattle sound. Like something was loose. Being not at all mechanically inclined, I fixed the problem by turning the up the volume on the car stereo. Deep inside, however, my mind was going over new bills I'd be incurring in the near future. Fix my laptop, and taking the car to a garage.

Anyway, I was on my way to pick up a friend. We'd made plans to go to the drive-in. Vintage, in Avon. Demons & Angles and Star Trek was showing on screen 3.

I told her about my day. I explained that something else would go wrong. Had to. In writing, we call this foreshadowing.

We found a good spot in the third row--and per the Vintage employee's direction, parked close to one of the white poles. The poles indicate parking spots. At one time I am sure they housed speakers for viewers to listen to the movies. (All done by car radio now, in case you were not aware).

It was after 2 AM when Star Trek ended. I went to pull out of the parking spot. Forgot about the white pole, and ran the driver's side along it. Screamed. Backed up, raking the pole, again across my door. Nothing quite like the sound of metal against metal. Makes nails along a chalkboard sound like a chorus line of Glee characters singing on stage. (Not that I watch Glee. Just heard they sound pretty good, lol).

Laptop. Funny car noises. Scratched the car on a stupid pole.

One. Two. Three. If laws of murphey were correct, I'd be all set. Could call it a day. Knowing, I was three-and-out. No more worries. But nope. Not me.

Once on I-390 North, we saw two police cars had pulled someone over. I slowed from 65 mph, to 50 mph. Road between the two lanes, and both my friend and I developed rubber-neck as we peered at the guy in his car being questioned by two police officers.

We commented. "Some one's in trouble."

Next thing I know, a moment after we pass the traffic stop, a cop is behind me. Lights on. No sirens. But approching fast. I pull to the shoulder.

I looked at my friend. "I know I wasn't speeding," I said.

The officer came to my door, flashlight beam played into the car. Over the back seat, into the front, and stopped aiming directly into my eyes. "You just drive by where we had someone pulled over?"


"You brushed the other officer," he said. "Sent him onto the hood of his cruiser."

My stomach dropped. "There's no way," I said.

"Were you driving in this lane?" He shown his light on the right-hand lane. Then brought it back to my face.

"I was."

"Yeah," he said. He had one hand on the butt of his gun. I saw this, despite his best attempts at forever blinding me by burning out my retina with his flashlight. "You hit the officer."

"Sir," I said. "There's no way. We slowed down to like fifty. I even moved over into the left lane some."

"You were in this lane," he said, again showing me the right lane with his flashlight.

"I was," I said.

"Yeah. You hit him." He walked around my car. Looked at the front passenger side. Came back. "How about your license and registration."

I gave it to him.

"Sit tight," he said and walked back to his cruiser.

I looked at my friend. (I would name this "friend", but recently we had a situation. Got somewhat out of control. She no longer speaks to me. Which is a shame. But not my fault, entirely. So I think sharing her name would only infuriate her. Which is fine. She's the one who deleted me off everything). "There's no way we hit him and didn't know it."

She agreed. We laughed. The situation was not funny.We could hear the officer talking. Laughing seemed like the only option. I've seen way to many movies where some guy is arrested, but innocent. For real innocent. Not convict jail talk -- I'm innocent, know what I mean? Regardless, I did not want to be that guy. The one passed around in jail cells like a Raggedy Ann doll. (Why would toy makers choose to call a female doll, Raggedy Ann? And then, surprise-surprise, the doll is isntantly a classic! Loved by kids. You'd think those Anti-Male women groups would have been up in arms! Fighting for their rights to vote, earn an equal wage, and have Raggedy Ann removed from toyshelves across the country ... ah, but I digress. I do that. Often. Digress, that is.)

"It was a Cobalt? A red Cobalt?" We heard the officer. Not sure who he was talking to. But it is what he said.  And while I was indeed in a Chevy. It was not a Coblalt.I drove an Aveo. Looked similar.

He returned to my window. Handed back my license. He was on his cell. To me he said, "You seem like you're telling the truth," he said. "A few red cars drove past us. Have a nice night."

I tucked my license back into my wallet. The officer pulled back onto the expressway, and gunned the engine.I sucked in some air, realizing I might have been holding my breath. Not at all sure if my crotch was sweaty, or if I'd peed some. Either way, I felt a little wet.

All I could think was, Laptop, funny noise, scraped the paint, and accused of hit-and-run.

One. Two. Three. Four.


I guess if I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck at all, huh?

And people always ask, "Where do you get ideas for the stories you write?"

My pat response: "They just come to me."

Have an awesome day!

I'm out!

Phillip Tomasso

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