Trooper María-José Catalina Alleman eased her cruiser into the wide spot along the side of Highway 1313 and then backed in behind a grove of young growth redwoods. She hoped that it would be quiet along this stretch of two-lane tonight. She had some reading that she still needed to finish for school. Maria was taking classes at the community college and the demands of her job sometimes made it difficult to keep up with the demands from school. She did not want to have to choose between one or the other. Right now, she wanted both.
“Dispatch, this is 31.”
“Go ahead 31.”
“I’m on station at 1313 intercept.”
She cradled the handset and reached for her tablet computer so she could call up her reading assignment. The window of her patrol car was down to allow her to hear the oncoming traffic even before she could see it, this allowed the benefit of being able to pay more attention to her reading without having to look up every time a car drove past.
She heard Ms. Purdy’s truck coming and flashed her lights so Ms. Purdy would know she was there. Purdy owned “The Market” which was where everyone around these parts bought their produce. Ms. Purdy always went home around this time of night and liked to know when Maria was about.
She looked back down at her tablet and noticed the “facebook” icon. One quick game of Candy Crunch wouldn’t hurt. Would it? It would only take a few minutes and she could get back to her reading and her job. Halfway through level 605 she heard a car coming towards her. It sounded like it was coming fast. She set the tablet down and waited to see who it was. It was Old Tom Jackson and she decided he wasn’t going that fast. She let him slide and picked her tablet back up.
About an hour and a half later she ran out of lives on her game but she had made it to level 608. She then played the Bejeweled game for a couple of hours or so. Traffic was light. She started to go back to her reading assignment but she spotted the “solitaire” icon. I’ll just play one game, she thought.
Suddenly her radio crackled, “31 this is Dispatch.”
She picked up the handset and looked at the clock. Where had the time gone?
She keyed the mike, “Go ahead, Dispatch.”
“Maria, it’s Stephanie, are you going to take a lunch tonight? Your shift ends in an hour and a half. You haven’t called in for a break, not at all. You OK?”
Right then Maria heard the unmistakable sounds of a big block Chrysler engine coming up from behind her and moving fast. The sound always made her think of those kids on her block who, on Saturday nights, would gather ‘round a fire that they had lit in a 55 gallon drum and sing acappella, in perfect harmony, all the voices blending, and working so well together.
As it screamed past her she could see it was a 70 ‘Cuda. It was the one that delivered 390 BHP. It was the one that had the 440 6 barrel intake, the one just like her dad had driven. Only this one was dark. The night and the shadows from the trees made it tough to tell for sure, but it was probably green or navy blue. Dad’s had been a red and black two tone. She glanced at the radar readout. That puppy was doing a cool 86 mph and this was a 50 mile zone. As he blew past she picked up her radio handset.
“No time for lunch right now, Dispatch. I got me a speed violation I gotta catch up to.” She started her cruiser, hit the lights and the siren and pulled off in pursuit. She wanted to get a better look at that Barracuda and, the chase was her favourite part of the job.