Rolling through a construction zone in Chicago at 2:00 on Monday morning, I see an unmarked car pull out of its hiding spot. It puts its flashers on. Shit.
I pull off to the side of the road and roll down the back window. The cop taps on the front passenger window.
"Roll it down," he says.
"I can't. It's broken," I yell to the open back window.
"Fine. Then open the door," he says. I open it. "I pulled you over because all those bikes are blocking your licence plate. Where are you coming from?" he says.
"Breckenridge huh? Step out of the car and come back here." he says. He shines the light on me. He notices my long, and at this point in the drive, fairly dirty hair. "Medicinal Marijuana is pretty big out there isn't it?" he says. "Do you have a licence for that?" Another unmarked car pulls up on the shoulder.
"No, I don't have a licence for it," I say.
"So are you transporting any back? Did anybody ask you to bring them some back?"
"No, I don't have any."
"Can you certify that you packed everything in that car?"
"Well, this being Chicagoland, we'd like to search it to make sure you aren't transporting any illegal substances."
Fantastic. Unpacking my stuffed car is just what I want to do right now. But if I don't let him search, he's going to give me a ticket for my blocked licence plate.
"Alright, if you really think you need to," I open the trunk. He sifts through some dirt chamois, empty jars of peanut butter, and coffee grounds. He moves around to the front of the car and looks inside the car tire I have on the back seat.
"Why do you have three bikes with you?" the other cop asks, "Are those all your bikes?" he says. First I'm a drug dealer, now I'm a bike thief.
"Yes, they're all mine." I say.
"So you were speeding? That's why he pulled you over?" Cop 2 says. And now I was speeding. Jesus. These guys are really fishing for an offence.
"No, I wasn't speeding." I say.
"So why do you need three bikes? Are those all yours?" Cop 1 asks. Dammit. This is exasperating. They finally let me go, and I pull off the shoulder, carefully obeying the speed limit. I can't wait to get away from Chicago.
Later on I stop in an Indiana gas station. A portly trucker wearing a cowboy hat mistakes me for a fellow trucker.
"Damn company won't pay for my arr conditioning. It's a hundard an eight degrees in the cab," he says.
"It's hot out there. I just came from Nebrasky today. It was a hundard and two degrees outside." I say. I've always wanted to play a trucker.
"I jus came up from Waco, Texas. I'm hauling a load of potatoes. For Taco Bell and Wendy's. Alls freeze dried." he snorts and blows his nose.