I am not a crook

The revelation of last week was that the FBI is not, apparently, looking for me.

Years ago, I was speeding down the highway in Frank, my trusty Chevy Nova (“speeding” but not going over the car’s limit of… 85?), trying to complete the seven-hour haul from Missouri to Illinois in record time, when a friendly officer who was “just doing [his] job” pulled me over and wrote me a ticket for exceeding the limit. I had the option of traffic school in that county, but as that county happened to be 4 hours from where I lived… This was the night before Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving, Frank and I sped (yes, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson) back to Missouri and comically enough, got pulled over again. This time the cop was not friendly, and became even less so once he realized I had the incredible fortune of obtaining a citation two days before.

I should mention that at this point in my life, I was working on building an impressive pile of debt, stealing muffins and Guinness from work (filling plus extra protein, people) as my cupboards were bare bare bare, and trying to housebreak a stubborn puppy. So you see I had plenty on my plate (and nothing in my bank account. Wait, I didn’t even have a bank account) and those tickets were not going to pay themselves. This is the part of the story that could get very interesting, as I relay my mid-MO-became-a-ho tale, but you know that isn’t what happened. What happened was nothing. The tickets surely did not pay themselves and I did not pay those tickets. Worse, I lost the paperwork at some point, and could not even refer to the tickets in bewilderment (“what do you mean you guys didn’t pay yourselves?”) when the notice came, citing me for failure to pay/show up in court, and promising that now my license would be suspended or a warrant for my arrest would be issued.

For six years I have lived in a state of paranoia, waiting for the day the police would find me, call my bluff and lock me up for a good long time (the same way I imagine someone from the university coming to take back the degree I made off with). Perhaps the arrest would be caught on COPS, and my friends, family, foes and former employers would see it (“I always knew there was something not right about that girl”) So the day came last Monday when I was pulled over on my way to work. Somehow this suburban police officer sitting in the intersection was able to focus on a moving vehicle’s windshield through the driving rain, and noticed my little bitty inspection sticker had expired. Quotas must be down in Sunnyvale. So followed a big who’s-on-first exchange of where my 2006 sticker was (“It’s right there, sir,” pointing to the registration sticker. “no, your other sticker, ma’am.” Took him five minutes to come up with the word “inspection,” and another five to explain that you must have your vehicle inspected every year in Texas. Who knew? Everyone but me, apparently), the angry statement that my insurance had also expired (“No! I swear it's not! Must have put the wrong card in my glove box, heh heh heh is this thing on?”), the excruciatingly looooong license check he ran in his car. Throughout all this, I was planning my One Phone Call. Do I call Monk, who would be stuck at work but wonderful- he’d arrange bail money, call my boss and lie about a family emergency (because really, who in their right mind would tell their boss they couldn’t come into work because they were IN JAIL?), or do I call Sister who would at least be able to come get me, but would surely be Judgy Judgerson about it from here to eternity? Oh, and should I get all drama club about it and feign shock and confusion when he tells me there’s an outstanding warrant?

I was not taken to the big house, there was no mention of anything incriminating on my driving record, and two days later at the Sunnyvale courthouse, relief was spelled D-I-S-M-I-S-S-A-L. I started wondering what had happened with the unpaid tickets. Were they eventually thrown out? Was my license simply suspended for a certain period of time then reinstated, all unbeknownst to me? Or was some pretty young thing picked up in my place? Perhaps I have an Evil Twin (or just evil-er, if you're gonna be nitpicky) who is still in some jail cell, unable to prove the mix-up or get anyone to post bail (you know, cuz she’s eviler). Maybe my doppelganger was out walking around shortly after the warrant notice, smiling about the cat she just kicked or the tip jar she just stole, when SCREECH! Here comes the Karma Bus! And though maybe she tried to plead her case, no one was buying it, so she's probably STILL IN THAT MID-MO JAIL since she’s the kind of person that encourages a girlfriend to cheat, breaks all her New Year’s Resolutions, and blogs dramatic and damaging things about keeping old flames lit... If so, that bitch can rot.

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