The CHiP Inspection

‘Yessir.’  I caught Helen’s eye and she smiled slightly.  She could tell I was squirming on the inside.

‘Fine looking animal.   What year?’

’92, sir.’

‘Mind if I take a peek?’  Marty and Monty were still bickering over candy selection, oblivious to the cop.  I figure it was better if they had no opportunity to incriminate themselves.

‘Nosir, not at all.  Let me show you.’  I stepped out the door.  Helen followed close behind, acting as a buffer between me and the cop.

‘You like convertibles?’ she asked.

‘You bet.  Actually I’m something of a LeBaron collector.  I’ve got 18 of them in my back field.’

‘We love ours.  I’m Helen and that’s Jackson.’

‘The name’s Peterson.’ Peterson was fortyish, graying at the temples, with a wink in his green eyes.

‘Where do you live?’ As we reached the convertible, a hot breeze touched Tito the Mannequin’s plastic hair.

‘A bit outside Placerville,’ said Officer Peterson.

‘That seems like a nice town,’ Helen said.

‘Oh yeah me and my wife have lived there since we were kids.  I tell you it’s a lot different now than it used to be.’

Peterson started with a lap of the car.  I figured I was busted.  There was no way to miss the bag of cacti sitting in Tito’s lap.

‘Looks pretty clean.  Interior seems well taken care of.  Where’d you get the mannequin?

I lied.

‘My father, sir.  He owns a department store.  We got it on special order.’

(Actually, Marty and Monty stole Tito, along with his ten siblings.)

Officer Peterson frowned at the mannequin.  I contemplated throwing myself at his feet and begging for mercy.

‘Can we see your car, too?’  With her best smile Helen lured Peterson’s eyes away from Tito the drug-running mannequin.

‘Well…’

‘I’ve never seen the inside of a CHP cruiser before.’

Officer Peterson laughed.  ‘Well I should hope not.  Come on—I’ll give you a tour.’  They headed for the car, Helen with an over-the-shoulder wink.

‘I’m just gonna stay here and…’  There was no need to explain.  Helen had saved my ass.  Again. But despite her good intentions, some people don’t know how to stay unsaved.

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