I know what the back seat of a police car looks like.

Posted: March 17, 2012 in funny stories
Tags: , ,

Actually, the one I was in was quite nice but they don’t have door handles.

Who knew, right? I mean, as soon as I was put in the back of it and while the officer was walking around the car to get into the driver’s seat, I immediately reached for the handle to let myself out.

There wasn’t one.

I was screwed and started to cry again. He got behind the wheel, started the engine and pulled away as if a hysterical teenager in his back seat was completely normal. It probably was.

My friend Katie had already been put in the back seat with me and sat there, quietly, with her head down and stared at her feet. I looked over at her door, hoping I could jump across her and make an exit, even if he was driving.  I had a plan and stopped crying as I leaned over to find it. There wasn’t one. I sat back, wiped my face and tried to breathe  as we drove out of the parking lot of the department store and headed towards our homes.

The cop was taking us home. To talk to our parents and tell them what we had done.

I wanted to die after killing Katie for getting me into this position.

She had shoplifted and we both got caught.

I saw her do it and I didn’t care. It was a $2.00 necklace that she quietly scooped up from the counter and put in her pocket. We had the money to buy it, but she wanted to steal it and I thought that was a great idea.

We were both 15 and were probably hitting a rebellious phase or something. It just seemed like a wild and fun thing to do, so I egged her on. Neither one of us had ever caused our parents any trouble. She was a good Christian girl, I was the Heathen child from “the people who don’t go to church” and her family had been trying to save my soul for 10 years. I secretly wished they would leave me alone, but that’s another story.

What could go wrong, right? Just take the necklace and walk out of the store. Easy.

After she put it in her pocket, we casually walked outside and that’s when all hell broke loose.

Suddenly we had 2 men busting through the department store doors, yelling at us to stop. Katie froze and I took off.  She didn’t know what was going on but I did. She often had that “deer in the headlights” look when anything happened suddenly. Not me. Once I understood we were going to be arrested, I started running.

I didn’t get far before one of them grabbed me and swung me around to look at him. I’ll never forget the look on his face. He was pissed off because he had to run. He was probably 100 pounds overweight and I had made a huge mistake in running. His face was flushed and there was sweat on his forehead and he was angry. So angry.

I thought for a moment of breaking away, but it was pointless. The other guy was marching Katie through the door. I could feel the tears starting. I hung my head down and let him march me through the doors.

I really must have pissed him off because suddenly he’s shouting “Everyone stand back. I have a shoplifter here. Move aside.” He said this all the way through the store and down the stairs.

I had never felt such humiliation towards myself and such intense hatred towards another human being. He had a smile on his face the whole time and the more upset I got, the bigger his smile became.

We were marched down 2 flights of stairs and plunked down on 2 steel chairs and told to sit still and not say anything. By then Katie was crying and I was starting to cry harder.

We were in an office in the basement with desks, chairs and phones with lots of people walking around. I could see the TV monitors that covered the entire store and one was directly on the location where Katie had stolen the necklace.

I sneered at her and refused to take any responsibility for what SHE had done.

We sat there for what seemed like hours but was probably only 10 minutes. Someone came and led Katie into a room and I was lead into another one. By then I couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t look at anyone.

The man who came into the office I was in stood in the doorway for a few seconds and sneered at me. I started to say something and he silenced me by holding up his hand and shaking his head.

He sat down, took my purse and dumped the contents out on his desk. He said he wanted to see if I had stolen anything. No matter how many times I said I hadn’t, he continued to pick up each item in my purse, look at it and set it aside.

I almost died when he did that with my tampons. As God as my witness, that was the worst moment of my life.

When he was done and  was convinced that I didn’t have any stolen items on me, he put all the contents back in my purse and handed it to me.

For the next half hour, I sat and listened to him yell at me and tell me what a horrible person I was. He ranted and raved and his arms never stopped moving while he yelled. He told me I was going to go to jail and that was the moment I lost it.

It was and is the only time in my life that I became hysterical. Now I know what that feels like and I can tell you, that when it starts, you can’t stop it. I was terrified. I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t stop sobbing. He sat back and waited.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I stopped. I couldn’t cry anymore. I looked up and he was leaning back in his chair, staring at me and a very slight smile came across his face.

“OK, well maybe there’s something we can do. Tell you what, you promised to never step foot in this store again, I’ll let you off with a warning.”

I jumped up, agreed and promised him my first-born if I ever got within a mile of the store. I thanked him, stood up, grabbed my purse and started to walk out the door.

“Hold on a minute. We’re not done yet.”

I froze and thought I was going to start crying again. All I wanted in the whole world, was to leave that office.

“Have a seat.” I walked back and sat down and looked at him.

“I am making a permanent record on you. It will be on file. But since you are under 18, I am going to have an officer drive you home and talk to your parents and tell them what you did. I am not going to arrest you, but if I EVER see your face in this store again, I will. Do you understand me?”

I nodded, somehow.

I needed to die. Right then and there, death needed to come walking through that door and take me away. Talk to my parents? Be driven home in a cop car? No, death needed to happen right now because if it didn’t, my parents were going to kill me. Either way, I would not live to see tomorrow and my parents had a huge yard and could easily hide my body for a long time.

We were escorted out of the store by an officer and placed in the back. Even though I knew I couldn’t get away, at least I tried and didn’t sit there like Katie, but when I looked at her, my heart broke.

She had been my best friend for 10 years and her parents insisted that their children, house, yard, clothes, job, grades and everything else be perfect. Perfect. There was no room for error.

Now Katie had done something that, in their eyes, would be unforgivable and I would be blamed once again for being a bad influence on her.

They were right. I was always wanting to have fun and break rules and now I had gone too far and my friend would probably never be allowed to talk to me and would end up grounded until she was 25. Maybe 35, if they had their way.

The officer went to Katie’s house first and walked her up to the front door and rang the bell. I laid down on the backseat. I couldn’t watch and I didn’t want her parents to see me. I was afraid it would make them angrier. I peaked as they grabbed her from the officer, thanked him and slammed the door. I watched as he walked towards the car.

It was my turn now.

He asked me where I lived and I told him. Apathy had set in and I knew it was hopeless.

As he pulled up to the front of my car and unfastened his seat belt, I saw the boy of my dreams walking up the street. I gasped and may have let out a small scream. Steven was going to see me being pulled out of a cop car and the boy I had loved madly for the last 2 years would tell everyone in school and I would never live it down.

I dove for the floor of the back seat and pleaded with the officer to wait a moment.

“Why? No matter how long we wait, I’m walking you up to the front door.”

“You see that boy walking up the street?”

“Yes.”

I took a deep breath. This was so humiliating. “I don’t want him to see me do this. Please, can you just wait until he’s gone?”

“Yes. Stay down there and I’ll let you know when he’s gone.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. “Thank you” was all I could muster.

A few minutes passed and I’m not sure I breathed.

“OK, he’s gone. The coast is clear,” he said and I actually chuckled for a moment.

He let me out of the car and then put his arm around my shoulders and looked at me. I looked up and he had the kindest face. I had not looked at him before.

“Susan, have you learned your lesson? Have you?” he asked as he smiled.

I nodded. “It was stupid, I know and…”

“Shush. Listen to me for a second. We all do things that have consequences. Your stupid prank could have turned out a lot worse. You got lucky.”

I hugged him. I don’t know why, but I did. In an afternoon of complete insanity, here was a moment of kindness and compassion. He hugged me back. “You ready?”

“Yes,” I said and we walked up to my front door. He rang the doorbell and I waited. My Mom answered the door and saw me standing there with a cop. She was confused as I had never caused any trouble before.

“Ma’am I’m Officer Jones and I was wondering if I could come in for a few minutes?”

My Mom let us in and was glaring at me but was also confused. Officer Jones explained what had happened and told my Mom that I was sorry and realized that it had been a stupid stunt. My Mom never said a word and just listened. He thanked her and turned around to leave. After he opened the door, he looked at me and smiled. “You’re going to be OK,” closed the door and drove off.

My Mom asked what had happened and I told her. My Dad came in and listened. I was so distraught that I think that I had been through enough punishment for one day. All they said was to never do it again and that was that as it was apparent I had learned my lesson.

Katie didn’t fare so well. She was grounded for a month and wasn’t allowed to talk to me. That meant nothing to me, so I would find her  in school and have lunch with her. For one month we made sure her parents never saw us together and we never called each other. After a month, her Mom had the audacity to call me and tell me “It’s OK if you come over now and see Kaitlin” as if she was doing me a favor. I told her I would be over if and when I felt like it. I heard her gasp and she probably shook her head and prayed for me that night.

Like I care.

Ever since that day, even over 40 years later, whenever my Mom and I drive by that department store, she smacks me on the arm and tells me if I go in there, I will get arrested. Sometimes she will pull into the parking lot and we will go into the store and look around.

In the background, I always hear her laughing and then telling me what a great kid I turned out to be and how proud she is of me.

“Let’s see if they kick us both out,” she says and this always gets me to laugh.

I love my Mom.

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