“I’ll bet you ten bucks George or Bunny asks first,” Richard said driving down our street.
“Oh no, I’m betting on Clarissa or Devon, they weren’t that far behind us,” I said holding out my hand.
“You’re on,” Richard said shaking my hand.
George and Bunny Gutierrez stood at the end of our driveway talking to Devon and Clarissa Taylor. They all waved as we pulled in. Before we could even say hi all four of them blurted out, “did you get a ticket?”
Richard and I laughed.
“So who saw what?” I asked looking up at the four of them.
“Honey, we didn’t see anything,” Bunny said with her refined Texas accent, her long blond hair swept back into a pony tail behind her head crowning her statuesque figure. “We didn’t know anything happened until Devon and Clarissa pulled into our driveway.”
“We saw Richard hanging his arm out the window waving his coat like a madman,” Devon said standing even with Bunny and Clarissa and matching Bunny’s straw hair.
Clarissa, her red curls framing her round face, said, “Then we saw the State Trooper pull onto the road, pass us and pull in behind you two.”
“What on earth were you doing?” George asked with his soft spoken Texas accent a contrast to the bass voice emanating from his lineman’s frame.
“Do you want to tell them or should I?” I asked looking up at Richard.
“You started it, you should tell it,” Richard said smiling down at me.
Still a little pink from the experience, I said, “I’m embarrassed to say, but the whole thing started because of a hot flash.”
After the laughter stopped Clarissa asked, “So are you going to tell us what happened or not?”
Sweat formed inside the windows in the Love Wagon, a red Ford F150 with queen futon mattress and disco ball. I removed my red parka, then my royal blue cardigan sweater.
“Good lord woman, you’re steaming up the windows,” Richard said turning up the defroster.
“Could you just open the windows instead of turning up the heat?” I asked as sweat trickled from my short brown hair down the side of my bright red face, dripping onto my shoulder.
“Are you sick?”
“I’m not sick, I’m having the mother load of a hot flash,” I said as sweat soaked through my turtle neck. My parka and sweater piled in the space between us.
“I’m taking you to the hospital, Fannie,” Richard said winking a blue eye.
“Richard would you please unlock the windows so I can at least roll mine down? I asked laughing—the windows fogged on my side, “or you’re gonna witness spontaneous human combustion and the hospital will be a mute point.”
The morning sun bleeding through the freezing fog draping Highway 16. A temperate 27º Fahrenheit embraced the Love Wagon as it rolled west toward the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Richard turned off the heat. He rolled down his window. Taking the left side of his red Squall Parka and holding it out the window with his left arm he directed a flow of frigid air into the cab.
A blast of the most perfectly cold wind filled the cab. The sweat stopped. A flashing blue light emerged from the fog in our rear view mirror. A brief burst of the siren followed by, “Please pull your arm back in the vehicle.”
“Oh great, I hadn’t counted on that,” Richard said pulling his arm back in, “and I just got the last ticket off my record.”
With no where to pull over on the bridge we pulled off the first exit followed by the State Patrol. I heard a tap on the window on my side of the truck. Richard rolled down the window, steam poured out over the officer who stepped back for a moment.
“Good morning, may I see your license and proof of insurance?” asked Trooper Brown a tall slender man of about 25 years with short cropped brown hair.
I fished out the insurance card as Richard handed him the license.
“So where are you folks headed this morning?” Trooper Brown asked as he examined Richard’s documents.
“We’re headed for home,” Richard said.
“Would you like to explain to me why you were flapping your arm and coat out the window?” the young officer asked looking at Richard.
Richard flashed a sheepish grin.
“Well, Officer, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time,” Richard said. “My wife was steaming up the windows and threatening spontaneous human combustion if I didn’t roll them down. I thought directing additional air into the truck would help cool her off sooner.”
The Trooper looked from Richard to me for the first time.
“Are you sick ma’am?”
“No, Officer,” I said my face bright red, sweat beading down my cheek, “I’m not sick, I’m having a hot flash. Opening the window was the fastest way to cool down.”
The Trooper turned almost as red as me. Clearing his throat he said, “I’ve heard my mom talk about them but never actually seen a lady having one.”
He paused for a moment. “The reason I pulled you over was because you were waving something red out the window and I wanted to make sure nothing was wrong. So if you’ll promise to keep your arms inside the vehicle, I’ll just wish you safe driving and let you go.”
Richard and I looked at each other.
“Thank you officer, we’ll definitely keep our arms inside the vehicle,” Richard said smiling.
“Then have a safe drive folks,” he said handing the driver’s license and insurance card back to Richard.
Clarissa put her hand on Devon’s arm. “Why didn’t I think of that the last time we got pulled over?”