Any resemblance to reality that this piece bears, is purely accidental. I apologize in advance.
“Papers, please,” the CHP may as well have said, as I attempted to return home recently, to my mountain abode on Bell Springs Road.
“The top of the afternoon, your Officership!” I greeted the nice California Highway Patrolman, anxious to get out of sight of The 101, so that I could blaze up, something I refrain from doing while on the highway. “To what do I owe the honor?”
“Yeah, well, you need to honor me with some proof that you live on Bell Springs Road; otherwise, you’re out of luck,” the cop continued.
“No problem, Captain. Got my license right here,” and I handed it to him.
“You need something with my street address? When we don’t get mail delivery? How does that work?” I really was stymied. I mean, I have been asked for a street address before, but never required to produce a document with my actual address printed on it.
“It works like this; either you provide me with proof that you live on this road, or you turn around and leave.”
“Where am I supposed to go? I’m trying to get home. There are no other options, unless you are willing to put me up at one of the motels in town. I lack the pecuniary measures to defray the cost, your grace.”
“Not my problem, Bud. But I need you to figure out what you’re going to do, because there are others trying to get past you.” I gazed into his sunglasses, but all I got back was the mirror image of me. I had no idea my nostrils could flare so dramatically.
“You need me to figure out what I’m going to do? I’m going home. That’s what I’m trying to do, but you won’t let me. Am I supposed to just camp out on the side of the road, here? Your Honor?” This guy was starting to seriously annoy me and all I was trying to do was my best to keep Markie under wraps. However, I had promised him his meds, thirty seconds after we left the highway, and he was holding me to that promise.
Po-po gazed implacably at me. “It is illegal to camp in an unauthorized spot, so no, you are not supposed to camp on the side of the road. As I said, you need to either provide-“
“I DON’T HAVE ANY FUCKING PROOF THAT I LIVE ON THIS ROAD, BUT I HAVE DONE SO FOR 35 YEARS, NOW, AND I AIN’T STOPPING NOW!”
With that, I put the truck in drive and commenced driving up the Bell, leaving the CHP momentarily thunderstruck. He recovered quickly.
Almost tripping in his hurry to get into his patrol car, he fired it up and raced after me. Siren blaring, his lights flashing impressively, he followed me. There really wasn’t anything else he could do, short of shooting me or my tires out. Bell Springs Road is nothing more than a former stage coach trail, not the Formula 500.
Here on the Bell, I am the boss.
So yeah, it was inevitable that he would catch up to me, after I shut the engine off in the driveway outside my house. At least I wouldn’t have to provide a street address anymore, since, voila! I was here. That ought to make him happy.
If he would just quit waving that big .357 around and let me go into the house, it would solve the question of whether this was my own home or not. But no, he’s going all technical on me now, including the cuffs.
I guess this settles the matter of where I will be staying, at least for a while.
Next time I leave the Bell, I will have to remember to take my passport along, which I remembered, actually does have my street address on it. Yep, it’s come to this: I need a passport to go into Laytonville.