Nice summer morning in lovely Peachtree Corners Ga. In the Atlanta area everything is Peachtree something. Gonna be another hot one, here it was just 9:30 and already 85 with 95% humidity. Just walking back up the drive from getting the mail, I saw the annual decal for my license plate was there. I like to renew by mail when I can rather than going to the tax office. Nice folks, but I just don’t like standing in line. Good it came today as the old one expired yesterday. Might as well take care of putting it on while I’m thinking about it. God help you (actually your bank balance) if you get caught driving through Duluth Ga with anything that says “Stop me Officer”. Nothing against the town, but seems live over 30% of their city budget comes from traffic fines. Heard they call their city court Revenue Court. Head on in the house, taking the mail with me. I pulled a few paper towels off the roll and started looking the rubbing alcohal to clean the plate before I could stick the decal on it. Damn it, I know we’ve got a bottle of that stuff here somewhere. After 5 minutes of looking around for the rubbing alcohal, I decided screw it and grabbed my daughter’s bottle of gin. Hey, it’s alcohal and I only need a spoon full or so.
So with the booze and towels in hand, I head back outside. Just as I got to my car, I realized I left the envelope from the DMV inside on the kitchen counter. Back into the kitchen, grab the envelope and back out to the car. The old thing does not look like much, but I really enjoy it. It, my family and my dog are about all that keep me going these days. Back to the car, she’s a 1988 Nissan 300 ZX turbo. Pretty much all original, time to spend some money on the old girl. The cheap ass paint job the previous owner put on her just has not stood up to the Georgia sun. As I got to the car, I opened the driver’s door to hit the trunk release. OK, not a trunk, just a fastback rear window. I walked around to the back and popped the rear window open and laid everything in the car. I unscrewed the cap off of the gin and set the bottle back down on the floor of the ‘trunk’. As I looked at the license plate, I realized I could not put the new sticker over the old ones as they were coming loose and curled around the edges. Into the garage for a scraper then back out to do some scraping. I got the plate scraped clear enough and reached for the paper towels. Except, no towels. Where? Must have left them on the kitchen counter when I went back for the decal. (Have I mentioned I have a one track mind, otherwise known as ADD?) OK, as I headed back in for the towels, out of the corner of my eye, I saw them on the driver’s seat. As I opened the car door and reached inside a sound like a chain saw exploded in my ear. Without thinking, I stepped back and slammed the door. Really can’t describe the sound of eyeglasses being crushed when you close the car door. I knew that was what I just heard. But, why were my glasses not on my face where they belonged? Why did the side of my face hurt? Where did that Damn bee or wasp or whatever it was get to? Guess I must have ducked to get away from the flying buzz saw, I hit my face with the door I was closing and knocked off my glasses. Well, something else to have to do. I headed back into back into the house, get an old pair of glasses so I can see, my pocket piece, keys and wallet.
As I walked up to the car, I decided to pop the T tops off and enjoy fresh air. As habit, I took the driver’s side top off first and laid it in the back. Luckily, I saw the gin bottle and remembered the top was loose and tightened it up. Could have been bad, I mean spilling my daughter’s gin then having to tell her I did. What can I say, the kid (she’s 36) likes her gin and this was some kind of fancy stuff. Should have put it back in the house, but I wanted to get off to the mall and Glassmakers for new specs. So, real quick like, I grabbed the other t top and laid in on its brother in the back. Out of the neighborhood, right on Medlock Bridge Road to Old Alabama Rd. But, Old Alabama was backed up and judging from the multiple sirens I heard, gonna be awhile. Instead, I went on up and took a right on State Bridge Rd, heading over to Gwinnett Place Mall. As I crossed the Chattahoochie, I entered wonderful city of Duluth. Ga. Being a good driver, I double checked my speed to make sure I was below the posted 45 speed limit.
As I started across Peachtree Industrial Blvd, the Duluth cop behind me scared the shit out of me when he hit the siren and lights. Funny how sound comes screaming in through the open T-tops. Once my heart started beating again, I reached up through the open top and pointed to the CVS on the corner. Did not want anyone getting upset. I then eased through the intersection and, after signaling, turned into the CVS parking lot and into a space. The cop pulled in behind me, blocking me in. I killed the engine and patiently sat there with my hands in plain sight. After a moment or two, cop #1 was joined by cop #2 then cop #3. After a few more moments, cop #1 gets out and walks up the side of my car stopping behind the door and me. Number 2 is sliding up along the passenger’s side. I still had not moved, sitting still with both hands on the wheel.
Cop #1, still behind me, said “Mr. Jacobs, are you armed?”
“Yes, officer, I am. I have a 380 automatic in my left rear pocket. In the interest of our mutual safety, may I give you the gun to hold during our conversation?” Obviously, SHE had already run my tag while I was waiting.
“I know you are licensed to carry and have the gun legally, but I appreciate you offer, and if you would, I would appreciate you giving me your gun” she replied.
Still being quite careful, realizing they were ready for any unexpected movement, without taking my hands from the wheel, I asked “How do you want to do this?”
She replied “Just open the door slowly and step out with your hands in sight.”
I looked up at her through the rear view mirror, laughed and said “Officer, me getting out of this car is a little more than just stepping. No way can I get out while keeping my hands in plain sight.”
She then gave a small laugh and said “You are a little low, there, aren’t you? Just take it easy and come on out slowly.”
With that, I told her “I’m gonna use my right hand to release the seat belt then my left to open the door.” Which I then did. When the door was open, I turned in the seat, stuck my feet out the door, bent over and used my hands to push up off the door and the side of the car. (Hey, I’m 64 with 2 arthritic knees.) Once I got my back straightened out and stood up, having seen enough cop shows to know, I turned around and placed my hands on top of the car.
She said, “If you would, please take the gun out of your pocket and hold it with two fingers and I’ll take it.”
“Sounds like a plan”, said I.
So I did then she did, then she said “I just need to pat you down now for my safety.”
“Go right ahead” I told her and she did.
“Thank you Mr. Jacobs, you can relax now. I appreciate your cooperation.”
“Glad to”, I said, “I just want both of us to be able to go home when all is said and done.”
“I’m glad you understand, sir.” she said. “My name is Officer Tower and the reason I stopped you is you don’t have a current registration sticker on you plate. May I see your license and proof of insurance?”
“Happy to”, I said. “My license is in my wallet in my back right pocket. Insurance is in the console in the car.”
“Go ahead”, she said. So I pulled out my wallet and handed her my license. As I turned to get the other stuff, I saw cop #2 pawing through the glove box.
“What do you think you doing?” I asked.
“Just taking a look”, said #2.
“Not without permission or probable cause, neither one of which you have. So just get your hand out and off of my car” I told him.
“Right”, he said with more than a touch of scorn as he stepped back.
With that I reached over and got the insurance card out, turned around and handed them to Office Tower. She took the papers with a raised eyebrow.
“Any reason you don’t have the sticker on your plate?” she asked.
“Chit”, I said with a face plant, “I was in the process of putting the new one on when I broke my glasses, so I stopped working on that to go over to the mall to get them replaced.”
“Well, that was not good, was it?” she asked. “If you have the new sticker with you, go ahead and put it on then it’s no longer a problem.”
“Great, it’s in the back, I’ll do it right now.” With than I reached down and hit the “trunk” release and walked to the back of the car. I raised the rear window, reached in and got the registration envelope. I pulled out the sticker and applied to the plate. “Now nice and legal.”
“Unfortunately, I still have to issue a citation. They won’t let us give anyone a break.” she said as she reached and covered the gin bottle. With the slightest of winks she said “Have a seat in your car, I’ll just be a minute.”
In just three or four minutes, she walked up to the car and handed me the citation and my driver’s license and insurance card.
“Sorry, but they make us write up every stop. Fight it and maybe the judge will give you a break” she said.
“Thanks for the ones you can do” I said. I realized what she did when she covered the gin bottle. In Georgia, it’s against the law to have an open container (of alcohol) in your car. That includes one with a broken seal, even if the top is screwed on nice and tight and the driver can’t get to it.
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