If you've been through Woodburn, you know where Route 82 curves over the river coming into town and the road narrows from four to two lanes just north of the bridge over Miller's Creek. The two lanes continue until six and three-tenths miles south of town when it divides into four lanes again.
The two lane section, which is within the Town Limits, is a sedate forty-five miles an hour. Since the speed limit on the four lane is seventy, some people have trouble complying with the lower speed. We in Woodburn didn't object when the American Automobile Association branded us as a speed trap. In fact, it was our idea. Chasing the speeders wore out squad cars and stretched the limits of our town police force, Chief Pat Wilson and Officers Cletus and Boyd Wilson, who were related to Pat by direct descent.
I suggested to Triple A that they label us as a speed trap. It helps us uphold the law and, after all, the ultimate responsibility for upholding the law falls to me, James Henry Madison. I'm the judge. And the mayor and the postmaster.
I even patrol the highway sometimes since I was once a police officer myself. I don't expect the town to supply me a squad car with its limited budget, so I supply my own-a cherry red '95 Firebird with a 350 V8, four in the four and all the speed enhancements the law allows. All right, I'll admit it. It has some the law doesn't allow unless you're the law, which I am. I did let the city buy the red lights and siren, but I don't use them much. People in Woodburn know when I'm coming. The Firebird has loud pipes and rumbles with a nice, deep bass.
I was coming back from Jefferson one bright Saturday afternoon. Jefferson's south of Woodburn forty-three miles, which is twenty minutes for me and forty minutes for everyone else. I wasn't in a good mood because Hiram Abbot, the Jefferson sheriff, had whipped me in golf and taken my money. Golf's my second or third greatest passion, depending on the weather.
When I clicked on the police radio to let the Wilsons know the red bullet headed their way was me, Clete came on the air.
"Come in, Chief," Clete said.
"Chief here. What's up, Clete?"
"There's a traffic jam on 82 at the bridge."
"Huh? Did you say traffic jam?
"I sure did."
"It can't be. We've never had a traffic jam in Woodburn."
"Dad, I mean, Chief, this is Boyd. I'm south of the bridge off Main Street. I can see the problem. It's a blue Mercedes doing five miles an hour. She's on the phone."
Knowing someone was driving while talking on a cell phone made me almost as mad as missing a four-foot putt on number seventeen and having to hear Hiram snicker.
"This is the Judge," I broke in. "Stop her and go over the car with a fine tooth comb. Let's get every charge against her we can."
"Don't we need some reason to stop her, Jimmy?" Boyd asked.
"Does she have both hands on the wheel?"
"No, she doesn't. Should she?"
"It's the law in this state," I replied pompously.
"If you say so, Judge. Okay. I'll get her."
Ten minutes later, I passed the scene of the crime. Boyd had a blue Mercedes pulled over. Its driver was standing between her car and his car pleading animatedly.
I did notice she was a fine looking woman about thirty-five or so wearing a white blouse, navy blue skirt, and low heels. Her black hair was wrapped smoothly on her head. The skirt fitted nicely over what appeared to be a well formed bottom. Like I said, I'm a former police officer and we're trained in observation.
I was in my office about thirty minutes later when Maureen, our dispatcher, jailer, secretary, office manager, town clerk, and head of the parks department, called me on the intercom. Some people might pronounce her name "Mo'reen" or "Maw'reen." Some people might say "Mar'een." But she pronounced it "Muh reen" with the accent on the second syllable. She corrected any one who called her otherwise.
"Jimmy, we've got a prisoner situation out here. You'd better come."
My office door opens into the police room that serves all the basic functions including holding cell, which in Woodburn means they're handcuffed to the steel pipe in the corner. It also served as Maureen's office and she ran it with an iron hand. Maureen lives in Jefferson and worked for the former sheriff there. She was fired when he caught her in bed with his wife. Maureen's big as a semi and twice as hard, but there's something about her that turns on the ladies with a ladylike bent. Sometimes they didn't know they had that bent until Maureen bends them.
As Boyd and Maureen looked at the paper work, I looked at the prisoner.
Wisps of her black hair had worked free and hung around her face. Her blouse was twisted and its right tail hung outside her skirt. The skirt was askew, and pulled tightly over her thighs, which, on closer inspection, were delightful. Her calves were shapely and led to narrow ankles. The blouse billowed over her right breast and was tight over her left, which, as the ads says, was round, firm and fully packed.
When she realized I was standing there, she looked up. She had beautiful brown eyes, soft and slightly frightened. She stood as gracefully as one can stand when their hands are cuffed behind them.
"Young man, I insist that I see the judge," she said with authority.
"It's Saturday. The judge might not be in," I replied.
"But she said he was."
"If he is, why would you want to see him?"
"There's been a mistake, a horrible mistake made by this... this policeman (she made it sound like a dirty word). I've got rights and I insist on seeing the judge."
"I'm the judge."
"You deceived me."
"No. You presumed I wasn't the judge. Why?"
"You're... well, there's no reason."
"Boyd," I said, "What are the charges?"
Boyd looked guilty as hell when he handed me the tickets. There was a stack of them.
"Oh, my. We've got a real criminal here," I said jocularly.
"I'm no criminal. I can't believe this, this... person abused me."
"Excuse me. Are you charging us with police brutality?"
"That's not what I meant. I mean... oh, damn it, I was just driving through town..."
"That's enough. Has he told you what the charges are?"
She gave him the evil eye and Boyd quivered like a wet puppy. Boyd could stare down a bear if the bear was male. Any female made him tuck his tail and run. Fortunately, we didn't have many female criminals in Woodburn.
"I count twelve separate offenses here with fines totaling..." Boyd said.
"Two thousand five hundred seventy-two dollars and fifty cents, including court costs," Maureen said, completing his sentence.
The woman made a sick gasping sound and slumped back into the chair. Somehow her skirt twisted again and rode higher on her legs. Her eyes begged for mercy when she looked up at me.
"Judge, may I talk to you in your chambers?"
"Of course," I replied. I took the handcuff keys from Boyd before guiding her into my office.
She sat on the edge of the straight chair as she continued to fight the cuffs. I would have taken them off her but I was enjoying the sight of her clothes twisting around her. There is something deliciously sexy about a woman in handcuffs. And something told me the lady was having more fun than she was willing to admit.
"Have you ever worn handcuffs before?" I asked.
"I've never been arrested," she stammered.
"That's not what I asked," I replied.
She turned a bright red and shyly looked away. Those beautiful brown eyes weren't frightened now. They were apprehensive with a touch of horny. But my shit-eating grin pissed her off.
"Can you take these damn things off me?"
"Damn's a swear word and the fine for swearing in court is a hundred dollars. That makes..."
"I don't care what it makes," she barked.
"If you're throwing yourself on the mercy of the court, you're going about it the wrong way," I said.
"Oh, damn, damn, damn," she said as she stamped her feet and shook her head in frustration.
That did have some positive results from my point of view. Another outburst would let me see what color panties she wore. I was betting on pink. More hair escaped and when the fit was over, she blew at it, trying to get the wisp off her face. She took a deep, deep breath, which was another positive result, and loudly exhaled.
"Look, my husband has plenty of money and I can pay the fines."
"Do you want to call him?"
She flushed. "No. I don't. Not now anyway. Judge, can I be honest?"
"That would be nice."
"I don't particularly want my husband to know about these tickets. He thinks I'm an inattentive driver."
"Like when you're going five in a forty-five zone or like when you're on the cell phone?"
"Lots of people use cell phones and..."
"Do lots of people have suspended licenses, no insurance..."
"Don't get smart with me," she interrupted.
Her eyes were blazing. She was a fiery wench and she heated me up in more ways than one. I looked at her license to give me time to cool down.
"It says here that you're Melissa Anderson Brown of Chesterville. Is that correct?"
"Yes, it is, your honor." The last two words were an afterthought.
"And it says you're forty-three. That can't be right."
"Why, yes, it is," she said with a ladylike blush.
"I'd have guessed thirty-three, thirty-five max."
"Thank you, but I'm far past thirty-five. I have three children. The oldest is probably your age."
"I'm twenty-nine," I replied.
"Well, my oldest is twenty-five."
.... There is more of this story ...