I had plans for that spring day in 2011. I would root around in the dirt of my gardens, tucking in my seedlings for the season, and I would finally meet the new neighbors. A day of fresh beginnings.
It was also the day I was wanted by the law.
On my drive home from the nursery earlier, tender plants swaying in cardboard boxes in the back seat, I turned the car onto our street and glanced in the rearview mirror. Behind me, a black Suburban turned in the same direction. I drove past our house and turned right again at the end of the block. So did the Suburban. Halfway down the next block, I took another right, this time into our alley. The black SUV crept in behind me.
A vehicle behind me making a turn in the same direction as me onto our street? An everyday event. The vehicle following my second turn too? A common occurrence. But the same vehicle turning into our alley right behind me? Less likely. Was this the new neighbors’ truck?
Emergency lights flashed from the SUV’s grill, then came a quick woop woop of a siren. An unmarked police car? Meant for me?
“Stop your vehicle,” a voice blasted from a PA system.
I pressed my brakes and put the Honda into park. The black truck rolled to a stop twenty feet behind me. My mouth went dry. I couldn’t have been speeding. With neighborhood kids playing basketball in our street, I had even slowed down. But had I forgotten to signal my turn into the alley? Or did my car somehow look suspicious?
My heart did the jitter-bug, and my stomach joined the dance.
“Ma’am, turn your engine off,” came the command from the PA.
I obeyed. What was happening?
Wait. That voice…
I squinted into the rear view mirror. Husband sat behind the wheel of the Suburban; his mouth curved into a crooked smile. I had forgotten all about the unmarked ride, a perk of his temporary assignment with a special unit at work. If in the neighborhood, why not practice a felony stop on the wife?
“Get out of your vehicle and put your hands over your head,” he said, his amplified voice resonating throughout the alley.
I climbed out of the car, my legs still weak from the scare. I laughed, shaking my head.
“Don’t turn towards me,” he said over the PA. “Walk backwards towards my vehicle.”
A movement behind Husband’s truck snagged my attention. A neighbor poked his head from behind his garage and peered at us. Wonderful. I flicked my gaze in the other direction. Two female neighbors—the ones I hadn’t met yet—peeked out of their yard. My reputation for not being the kind of resident who gets arrested in the alley in broad daylight was evaporating like the puddles from the previous night’s rain.
I sauntered towards Husband. His game was over.
“Hands over your head,” he said into the mic, an impish look still plastered to his face.
Surely by now, Husband’s voice over the loud speaker had reverberated throughout all of north Minneapolis. What if the local police drove by? What then?
I planted my hands on my hips and pulled out the look—the one reserved for squirrely kids in church. “Stop it,” I mouthed to him.
He issued another command, and my face heated. I resisted arrest, pivoting on my heel. On my way back to the Honda, my eyes met those of the neighbors, and I shook my head. Nothin’ to see here, folks. Nothin’ to see here. The onlookers returned to their yards. I started the car and drove into the driveway.
Husband thinks he’s funny. The End.
*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date
*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.