Wednesday, February 27, 2013

To be loved



He was a cop who sat in one of those cop cars you see parked in a sneaky place along the Interstate so they can catch speeders. Part of what made his hiding place so sneaky was this big overgrown bush that blocked his car from the view of oncoming traffic. He caught them going southbound, entering his jurisdiction. 

The county's grounds-maintenance crews were under strict orders not to trim the overgrown shrub when they mowed the rest of the median. They knew it was the cops' hiding place.

But then one day some new employee made a mistake and cut the unruly sucker down, manicured it down to the nub. The new employee had been trying hard to go "above and beyond" what was asked of him, thinking his supervisors would praise his handiwork. Except no, the new employee was not supposed to do that. He didn't get fired, just reprimanded.

So now the cop sat in his usual perch, the place where his boss always told him to go to catch folks as they entered the county with its notorious "zero tolerance" for speeders.

The coming cars could see the cop car plainly. They slowed down as soon as they saw him.

They slowed down to a conspicuous, unnatural, downright eerie-slow rate. As if to say, "La la la, nothing to see here, just little ol' law-abiding me." The cop knew they all sped up as soon as they were out of his sight.

With each slowing-down car, he felt their contempt. He felt their resentment at having to lie, just for those few moments of road.

He had become a police officer to do good; to be loved, not hated. Now, just like with everything else he had done in his life, his good intentions had backfired on him.

So he took out his gun. He was in plain view of oncoming traffic.

"Do you see what I do for you?"

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