Friday, October 12, 2018

On a Tip

Jen loved reading license plates. As she walked her dog she would scan the oncoming traffic and try to capture and recite the plates at a glance. She also practiced identifying car logos as they zoomed by. It was a game she played with herself to sharpen her skills. Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, Chrysler, Buick, Pontiac, Volkswagen, Cadillac, Acura, Saab, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Peugeot. Two- door, four-door, SUV, box truck, pickup-truck, semi, passenger van, cargo van. Whenever there was a crazy driver on the highway she'd say their plate number out loud as if to capture them in advance. "Just in case we might need it," she'd say to Maggie, her gray standard poodle riding in the back seat. One time there was an accident right in front of her. She slammed on the breaks. Maggie fell onto the floor of the car. Through the downpour she read, "AI-4QW, Georgia plate red Lexus sedan," and the Lexus zoomed away. Her heart was pounding with adrenaline. She spoke it aloud over and over until she was able to jot it down on the memo pad in her glove compartment. "Officer, I wrote down the license plate of that crazy red Lexus," she said trembling, holding up her memo pad, the thin blue lines dissolving in the rain. Her green manicured nails appeared black from the flashing red and blue lights. "It was a Georgia plate, AI-4QW."
"Thank you, Ma'am, he said, repeating it into his shoulder mic."
"I have this crazy habit of nabbing license plates, since I was a kid," she blurted out.
"Can I have your name and address please?"
"Estelle Rogers, 84 Northbridge Road, but everyone calls me Jen."
"Thank you, Ms. Rogers."
"Jen is fine," she said driving off.
The next day she opened her local newspaper. There it was, Hit and Run Driver Nabbed, it said. Police were able to track down the driver on a tip from a witness. They found the Lexus with front end damage stashed behind Joe's Junkyard on Rubble Street. The driver was wanted in Georgia on several outstanding warrants.