Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Speeding


Sitting in the courtroom

waiting for my name to be called

and finally hearing the clerk read out

MICHAEL ALLEN

I pop up out of my seat

and walk quickly to the front

to face The Judge

with His well-armed deputy standing off to my right

The Judge, the deputy and I form a small triangle

at the bench

where we speak in hushed tones, for some reason

sharing the secret of what I’ve done

Speeding

64 mph in a 45 zone

not too far from the courthouse itself, actually

And The Judge asks me

What do you have to say for yourself?

And I say, basically

Guilty as charged

And The Judge’s face, not changing one bit

but His tone softening just a little

Well, Mr. ALLEN, I’m afraid it’s Driver’s Improvement Training for you

And then a pause

And once you’ve completed that, well

I’ll go ahead and throw out this ticket


And I say, Thank you, Your Honor

and turn to shake the deputy’s hand

and walk out of the courtroom into fresh air and sunshine


And I do exactly what The Judge tells me to do

I sit all day—on a Saturday mind you

in Driver’s Improvement class

surrounded by other speeders and red-light runners

most of them young enough to be my kids

or maybe even my grandkids


I sit there and receive

a clean record

and forgiveness from The Judge


It’s as if I’d never sped a day in my life

Do you know how good that feels?