“Oh my god!” I half-screamed with my mouth full of partially chewed pizza, my pathetic excuse for a dinner.
“Mom! It’s 6:02! I’m already two minutes late!” I screeched, my eyes meeting the surface of our wall clock far too late. My mom came pounding down the stairs, at what seemed like a quick pace to her but seemed like a snail’s rate to me. After I shrugged on my coat, grabbed my phone, and swallowed the last bit of leftover pizza like an experienced member of a pit crew, and waited a few more excruciating seconds for my mom to do the same, we both ran down to the car. By the time we started to drive off, my stomach was in knots. My director was becoming more and more militaristic, and I especially did not have much wiggle room with punctuality. I thought of the inevitable evil eye I would receive, and I felt a shiver go down my spine. The longer we kept driving, the more my cruel imagination acted up, each time showing a bleaker scenario than before.
“Mom, could you hurry up any?” My mom lowered her foot on the gas pedal, hitting the speed limit, but it was still not enough to assuage my worries.
“Honey, I’m pushing it as it is. I don’t want to get pulled over just for some rehearsal.”
“There are never any cops at this intersection. Plus, if I get kicked out for tardiness, they won’t give us back our money.”
I played my trump card. I knew my mom wouldn’t dare waste on her $200 on something as trivial as a couple of tardies.
I watched with a mixture of triumph and growing paranoia as my mom’s foot lowered an extra inch on the accelerator and the needle made its perilous journey to above 80 m.p.h. on the speedometer. Our car made it through one, two, three back road intersections undetected, until my paranoia finally caught up to me and made the hairs on my neck and the goosebumps on my arms stand to attention.
Just then, I saw the horrible red, white, and blue pattern appear on the seat in front of me and heard the dreadful wail of the police siren approaching. An invisible fist clenched my stomach tighter in its grasp, and my imagination yelped with glee at all the new material it had just received. As I sunk further into a despair, the fist squeezed again, and suddenly, a single idea, brazen and bold, fought its way up to my brain. As the cruiser drew up close, and the policeman approached, I let out a magnificent howl, and clutched at my stomach.
My mom, catching on immediately to my scheme, rolled down her window and hurriedly said, “My daughter’s been having awful stomach cramps, and I was just driving her to the hospital. I didn’t mean to speed, and I won’t do it again, I promise.” I let out another shriek, and the policeman was seemingly knocked over by the sheer force of my acting skills and my abundant teenage hormones. Eventually, he gave up, and just handed out a customary warning. As we continued on our way, my mom and I exchanged a look, and we barely contained our chuckles and grins from the retreating police officer, delighted and amused by our newfound story and wonderful excuse.