Connubial Counsel

Published by Moria in December 2017

Give him credit, she thinks: his first thought is of her.

“Alice, are you alright?”

“Probably a seatbelt bruise, but okay. You?”

“Okay. Belt kept me off the steering wheel. Can you see where we are?”

“Not a thing straight ahead.” Little wonder: the car is nose-up, the hood sprung. “From the side window, I’d say we’re inside the store. There’s glass all over the sidewalk.”

“Same over here. I didn’t see anyone near the window when the accelerator jammed.”

“Or you hit the gas instead of the brake. Wait, I’m going to call 9-1-1.”

“What the hell? You think I did it?”

“Hush! Police? There’s been an accident. The car lost control, and we smashed into a store window.”

“Turn on the damned speaker so I can hear too.”

“Just a minute, officer. My husband wants to hear what you’re saying.” She punches a button on the display. “There.”

“I was asking, ma’am, if you’re at Broad and Hill. We just got a call from a convenience store there.”

“Alice, tell him I can see the corner street sign. Broadway.”

“I hear you. Thank you, sir. I have a cruiser on the way. Is anyone hurt?”

“My husband and I seem to be okay, officer. We can’t see into the store.”

“Goddammit, let me do this. Give me the phone!”

“You had the keys, Herb. I offered to drive, but you wouldn’t let me.”

“Ma’am? Are you still in the car, ma’am?”

“Yes, officer.”

“Both of you?”

“Yes.”

“You should get out, ma’am. There might be a fire.”

“Oh, thank you, we hadn’t thought about that. I can open my side, and I’m getting out now. Herb, can you open your door?”

“Shit. It’s jammed.”

“Tell him to slide over and get out on your side, ma’am.”

“Officer, I’ll hold the phone up. Better if you tell him.”

“Just give me the phone, Alice!”

“Sir? Can you hear me? You should get out. Now. On her side.”

“Oh, all right. Dashboard’s kind of crumpled. Hard to squeeze through.”

“Do your best, sir. We don’t want you trapped in a fire.”

“I can manage. Time was when I could fuck in the front seat.”

“Herb! Don’t talk like that! Officer, I’m looking into the store. I don’t see anyone hurt. There’s a man shaking his fist.”

“I’m sending an ambulance just in case, ma’am. Our officer should be there in just seconds. Is your husband out yet?”

“I don’t need her to speak for me, cop! Yes, I’m out. And here comes the cruiser.”

“I hear it, sir. I’ll stay on the line until he’s out of the car. It’s Officer Ball. I’ve had him listen as he drove, so he’s up to speed. Thank you for calling 9-1-1. Good luck.”

“Good evening, ma’am. And sir. I’m Sergeant Ball. Does either of you need medical attention?”

“I don’t think so, officer. Maybe a bruise or two.”

“No whiplash?”

“We weren’t going that fast, officer.”

“Dammit, Alice, shut up! I was just pulling into park, officer, and the accelerator must have short-circuited, or whatever they do. It took me a minute to get my foot on the brake.”

“You didn’t have it on the brake already, sir?”

“Herb, we oughtn’t talk about what happened. That’s what they say on all the crime shows. I’m going to call Hank.”

“Is that your lawyer, ma’am?”

“Yes. Attorney Henry Waller, sir.”

“Alice, just let me take over. Ball, why don’t you go see if anyone’s hurt inside? I need to have a word with my wife.”

“Yes, sir. First, though, I wonder if you’d mind taking a few steps here on the sidewalk. Try to walk straight ahead.”

“You think I’m drunk.”

“No, sir, just a standard check.”

“Can’t I wait until my attorney gets here?”

“No, sir. You don’t have to answer questions, but simple physical tests are permitted by the Miranda ruling.”

“Alice, where the hell are you? Give me a hand.”

“No, sir, I’d like to see you walk by yourself.”

“I can’t.”

“You can’t?”

“Maybe I broke a leg.”

“Oh, my goodness! Officer, let’s help him to that bench over there. Herb, I reached Hank. He’s on his way.”

“Here, sir, let me give you a hand. There. I’ll leave you with your wife. I’m going inside.”

“Herbert, it isn’t really broken, is it?”

“What’s with the Herbert stuff, Alice? You trying to send me a message?”

“No, I tried that all evening long. It’s a little late now.”

“Fuck off, Alice.”

“We’ll have an interesting talk when we get home, Herbert.”

 -End-
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