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By Sarah Sawyers-Lovett
I was a dude in distress. Stuck on the side of the interstate while cars whizzed past me, I whipped out my phone to find it dead. Again. I got out of the car and sat on the hood, trying to look hapless and unthreatening enough for someone to stop. It wasn’t just that some jagoff had sideswiped me into the medium; it was that the impact had flattened both of the driver’s side tires and I only had one spare.
And if I’m being honest here, I didn’t even know how to change a spare tire. Being the dashing son of media royalty meant nothing if you had to get your hands dirty, amirite?
I was thinking about hoofing it to the next ramp, when the whoop of a siren startled me. When she got out of the car it was like that scene from Wayne’s World where everything goes all slow-motion and “Dream Weaver” starts playing in the background. She was a bit taller than me, and her police uniform hugged her curves in ways that made me consider a life of crime.
“Need some help?” she said, her aviators glinting against the bright sun.
“Uh…just a tow, probably.”
“Got sideswiped and popped a couple of tires.”
“Get any plates?”
“Too busy cussin’.” I grinned and tried to look charming.
Her radio buzzed and she called my hit and run in, then said that a tow truck would be along in a little while.
“Do I have to wait here, or can I convince you to let me take you for a cup of coffee?”
“I’m on duty. You should wait with your car.”
I wasn’t used to being dismissed so easily. In my social circles, I was thought of as something of a catch. Rich, handsome, charming and well educated—I was used to being pursued by women and occasionally men.
I couldn’t get Officer Cinder out of my head. I sent flowers to the station and called to ask her to dinner. She declined, so I showed up in person with a generous contribution to the Policeman’s Benevolent Fund.
I asked to see her and when I was taken to her desk, she looked up scowling. “What are you doing here?”
“Honestly? I’m trying to woo you.”
“I take it that it isn’t working?”
“Do you know how fucking hard it is to be taken seriously as a woman in law enforcement?” She looked so great in her uniform. “To say nothing of some rando taking a shine to me and sending flowers and gifts? The guys won’t stop giving me shit about you.”
“Whoa. Cop language!”
“Are you even listening to me?”
I couldn’t stop staring at the way her uniform pants hugged her waist. “I’m listening. But I’m not leaving until you agree to have dinner with me.”
“I’m a dyke, dude. No interest in you whatsoever. I’m not some conquest or someone who is working her beat until some charming prince sweeps her off her feet. I do this work because I believe in it. I am part of this community and I’ve worked my ass off to gain the respect of my work peers. I’ll get a restraining order if I have to. I’d like you to leave.”
“Wait, I think you’ve got it twisted. I’m a nice guy!” I held up my hand to defend myself. “That’s why I’m always finishing last. I know you think you’re a lesbian, but maybe if you gave me a shot…”
“I know your type.” Cinder said. “Mr. Friendzone. You aren’t interested in women who want you, and you villainize women who don’t. I know you think you’re a ‘good guy.' It’s easy to think of yourself as a hero when you ride in on your big check. But you’re the bad guy in my story. And you’re not even the only one.”
“Because you have so many suitors chasing after you?”
“No, because of the billion little ways in which dudes who think they’re ‘good guys’ assume things about my sexuality, tell me to smile, or holla at me on the street.”
“I would never do those things to you.”
“You already have. You might think knowing me makes a difference, but it doesn’t matter.”
I cocked my head and she continued. “You can think of me as some bitch with a sense of humor and that’s fine, but tomorrow or a week from now or at some point in the future, you’ll look at some woman and think about her body, about how you’d like to tap that. And you’ll whistle or offer some insipid comment on her appearance. And if she accepts your invitation to dinner, you’ll date for ten minutes until you get bored. And if she doesn’t, she’ll be just another evil bitch who rejected you.”
I tried to wrap my brain around what she said, but as she finished talking my interest started to wane again. “So that’s a no on dinner now, or ever?”
“Your loss.” I shrugged and tried to seem casual. Then I walked way and never saw that bitch again.
#ShortStory #CreativeWriting #Prose #Fiction #DudeInDistress #SideOfTheRoad #TireChange #Dykes #Lesbians #Cops