Short Stories

Stop or Move On

“Just simmer down, boy.”

The overweight sheriff stood so close to Tommy’s car window that his belly rested on the door frame. Tommy knew this small burg was a speed trap. His mind was on Shirly, though instead of the road. Tommy attempted to see the sheriff’s face above his belly.

“I’m sorry, officer. You’re right, I should have been paying closer attention. I just left my girlfriend’s house, and we won’t get to see each other for a month.” Tommy did not know why he felt so open with a cop he just met.

The sheriff gave an unexpected smile. “That’s alright, son. I was a young man once. I went through the same thing. Back when I joined the army, I had to leave my girl. We hated being apart.”

Tommy could not believe his luck. Maybe this was a sign that everything would work out for the best. Perhaps he might even get out of his ticket. “What happened to you two?”

The sheriff tore off the ticket and handed it to Tommy. “She left me for my best friend. Try and slow down, and good luck with your girl.”

Tommy’s heart sank. If this was a sign, it was a bad one. The sheriff waited until Tommy pulled back on the road to turn around and head back to his little town for his next victim.

“Siri, call Shirley”.

“Calling Shirley.”


Her voice lifted Tommy’s spirits. “Hi, honey.”

“Miss me after 45 minutes, huh?”

He started feeling silly for being so insecure. “Yeah, I just got a ticket.”

“Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that. Did the ticket make you think of me?” There was a touch of sarcasm in her lilting voice.

“Sort of. I mean, I was thinking of you and got caught in a speed trap. I told the sheriff my thoughts were on my girlfriend. He told me he had a long-distance girlfriend once, and then she ran off with his best friend.”

He could hear Shirley try to stifle her laugh. He loved her laugh, even at his own expense. She composed herself and gently said, “Well, one of us will have to give up their job and move.”

“I know, babe. I would never think of imposing that on you. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of options in your small town.” Tommy discouraged himself with his own words.

“Well you know what they say, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

Tommy caught the hint immediately. “Yes, they do. I guess I should concentrate on driving before I get another ticket.”

“You better pay attention, so you have money to see me.”

They both laughed, and Tommy hung up. “Siri, give me a list of jewelry stores near home.” A list popped up on his phone. Tommy did not bother to look. He would have time for that in thirty minutes after he got home.

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