“Sir,” the policeman said as he stopped the speeding car and reached its window, “Where are you going?”
“Home,” the man replied.
“And where is that?” the policeman continued.
“Wherever it might be,” the man responded.
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you get out of your car and give me your license and registration.” The policeman said, irate at the man’s response.
The man, calm and nonchalant stepped out of the car and handed the documents to the policeman and stepped aside and shut the car door.
The policeman let out a sigh, regretful at stopping this particular over-speeding car at one in the morning. “Sir, your home address is about two hundred kilometres from here,” the policeman exclaimed in anger.
“I know,” the man went on, as though oblivious to the police man’s ire and fatigue.
“Then what the hell are you doing here?” the policeman said, finally snapping at the attitude of the man.
“Finding home,” the man replied in his usual casualness.
“You keep on with that attitude and I’ll lock you up for the night.” the policeman continued, frustrated and annoyed at the perceived casualness and general waywardness of the man.
“Nothing will happen to the car right?” the man responded, turning a bit more serious.
“Yeah, wait, what?” the policeman shocked at the man’s query. “I’m this close to locking you up with homicidal maniacs and psychopaths, and that’s all you can think about? Whether your car will be okay or not?”
“Yeah. It’s my father’s,” the man responded, his casualness fading away for his serious demeanour.
“Well then he’s gonna be mad that it spent a night in the impound,” the policeman responded, lightening up a bit, warming up to the odd man with cryptic answers to his run of the mill questions.
“Yeah. He would be,” the man continued, “but he’s dead.”
The policeman stopped checking the documents and stared at the man. He was unpleasantly shocked at the man’s indifference in his voice and his blank expression while saying it.
“Man, you’re crazy,” the policeman stated.” I’ve locked up paedophiles, guys who did hit and run, a few homicidal maniacs too, but they don’t hold anything when compared to you,’ he continued on in in equal parts amazement and bafflement at this extremely bizarre incident in his life.
“What, why?” the man responded in light humor, surprised at the acquisition.
“Seriously. I catch you speeding at one in the night, you’re all damn chill about it. Then I tell you I’ll lock you up and you’re concerned about your car rather than yourself,’ the policeman spoke in a fast but high pitched voice. “What’s up with that,” the policeman ended his tirade against the man’s attitude and the man, smiling, burst out laughing,
“What? What>” the policeman responded, his hands thrown in the air, curious at the man’s laughter, but also not very pleased at the same time.
“Well,” the man continued laughing, even more loudly than before, now breaking the silence that shrouded the area. “Well, I’ve never seen a police officer say words like chill or what’s up or even act like that,” the man continued, throwing his hands in the air like the police officer, and eventually falling on his car’s hood.
“Man, I tell you. You’re crazy,” the policeman said, tired at trying to figure out the man’s cryptic behaviour.
“No, no,” the man continued, controlling his laughter to give a more coherent and audible response. “No,” finally ending his laughter, “how often do you look at a police officer use words like chill and act like a normal person. I mean, you all act so tough all the time that we forget you’re just like us. I mean, we get so muddled in the stereotypes, we forget to look at the people underneath”
The policeman stood surprised by what he had just heard. He understood why the man laughed and realised that the man was as smart as he was crazy. “Yeah, that’s because not a lot of people over speed at one in the morning.”
“True,” the man nodded. “Or you know, cross paths with me,” the man laughed.
“Yeah,” the policeman joined the man in his laughter.
The laughter soon subsided into the silence and both the men rested on the hood of the car and the policeman closed the documents and handed them over to the man.
“So, what brings you here, oh great wise wizard man of two hundred kilometres away,” the policeman asked, waving his arms in the air, trying to make mystical hand signs.
The man chuckled a bit. “You never thought you’d see a police man do that, did you?” the policeman continued and the man burst out laughing again. The policeman joined him as well.
“You here to meet some extended family or something,” the policeman asked.
“No, no. Just passing by. Just exploring,” the man replied.
“To where,” the policeman asked,
“I don’t know, I just took the car out of the garage for a drive and next thing you know, I get back home, pack a bag and head out.”
“All of a sudden? Just like that?” the policeman enquired.
“Just like that,” the man responded. “The car had been in the garage ever since it came back from servicing a couple weeks ago and I just took her out for a spin. And while driving, I realised I needed to unburden myself,” the man continues, “of all earthly and mundane affairs,” he spoke, imitating a wizard in speech and action.
Both of them chuckled a bit.
“Unburden yourself? You sound like you’re carrying a lot of burden on those weak arms,” the policeman said, patting the man’s bicep.
“I was,” the man’s tone was now serious. “My family died when I was what, seven. Ever since then, I’ve been living with my extended joint family. So, all my other relatives looked after me,” the man continued. “But they always had this feeling in there heart. They would feel bad for me and somewhere, I felt they always treated me differently. And I always felt grateful and so, in my head, I started to become what I think they would appreciate. And I started becoming this boy who restrained himself from so much because of small things only he could see and burdened himself with this particular way to live and behave that he forgot who he truly was. Beneath all those self-imposed restrictions,” the man ended, taking a deep breath.
“You know they would have loved it had you been yourself,” the policeman said.
“Yeah, I know. I always thought that I could be one way in front of them but always know who I was in my head and it would be all right. But that just doesn’t work out.”
“Yeah. You can’t wear one face to the world and another to yourself without being eventually confused as to which one is actually true,” the policeman added on.
“And that’s the issue, isn’t it? We all think that if we know who we are and are secure about it, we can change ourselves according to people’s needs without it affecting who we really are,” the man spoke with pain and passion in his voice regarding the human condition. “It just doesn’t work.”
“It can’t work,” the policeman added. “The human brain and heart, even though used for deception are not made for it. They falter when they know they’re doing something wrong,” the policeman equally passionate and irate about the human condition.
“That actually makes so much sense. You can’t fool yourself into believing what you don’t believe in. I mean, that’s why heroes and villains go so far. Because in their heart of hearts, they are doing what they truly believe in. Unhindered, unrestrained by anything,” the man continued.
“Because when you believe, you aren’t scared by things that scare you. You work hard to overcome adversities and succeed,” the policeman added further.
“Because only a strong immovable belief forms the willpower to never give up,” the man said, even faster, stimulated by the conversation they were having.
“I’ve never talked like that without having two beers in me,” the policeman exclaimed even faster and both men chuckled a bit.
“Seems like a scene out of a Woody Allen movie,” the man said once he finished his laughter. “Two strangers meet and out of nowhere start talking about life and the human condition and the problems we all face.”
The policeman checked. “Yeah. Rightly said. Had it been longer, we could have called it a scene from My Dinner With Andre.”
“Yeah, but in My Dinner With Andre, the two know each other. We’re more Allen characters. Strangers who are mysteriously empathise with each other even though they’ve known each other only a short time.”
“You sure can talk for about one thirty in the night,” the policeman said.
“It’s a gift,” the man said with a slight hint of narcissism.”
“Aaaaahhhh,” the policeman yawned, tired after this brief but enlightening experience. “I’d love to continue, but I’m tired and no matter how much I don’t want to, I need to finish with my duty here.” The policeman said as he got of the hood of the man’s car and raised his arm for a handshake.
“Yeah,” the man responded, jumping off the hood with his documents in hand and grabbed the policeman’s hand.
The policeman walked away and the man looked at his documents. “Wait, aren’t you going to give me a ticket?” the man screamed.”
“Nah. I have a feeling you’ll be back here.”
The man nodded his head as the policeman entered his car and started it and drive away, his hand out to wave good bye and he soon drove towards the moon. The man too then entered his car and revved his engine and took off as well, a smile on his face, driving towards the moon as well, but taking a different path.
This is the second Chats story, the previous one being The One in the Bar. So, sound off in the comments below how you found this story!