“You wouldn’t be so damn bad if I won’t locked up...”
Garrett didn't feel very bad as he sank back in the seat and tried to dodge the drunk’s angry spittle. Beside him, Jani remained absolutely silent - hoping to avoid the attention of the hulking redneck seated in front of her. When the state trooper first placed him in the front seat, the driver of the now abandoned Riviera let loose with a torrent of obscenity that centered on the lawman’s lineage. Besides the occasional ‘shaddup’, the trooper ignored the man’s intoxicated rage, focusing instead on the steering wheel in his regulation grip. This left the arrested driver with no one to berate but the cameraman in the backseat, and he set upon this task with drunken intensity. Poor Garrett could only sit and take it as the handcuffed man cursed him up and down as the trooper drove ever so slowly to the county jail.
“If I weren’t in these damn handcuffs, I’d take you back to the single-wide just to see if you bleed --”
This brought a snort of laughter from Jani, who’d been studying the details of her car door window. ‘Great’, though Garrett, I took this gig to show Jani I was worthy of her attention and now this hillbilly’s questioning my manhood for her to enjoy.’ Apparently the drunk was psychic as well as inbred, for he turned almost all the way around in his seat to take not of his new female fan. Dropping all menace from his voice, the man purred through his whisky-induced halitosis.
“I sure do like watchin’ yew on the tee-vee…”
This went on for what felt like forever, though in reality it was only a few short miles. The closer they got to the jail, the more irate the drunk riding shotgun became - cursing the trooper, taunting Garrett and expressing his sincere admiration of Jani’s broadcast acumen. All the while, Jani kept quiet - except when the drunk scored a particularly clever retort at Garrett’s expense. He could take it of course - they didn’t call him ‘G. Lee’ fore nothing - but Garrett didn’t appreciate the constant slams from the drunk up front, especially with the one young woman he found himself pining for there to enjoy it all. Still, there wasn’t much he could do, except cradle his camera in his lap and hope the man would fall victim to someone even more deranged inside the confines of county lock-up.
Actually, there was something he could do. The lens in his lap was indeed a powerful weapon and if there was thing Garrett prided himself on was his ability to make his camera cry and sing. By the time the trooper pulled up to the county jail, Garrett, seething with news shooter’s revenge, fondled the door handle - grateful the trooper had disengaged the automatic locks at the outset of their ride-along. The trooper barely had put the car in ’Park’ before Garrett had hopped out, shouldered his lens and ran around to the passenger side. Sensing the young photog wanted to document every step of the drunk’s belligerent journey, the Trooper took his sweet time extracting the much larger man from the car. All the way, Garrett stayed closer than he had to - determined to get every angle of this asshole’s face on tape, all so he could slather it all over Jani’s upcoming ‘special report’.
Backpedaling in front of the shackled drunk, Garrett smiled behind his viewfinder. The man stood a good two feet above the trooper behind him and could very easily crush both him with his heavy work-boots. As he puffed out his chest and cussed Garrett, the trooper held onto his cuffed wrists and guided him toward the jail’s well-lit entrance. At the exact moment the light from the streetlight fell on his pockmarked face. The drunk lunged toward Garrett, only to be painfully yanked back by the stocky trooper. Garrett only flinched a little and managed to keep both the lunge and the resulting yank in frame. ’That’ll make the promos’, he thought as he double-checked the ’Record’ light in the corner of his screen. He was just about to congratulate himself when the sounds of a scuffle grabbed his attention.
With an awkward twist the handcuffed drunk lunged again, this time breaking the grip of the state trooper. Before Garrett could even think to react, the man who’s Buick Riviera was still cooling outside his run-down trailer half skipped toward him and with the unlikely balance of a budding alcoholic brought his steel-toed boot up high and swift until it connected squarely with the cameraman’s crotch. Jani gasped in the distance as G. Lee and he and his camera fell toward the unforgiving pavement in slow-motion. He had yet to hit the surface when all light, sound and reason left his world.
(Next time ... The Conclusion!)