Suddenly, halfway through the turn, Moishe stopped the car so abruptly that Izya, who was, heretofore, quietly curled up in the passenger seat, squealed in protest. He looked back and, after a few seconds of adjusting his eyes to the murky dusk, realized what prompted Moishe to hit the brakes.
Moishe has just tried to cut in front of a NYPD patrol car.
Dedicating his best efforts to damage control, Moishe was trying to make eye-contact with the astonished cop behind the wheel, smiling obsequiously, good-naturedly shrugging his shoulders and waving the cop through – simultaneously blending it all into a kind of a makeshift submission dance.
Apparently, the cop wasn't amused. The loudspeaker angrily blared: "Pull over, to the side! Now! PULL OVER!!"
"Kid, what are we gonna do now, kid?" asked Izya. Izya didn't like the police and was now shifting nervously in his seat. Through the rearview mirror he was eyeing the two officers who were now approaching, one on each side.
Moishe didn't answer. He was still hoping to talk the cops into letting him off. Moishe hastily arranged all the movable parts of his face into an expression of utmost humility and remorse. He rolled down the driver-side window, placed his hands on the steering wheel and hospitably turned his head towards his cop.
He sweetly asked: "What seems to be the problem, officer?"
Moishe's voice broke off mid-sentence when he looked at the face derisively peering through him inside the car. That face belonged to a young, self-assured black male and sported a neatly-trimmed mustache, a square jaw line and a shiny insignia on the top. The lips on the face were curled in nothing less than rage at the affront to the dignity of the police force.
"Does it LOOK like I am having a good day, huh?"
Moishe's heart sunk. He correctly recognized the question as rhetorical and proceeded to explain himself. The explanation came out tepid and ineffectual.
Fortunately, the cop quickly interrupted his embarrassing stammering: "You. Cut. ME. Off. License and registration."
"License and registration! And, roll-down the passenger-side window already!"
Only then Moishe heard the other cop knocking on the window on Izya's side and finally realized that Izya has been tugging on his sleeve, trying to let him know. Rolling down the window exposed a cop who looked even angrier than the first one. Izya sharply exhaled in horror under the second fierce gaze.
Moishe produced the required documents and handed them to the cop. He realized that the resistance is futile. After spending a few seconds contemptuously looking at Moishe's driver's license, the cop said, "Wait in the car," and both cops returned to theirs.
"Well, I am fucked. Thoroughly, completely totally fucked," said Moishe.
"Maybe, he's just gonna check your license and won't give you a ticket?"
"Run a check, discover that I have 11 points on it already, realize that the ticket will make me lose my license, feel sorry for me not being able to drive around, apologize and let us go? Have you ever seen a New York cop feel sorry for anybody? Fucking doughnut-eaters... No, kiddo, they hate us, you know that. He has an opportunity to fuck me and he will use that opportunity."
"Kid, you did cut in front of him after all," said Izya with a laugh that was meant to ease the pain inflicted to his distressed friend by him begging to differ.
"I tried to switch lanes! It's six o'clock in the fucking evening, the rush hour! Everybody does it fast. If I didn't do it fast, these assholes wouldn't let me through. We would still be standing here."
Moishe stalled for a moment, realizing that they indeed were still standing here. Izya tactfully kept silent.
"No matter," Moishe continued, "My only fault is that I did it in front of a cop car. And now, I'm gonna get a ticket, 'gonna lose my license and be grateful to the prick for not making me get outside and fucking patting me down!.. 'Thank you, officer, for not fucking me up the ass with the broomstick!' Fucking goons! That's all they are! The city created the biggest mob of thugs so that it would keep the city free of other mobs and thugs, gave them weapons and told them to keep the abuse down. Not too much, guys! But, a little abuse here and there is okay, actually even welcome! You are welcome!"
Izya mournfully nodded. Moishe's diatribe generally summed up his own feelings on the subject but, always obedient to the dynamic of two people who spend countless hours talking to each other, he offered a counter-argument:
"But... kiddo... you know... that's really the trade-off. They are abusive, mostly. But, imagine you walking home at five in the morning and these two assholes are waiting for you on the corner, wanting to mug you. Wouldn't you be glad for this cop car then, huh?"
"Damn, man! How many times have I gotten mugged and how many times was I harassed by the cops? Besides, most likely, they wouldn't even stop. They don't give a flying fuck!"
"You never know. Like you said, you haven't been mugged yet. Maybe this very cop will be the one to save your ass! Maybe, not only yours – maybe you'd be walking home with a chick..."
Moishe gave Izya an incredulous look, which Izya ignored, inspired by the harmony of his own reasoning.
He continued: "I mean, getting mugged or even tossed around is unpleasant, but it is downright humiliating when it happens in front of a chick! Or, God forbid, you wouldn't be able to protect her! And then – this very cop car..."
Izya's voice ringed with righteous conviction. His face was continuously repainted in various shades of red by the flashing lights of the police cruiser behind them. He looked like a divine messenger of law and order. "Wouldn't you forgive him for giving you this ticket then? I mean, how many times would you be willing to get pulled-over like this for something like that?"
The sermon was cut short by a knock on the window.
"Here's a summons for an unsafe lane change," said the cop. "You're lucky I didn't write you up for careless driving as well."
"Thank you officer," said Izya.
The cop didn't hear him, being already midway between Moishe's car and his own. He was not having a good day, but writing up these two punks made him feel a little better. He didn't like their type and felt almost sorry for finding no reason to slap them face-down onto the pavement. Yet they gave him a small opportunity to teach them a lesson and he used that opportunity. He liked his job and felt pleased in knowing that his actions promoted law and order.