Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Set 'em up, Joe... by Joe DeRozier #WindowOvertheSink

It was in the '90s.

It's hard to believe that something so clear in my memory happened so long ago. I was still a pretty young guy, and I was still burning the candle at both ends. I'd be in the bakery early in the morning, do paperwork, run errands,  mix dough, proof dough, cut dough, again proof dough, fry dough, ice and fill dough, pack finished donuts in boxes to be delivered, then deliver the donuts―after I cleaned up the bakery.

We had several delivery routes back then, but this route was the longest and most spread out.  Because I couldn't pay anyone to do it, and still make money, I took it. It was a terrible route, with long distances between stops. 

I first went to Bluffton, then up to Ft. Wayne,  then the rest of the stops took me to the west side of the state.  Once done, I drove back home, for what seemed like an eternity, with no more stops. I drank coffee, popped Nodoz, and even took aspirin to do ANYTHING to get the caffeine in my system.

This night, I had already been to Bluffton. I then went up to Ossian, where I was routinely pulled over for speeding. It really was unintentional―I had a hard time focusing. The police there were ALWAYS nice. It was almost a welcome break from my drive just so I could talk to someone,even if they were writing me a ticket or warning.

I arrive in Ft Wayne, make my drop, and I'm heading to Highway 30. Was I speeding? Absolutely. I'm tired and I want to finish as soon as possible so that my caffeine rush doesn't desert me.

I see the familiar red and blue lights in my rearview mirror. This has become such a common occurrence to me, it doesn't faze me anymore. I pull to the side, have my license and registration all ready, and roll down my window. I wonder what the heck is he doing back there.

Suddenly, several more police cars show up. This isn't standard operating procedure. The original police car finally opens. I'm looking back at him, because I'm baffled.

He yells (I mean, really yells!) at me to get back in the van (I just had my head sticking out the window), put both hands outside my window as far as they could go, and not to move a muscle. This seems a bit theatrical.

I look at him, and he's making a pretty wide semicircle to be able to see me, as he approaches. HIS GUN IS DRAWN. Suddenly I realized that this is real.


If you know me at all, you know my thoughts aren't always the most practical. It dawned on me, that I had a van full of donuts…and that there were a lot of policemen. They SO wanted my donuts, they were willing to threaten physical violence for them. What an honor!

Of course, this made me start to laugh. I'm tired. Incredibly drained. Running on fumes. The longer I look at the situation, the funnier it becomes. To me.

NOT to them.

I'm "gently" pulled out of the van―at gunpoint. I'm still giggling like a little girl. I'm frisked (by the way―that isn't cool), and another officer looks in the van with his flashlight. "What is in those boxes?" he screams.

Now I'm almost dying. "Donuts," I say with a huge grin.

He opens a couple boxes. Now he starts to laugh.

I told them I had just dropped off donuts at a convenience store and was heading to my next stop.

Apparently, a man in a van had just robbed a store and was racing down Highway 69. I was understandably mistaken for that guy.

The police were very nice and told me to be careful. It was one of the few times that sheer adrenaline saw me through the rest of my route.

I wonder if any of them are still telling that story to their friends?