Sometimes, I should just shut up, or,

how I talked myself into a speeding ticket.

Back in the ’70s…

I was north of Valentine, Nebraska. It was cloudy. Cold. A north wind was blowing. It was early spring, if I remember right. I was headed south on U.S. 83. I was speeding. A lot.

Lights in the rearview. Siren. The whole shebang.

-Hello, officer.


-That fast? I didn’t think this would go that fast.

-Yeah, it’s cold all right.

-I’m headed down the road a bit into Valentine to get warmed up.

-No, not overnight. I’m trying to make Vegas.

And that, dear reader, was my instant downfall. I could tell by the sudden flash of recognition that actually crossed his entire face. I was a goner. He knew I had cash, and he was going to get some of it for the municipality of Valentine. Right now.

He wrote me up for something like 75 in a 60, then handed me the ticket and told me that I could mail in the money today if I wanted to. Not being a complete dummy, I acquiesced and put a wad of cash into an envelope, which he watched me seal and that I held onto. He told me to follow him into Valentine and to pull up behind him at a mailbox, where he took the envelope from me and then dropped it into the box.

End of story.

Did the cash end up in Valentine’s coffers?

I have no idea.

Did I think of phoning city hall to find out?

Not at all.

Would I today, if it happened the same way?

You betcha.

And ever since, when I’m north of Valentine, I try to keep it to 5 over.

*     *     *

Lost wages. The City That Never Sleeps. Circus Circus was going to be my destination. Or maybe Caesar’s Palace. Neither of which happened. First stop: a liquor store. I ended up drunk in some two-story with orange paint around the door frames and windows. Damned if I can remember the name of the place. I think it started with an S. Or maybe a B.

Or not.

Anyone else know the name of the place?

I can’t ask my buddy. He’s dead now.

I know we had one helluva time, because we left there broke and hung over like the sons of bitches that we both were back then — but not before we spent our last twenties at two whorehouses on the way by.

5 thoughts on “Sometimes, I should just shut up, or,

  1. …or if you’re packin` with someone, enjoying the feel and are dumb enough to try to move forward for a comment at the wrong time, thank gawd that little voice in my head said “shut your mouth girl “…. then poof, from my nose to my chin was “warned” in person…..anyway know when you are in the wind I envy you….*pouts*….ride safe Darlin!

  2. in that time of year Darlin` it’s all good riding for me. The Sand Hills more to the west I think, the Badlands to the what?…..NW? Have to admit for being such a flat state it can be pretty hilly…just watch for the big exploding grasshoppers…they taste bad…lemme tell ya…*hangs her head in shame

  3. It’s been a while, but if I remember right there’s lots of rolling hills and valleys to the north. Nice riding when it’s green in early summer. And yes, it wasn’t much of a town back then, and probably still isn’t. But hell, it’s all good riding, isn’t it?

  4. Hmmmm…thats on the route thru to Sturgis. Ahhhh Valentine, just a touch off the Ranchers and the Sand Hills into what they call a town. “Municipality” is such a sweet thing to call it, quite generous too! At least I picked a larger Nebraska City to inhabit….if that actually counts for anything……… But our cops are not as nice……

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