In Amboy, I stopped at Roy’s for a milkshake. I was still pretty sugared up from my Mexican Coke, but I just couldn’t pass up this 1950’s icon.
The hum of the air conditioning merged with the 1950s soundtrack playing in the background.
I slid my glass around in the wet spot the condensation had made on the formica tabletop and fought the urge to blow the paper cover off my straw into the middle of the room.
A glass case behind the register displayed the house speciality: An “I got my kicks at Roy’s” t-shirt with the Route 66 logo. I’ve never been much of one for silly t-shirts, but I knew how much you’d love this one, so I bought size large, in orange, and threw it in the trunk.
By the time Sally and I rolled onto the highway, I was buzzing on a sugar high and I barely noticed Needles as we passed on through.
Listen, you know how I am. Sugar in me is like scotch in hairy old men. Enough of it and I think I’m the funniest thing on the planet and am willing to try anything once, even alone.
So I guess this is where my travelogue begins to get a little more interesting. You were wondering where this is going, right?
Well, somewhere in the Mohave desert between Needles and Kingman, I got the bright idea to take off my shirt.
It was a pretty lonely stretch of road, it was still hot and sunny, and I was in a convertible. I hadn’t pulled this stunt since college, but “what better time?” I thought to myself. First I slid my bra straps out from under my tank top and then I slipped my arms out, one at a time. I twisted the fastener around to the front, unhooked it with my right hand and hung my bra on my rear view mirror, amusing the hell out of myself.
Finally, I glanced around to make sure I was truly alone on the road and then I slipped my undershirt over my head. My heart was racing and I was laughing my ass off, all by myself in the car.
I have to admit, the air blowing through my hair and over my breasts felt awfully good after a hot day in the car. When I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror, laughing, happy, and topless in my Ray-bans, I decided I needed a picture to preserve this moment.
(And I’ll confess now, I was toying with the idea of sending it to you as a little reminder of what you’re missing.)
I dug around in the glove box and came up with my cell phone. I turned it on and waited for the photo viewfinder. And then, driving topless along Route 66 at 60 miles an hour, I proceeded to try and take my own picture. I heard my phone make the shutter noise, but out in the sunlight, I couldn’t tell what sort of pictures I was taking, so I tried a couple of different angles, smiling at the camera, looking serious, glasses on, glasses on top of my head, and one of just my tits, for good measure.
Admittedly, I wasn’t paying much attention to the road, so the lights and siren behind me took completely by surprise. I tossed the cell phone on the seat and scrambled around for my denim shirt as I pulled to the shoulder.
The Arizona Highway Patrol officer slowly approached the car, giving me just enough time to slip the shirt, backwards over my bare chest.
“Everything all right, ma’am?”
The voice was deep, but female. I turned to look up at the officer, squinting into the sun.
“It looked like you were having a little trouble back there.”
“I’m sorry. I let myself get distracted. I should have been paying more attention to the road.”
The officer was broad-shouldered with a dark, tanned face. Her long hair was slicked back into a braid.
I thought I saw her fighting down a smile.
“You going somewhere?” she asked.
“Kingman,” I said. “Just until Friday or Saturday.”
“Can I see your license?’
I fumbled around looking for it in my wallet and then handed it to her.
“I didn’t know you were behind me,” I said.
“Did you see that “Welcome to Arizona” billboard back there?
“You were behind it? How very ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ of you.”
I admit, I was being a sugared-up smartass, but I was flirting a little too.
“Your shirt’s on backwards,” she said.
She was grinning outright now, white teeth flashing in the sun. I was pretty sure the heavy steel loops in her earlobes and her tragus piercings weren’t department regulation, and I couldn’t help but notice that she filled out her uniform awfully well.
“You know your tags expired at the end of last month?”
“Oh, man. I totally forgot to take care of that before I left home. That was just a couple of days ago.”
“I’m going to write you a fix-it ticket for the tags. It won’t cost you anything as long as you remember to take care of it,” she said. “I’ll be right back. Why don’t you get yourself dressed while I’m back at the car?”
I blushed red at that. I hadn’t fooled her for a moment.
“You saw that, huh?”
“I’ve got a scope on the radar gun. You put on quite a show.”
Her boots crunched in the gravel as she walked away. As I reached for my bra, I realized my nipples were as hard as the pebbles under her feet.
Now fully dressed, I heard her approach again.
She handed me the ticket pad. I signed, and she tore it off. As she reached out to hand me the ticket, I saw the tiny triangle tattoo on the inside of her wrist.
She pulled out another small piece of white paper, folded in half.
“I know this is unorthodox, but if any of those pictures turn out, this is my cell phone number.”
“Sure thing, officer,” I said.
“And, maybe on the flip side of your trip, I’ll see you at The Desert Rose,” she said. “Sometimes I’m around there on Saturday nights.”
“Where’s the Desert Rose?” I asked.
“Oh, if you’re supposed to be there, you’ll find it,” she said. “The best women always do.”
She pulled out around me and onto the highway, without so much as a wave, or a look back.
And, I pulled back onto Route 66 and headed toward Kingman.