The flashing red and blue light penetrated the tinted windows of London Comfort’s Bentley GT, bouncing off her rear view mirror, the inside of the windshield, and the cover of the odometer, which read seventy-five miles per hour. It was followed in less than a second by the low “mwah-mwah” of a siren that grew louder and louder and louder until the sound smothered the beat of Theodis Ealey's "Stand Up In It” that blared from the speakers.
“Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck!”
As she slowed down and steered the car to the narrow edge of the 405, London ran through her mental checklist. Drugs? Nothing in the car, she was sure of that, although she had done two lines at Jason’s party. Booze? She’d had only three drinks. She was a girl who could hold her liquor. So no worries about touching her nose with her eyes closed. Still, what a drag this was going to be. If she hadn’t been so determined to bust Jason’s balls, she would have stayed at the party, spent the night with him, and she wouldn’t be going through this crap. But she’d promised herself that until he gave up that video of her, Jason wasn’t getting any more nooky from London. She came to a stop, turned off the ignition, and let out a deep sigh. Maybe at least the cop would be hot. She’d seen a movie where the cop who stopped a girl ended up in the sack with her. She did have this uniform fantasy. But those CHiPS guys looked like they’d spent too much time at Krispy Kreme. Real life was disappointing like that. On the other hand, those UPS guys always turned her on. London still had fantasies about what brown could do for her.
Finally, the siren died, and London looked into the rear view mirror. He had just stepped out of the cruiser, and in the oncoming headlights he was looking good. Just maybe she’d get out of this if her smile said innocent and her eyes said sexy and she touched his hand longingly as she passed over her license.
“Good evening, ma’am. Can I see your license and registration?”
He was maybe thirty. Thick, hairy forearms. Thick, dark eyebrows. A square jaw and low forehead. Just the sort of Neanderthal man that turned her on. Just the sort of Neanderthal man that was impossible to find at the clubs and parties where she hung out. She fished in her Birkin for her wallet, extracted her license, and handed it to him, making sure to caress his palm ever so slightly as she did. He started, but not in a bad way.
“Let me find my registration.” she said.
She stretched over toward the glove compartment on her right, conscious that her butt, one of her best features according to the gossip columnists, was elevated off the seat. She found the leather portfolio with all of the car papers and handed it him with a polite smile.
“What was I doing wrong, officer?”
“Well, ma’am, you were talking on your cell phone a few miles back, and you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, and you were doing seventy five miles an hour in a sixty five zone. Now, you stay right here while I go back to my vehicle for a moment.”
He walked away, and she looked at her watch and sighed. Five a.m. and in eight hours she had to be at the Ivy for lunch with her agent and that woman from Warnaco. A London Comfort lingerie line! She didn’t even wear panties! She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and looked into the rear view mirror. He was still talking on his walkie-talkie or whatever. She needed to pee. She needed to sleep. She needed to get this over with and go home. And now what’s this? Another cruiser is pulling up? Don’t these people have real work to do?
Suddenly her cave man was back at her window, this time accompanied by a black woman, if you could call her a woman, in a uniform that looked a lot like his. Her breasts drooped down over her waist. She wore a huge phallic nightstick on her belt. Her hair was cropped tight. When she got really close, London couldn’t believe the size of her hands.
“Ma’am, would you step out of the car please?” she said. “We’re going to have to take you in.”
“Take me in? Officer, for what? What do you mean take me in? Can’t I just get my ticket and go home? Oh my God! What is happening?”
Cro Magnon man spoke up.
“Ma’am, we’re placing you under arrest for driving seventy-five in a sixty-five-mile-per-hour zone, for driving without wearing a seatbelt, for talking on a cell phone while driving, and for driving while your license is suspended. Ma’am, you have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed for you. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand your rights ma’am?”
London nodded, biting her lip to keep from crying. She stepped out of the car onto the broken pavement, snapping the heel off one of her Roger Viviers in the process. Then the woman cop asked her to turn around and put her hands behind her back. “You’re going to handcuff me? Why are you going to handcuff me? I can’t believe this!”
As the metal cuffs closed around her wrists and locked with a clink, London let go. Tears streamed down her face, washing her eyeliner with them, and a warm stream of urine trickled down the inside of her left leg. With a quick shove, the woman cop bobbed London’s head down as she pushed her into the back seat of the waiting cruiser. The door closed with a tinny slam that London noticed was nothing like the solid clunk of her Bentley. In just seconds, lights flashing, they were off. London twisted to get comfortable on the vinyl seat, made clammy by the wet spot on the back of her skirt.
“You okay honey?” asked the woman cop.
They handcuff her hands behind her back, and they want to know if she’s okay? London didn’t respond. It seemed like only a few minutes had passed when they pulled off the highway and twisted and turned down blocks dotted with small houses and anchored by corners where groups of black and brown men stared sullenly at the police car. Suddenly they stopped in front of a bland three- or four-story building whose sign identified it as the Century Regional Detention Facility. It looked to London like one of those cheap hotels her father had managed when he first came to the United States from Saudi Arabia — before he made his fortune, and before he changed his last name to Comfort in what London’s agent had called a brilliant piece of branding.
The drive was full of cars. Suddenly London realized why. Photographers! How did they know she was going to be there? How did they know what was going on?
It’s not like she wasn’t used to photographers. God knows, they followed her practically everywhere. They were one reason her father had nagged her to get her own driver and make sure she had a security guy with her at all times. But London liked to drive. London liked to be in control. London liked being photographed. She’d learned to keep her head high and smile demurely as she walked through a sea of flashes. Tobias, her makeup artist, had even created a special foundation for her that he claimed was ideal for a face constantly assaulted by bright light. London, however, had never thought about how she’d handle a situation like this. She’d seen people on TV and in magazines who were arrested and walked into courthouses and jails with jackets over their heads. That looked so pitiful, so lame. London’s impulse was to walk in with a regal pose, not smiling exactly, but not looking frightened or sad either. On the other hand, her makeup had to be a mess. She was missing a heel on one of her shoes. There was that wet spot on her skirt. What would that look like in US Weekly?
As if she had been reading London’s mind, the woman cop spoke up.
“Keep your head high honey,” she said. “Don’t let ‘em see you crying. Don’t let ‘em see you looking scared. Don’t act like you got something to be ashamed of.”
For a moment, London was ashamed. This woman was being nice to her, while London had been thinking she was so impossibly pathetic and ugly. She smiled at the woman, who smiled back. There was beauty hidden under that ugly blue uniform.
“Thanks,” she said, slipping off the other Roger Vivier so she could walk comfortably. “I will."