Sorry officer, I can’t stop, I’ve got a deadline to meet.
The full beam of the headlines cut through the deep darkness, lighting up the road
that lay ahead. Christ, how many God damn twists and turns can there be on one
stretch of road. As I came out from around the last bend and much to my delight
a large stretch of tarmac lay before me, as far as the eye could see. Thank Christ,
finally a long straight strip of blacktop for me to open up on. It was then and only
then, that I realised there were no flashing blue lights behind me.
I’d lost them. Under normal circumstances, now, would be a good time to ease off
on the pedal, relax a little. But unfortunately for me, not tonight, you see, this was no
ordinary night and it was certainly no ordinary car journey. I had a deadline to meet.
This journey was going to be anything but straight forward, there was going to be
nothing pretty about this trip. As a matter of fact it was going to be dog eat dog and
situations like that never end well in my experience. The reason the boys in blue had
been hot on my tail? Good question. A minor detail, a little misunderstanding, funny
how the smallest of things always seem to get blown completely out of proportion.
In my defence, I did briefly slow down at the checkpoint, but only to say:
“Sorry Officer, I can’t stop, I’ve got a deadline to meet”, before putting the foot to
the floor and taking off like a bat out of hell. The two somewhat stunned officers
wasted no time in jumping into their patrol car and were in hot pursuit in the
blink of an eye. Under normal circumstances, I am a fully fledged law abiding citizen
but tonight was different. I had a deadline to meet and I couldn’t let anything or
anyone stand in my way, regardless of what side of the law they were on.
In fairness, they had given a good chase. At one stage as I drove at neck break speed
along a narrow country road laden with outrageous twists and turns praying
to God that I wouldn’t meet any oncoming traffic. A bright light suddenly appeared
shining right down on top of me through the trees. Christ, they’ve got the police
helicopter involved. Jesus, this is getting serious, I thought, as I tried to remain as
calm as possible under the circumstances, which was no easy feat, I might add. The
first thing that entered my mind as the bright light shone down on me, was that great
cult movie from the eighties, The Blues Brothers. Those two good old boys were on
a mission just like me, plus they also had a deadline to meet. Although mine was a
completely different kind of mission. I had a lot at stake; my reputation was on the
line. I wasn’t risking everything for no bunch of penguins, like those two good old
boys did. No sir, not me.
It was only after I came off the winding back road and out from under the trees, I
realised that the bright light shining down on me was no police helicopter, it was
the moon. A sigh of relief was had and as I opened up onto the long stretch of
straight road, I was flat to the mat, back in the game. That’s also around the time
when I noticed there were no blue flashing lights behind me anymore. All that did
was take a little pressure off. It’s bad enough having a deadline without having
flashing blue lights in pursuit. No matter what way I looked at it, the clock was
ticking. Fourteen minutes and thirty seven seconds remaining until I reached the
The clock showed 125Kmh, there was still a quarter tank of juice. The goal was
achievable, but I was under no illusion. It would be tight, down to the wire, but
hey, I’m an optimist. A glass half full type of guy. Anything is possible right?
I decided not to answer the question I had just asked myself, or any other God
damn questions that might enter my head. Questions at this point weren't helpful.
Nothing more than a distraction, not good for the concentration and when your
driving like a lunatic, concentration is of vital importance.
Seven minutes and thirteen seconds remaining. Christ, why thirteen? Unlucky
for some, no time for superstition. Drive, just drive.
I pulled out onto the main road at a ridiculous speed. Praying there would be no
more police cars lying around just waiting to pounce. But you’d never know, they're
a sneaky breed. Approaching the slip road, I dropped down through the gears, eased
off on the pedal. I was beginning to scare myself, this was totally insane. I swung out
onto a secondary road and upped the speed again, this time, out of necessity not
Four minutes and twenty one seconds remaining.
Jesus Christ, I thought, as I went from one lane to the next and back again. God damn
taxi drivers blocking up the whole road.
Three minutes and seven seconds remaining.
Then I saw it. The sign. Standing tall in all its glory. The bright red sign with the big
yellow M lit up, like a lighthouse guiding ships safely back to shore. Although I was
no ship, I was in need of rescue, reassurance. I overtook two more God damn taxis
with the help of the horn, before finally skidding into a parking space, perfectly, I
might add. I’m sure my driving skills looked somewhat impressive to any onlookers
who may have witnessed the spectacle. I however, was still under the clock, no time to
savour the moment. I ran up to the entrance, pulled the door open. The place was
empty. All I could see was a young guy with very bad acne standing behind the
counter looking bored or depressed, maybe even both. I just didn’t have the time to
look into it any deeper, poor fella.
“A Big Mac Meal,” I said, as I desperately tried to regain my breath. The youngster
looked at me and then dropped his eyes down towards the watch on his wrist.
“What, we’ve still got time,” I said.
“Have you ever seen the movie, Falling Down?” I asked. Fully aware that I had no
time for idle chitchat. He just nodded his head; I took it as a no. A quick glance at his
watch again before he began to key in my order. A sigh of relief was had. The more I
thought about it, I realised, Falling Down was probably the last movie this poor kid
needed to watch. He looked depressed enough. I’d say he was only about eighteen,
has his whole life ahead of him, a movie like that could mess him forever.
I paid him, still trying to regain my breath, wild trips like this are not good for the
health, should come with a government warning. He handed me the food, far too
quickly for my liking, guaranteed it’s being sitting on the shelf for the last couple
of hours. I thanked him. It went against me and everything that I stood for, but I
did. Good upbringing I guess.
I turned and made my way towards the door. The youngster was right behind me,
as soon as I was outside I heard the key turn. Christ, he meant business after all,
I thought. I heard the rattle of the shutter coming down as I made my way back
to the car. I sat into the seat. Finally I could relax, job done, mission accomplished,
deadline met. I opened the brown paper bag, already knowing that what I was
about to eat would be by no means fresh. Fresh was a luxury, unheard of at this
ungodly hour of the night. Well as they say. Beggars can’t be choosers. Well I
wasn’t begging and I’m no chooser not by any stretch of the imagination. It was
then and only then that I realised, the BASTARD never gave me any salt.