Meet Alison

Pulling out of the parking garage of the high-rise corporate office complex where I had spent sixty-plus hours a week for the past year was exhilarating. A small suitcase with three swimsuits and a couple of sundresses had been packed and waiting in the trunk of my car for two days. The slow mad pace of Friday evening rush hour soon opened into the two-hour coastal drive that would take me there—to what the brochure promised to be a private island bungalow with sandy secluded beaches and calming waters to clear the noise from my head. I added that last part.

This was going to be the best seven days of my life. I dropped my cell phone in my desk drawer along with my laptop and locked the real world away for the next week.

A few miles up the coast, the road cleared. It seemed everyone had gotten to where they were going all at once. Except me. I checked the GPS, and my 9:47 pm estimated arrival time wasn’t acceptable.

I dug my three-inch heel into the plush carpet of my brand new convertible sports car and pressed the gas pedal slowly downward as the road unfolded into a winding ribbon behind me. The air felt cool, and salt from the sea penetrated my senses. My hair flew back and whipped at the headrest. I wanted to throw my hands up and squeal like I did on roller coasters. Just as I raised my arms, though, a screeching sound brought my awareness to the flashing lights reflected in the mirror. I placed my hands quickly back on the wheel and slowed the car.

Edging off the narrow shoulder of the long dark stretch, I watched in my mirror as the tall figure stepped out of the driver’s side and flashed a powerful light into my car. My top was down, so it was obvious I was alone. The light penetrated every shadow before the officer came into view. The headlights from the police car made it difficult to see any features, but the officer was well-built and steady in stance. I sat patiently while my license plate number was checked.

“Place your hands on the wheel at ten and two, please.” The voice was distinctively female—firm and solid, but female. She stood just behind my field of vision. I wanted to turn so badly. I also wanted to be good, though, because I knew this was a ticket for sure. I might have stood a chance with a male officer, but… oh well. The thrill of the ride was worth it.

“Are you Alison Martin, ma’am?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“May I see your license and registration?” She stepped up to the door and faced me through the window.

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