The in-betweens are like waiting for something to happen, like flashes of red and blue sirens pulsing through my car, while searching for the police officer about to step to my window. And I watched from the rearview mirror, and would say and act exactly how my mother told me—to call him or her sir or ma’am, to be polite, to keep my hands on the steering wheel, to have my paperwork ready. And that my stomach was buoyant, and that my eyes blurred from tracking the sirens, and that I felt the spotlight sizzle on the back of my neck—but I kept the speed limit, and my seatbelt was fastened, and I used my right blinker when pulling over to the side of the road, and that my vehicle was in good-standing; and even though I had three friends in the car, none of us had been drinking—none of us smoked or did much of anything that night besides driving back to campus from dinner. And when the police officer knocked on my window, I lowered it, and he instructed for me to step outside the vehicle—to exit slow, to keep my hands where he could see them. And another police officer, around the rear, with his flashlight, inspected the rest of my car—targeted it on my friends in the backseat—asked them their names; one said Mike, and the police officer said Miguel, and Mike said—no, Mike. And while I was outside the car, I handed the other police officer my license, and he examined it with his flashlight, checked my face to match, and then told me to sit back, and I did, resting on my hood. He studied my license longer, and though I wanted to ask him what I did wrong—that I wasn’t swerving, that I didn’t run a stop-sign, that I didn’t commit any traffic violations—I said nothing, and stood stone-still knowing it really didn’t matter—knowing exactly why he pulled me over—and that when he said there was a string of burglaries in the neighborhood and we looked suspicious, I wasn’t a bit surprised.
Davon Loeb is the author of the lyrical memoir The In-Betweens (Everytime Press, 2018). He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers-Camden, and he is a poetry editor at Bending Genres and Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. Davon writes creative nonfiction and poetry. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and one Best of the Net, and is featured in PANK Magazine (forthcoming), Barren Magazine (forthcoming), Apiary Magazine, Split Lip Magazine, Harpoon Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Portland Review, and elsewhere. Besides writing, Davon is a high school English teacher, husband, and father in New Jersey. His work can be found here: http://www.davonloeb.com and on Twitter @LoebDavon.
Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower