Thursday, May 08, 2008

No Stinking License

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The Department of Motor Vehicles. 0800 hrs.
The place was packed, but I was first in line. I had been second in line until the old bat in front of me decided to go home and nurse her severed hamstring, and as they opened the doors I congratulated myself on never forgetting to travel without a knife.
I shouldn't have to be here anyway, I thought, looking around at the motley crowd assembled to renew--or gain their first--driving priviliges. I've been driving my entire adult life--often with a license to do so--but that didn't matter. The liberal judge I faced last year decided to "interpret" the Constitution as liberal judges do, and I ended up with a year's driving suspension due to some technicality about operating a vehicle while drunk and bleeding. Now I had to take the driving test all over again to get my license back, like some common sixteen-year-old. Speaking of which...
"Hey there honey," I said to the teenage girl behind me in line. "You familiar with the mercenary position?"
"Predator!" she yelled, pointing. Luckily my name was called just as the crowd moved in on me.
"Randall Nathaniel McFab?" I walked up to the counter and faced the DMV worker. He was young, maybe 30, and suspiciously tan. That usually meant gay, foreign, or...both.
"I'm McFab," I said. "Just give me my license, and a helicopter rating while you're at it. I learned to fly 'em watching Rambo."
"Oh, it's not that easy, Mr. McFab," he said, chuckling.
"I wasn't joking, Pedro. If you watch Rambo one frame at a time you can actually learn to fly a Cobra. Maybe you should try it."
"My name isn't Pedro," he said, a bit huffy in my opinion. "I am officer Saddam Al-Qaeda Bin Laden of the East Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles." He pointed to his badge, which just read, Holy Fuck! That's really your name?
"Holy fuck," I said, "that's really your name?"
"Yes, yes, I know..." he said. "When my parents named me, your government was giving weapons and money to all of those people. Seemed reasonable and patriotic at the time. You may call me Jihadi of Allah if it makes you more comfortable, or...Brad. I also go by Brad."
"Brad sounds kinda gay, Jihadi. Let's get on with this. I need my license back."
"Of course, just a few preliminary..." He inspected my birth certificate, apparently surprised it was printed on blood-stained camo. "You are Randall Nathaniel McFab, son of Nathaniel Randall McFab and 'Mama' McFab, correct?"
He typed into a computer. "And your date of birth?"
"I'm 27."
He looked at me and chuckled. "Oh, sir, we have it all here, and your bald head..."
I told him my date of birth, and he shook his head sympathetically.
"Very very good, sir," he said. "One more formality before the driving test. You just need to look into here," he said, pointing out a device on the counter, "and read aloud the letters you see."
"What, are you saying I'm illiterate?" I demanded.
"No sir, it is for vision, you know...a man your age..."
I put my nose up against the device and peered into the eye-holes, hoping it might at least have pictures of naked chicks or something. Instead, it was filled with bizarre, blurred characters...almost as if...
"You bastard!" I stepped back from the counter and levelled my gaze at Jihadi. "You're testing Americans with Arabic letters? It's come to that now, has it?"
"No sir, I--"
"People!" I said, turning towards the long line behind me. "America has been co-opted by the Islamo-facists. It's not enough that we have to suck up to the A-rabs for gas, now we have to read their pagan language just to get a driver's license!"
The crowd indicated they were with me by their silence, though I did hear a "shut the fuck up" and a "you're holding up the line!" from the liberals in attendance.
"Sir," Jihadi said, "perhaps if you tried again with your glasses...The glasses specified as necessary on your last driver's license."
So that's how it was. He wanted to see a handicapped American. Fine, let him get his kicks. I pulled my glasses out of my ankle sheath and peered into the device again with the specs on.
"Hmm..." I said, "It's in English now. Must have switched it on me...Okay, 'I..A...M...'"
"Keep going," Jihadi said.
"'A,'" I said, still reading, "'P...R...I...C...K.'"
"Yes!" Jihadi said. "You have passed the vision test and I daresay demonstrated a healthy self-awareness. All that is left, " he said, lowering his voice, "is the driving portion."
"You're not the driving tester, are you?" I asked, hoping against hope.
"No sir," Jihadi said, "the driving tester is an American just like you. Meet her outside in the parking lot." He handed me a slip of paper and I headed outside.

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The Department of Motor Vehicles. 1100 hrs.
I waited outside for two hours with no tester and no vehicle in sight. I was about to go back in and demand an explanation when an early-nineties Mercury Cougar with 20-inch rims drove up to the curb, a bass beat from its stereo shaking both me and the windows of the DMV office. I would have assumed the car was being turned in as not roadworthy were it not for the "DMV Test Vehicle" signs magneted to the doors.
The tinted driver's side door opened and a large black woman stepped out, her fishnet-clad ankle the size of my thigh. Though the cheetah-print skirt and black half-top slimmed her some, she easily went a good two-and-a-half bills.
"'Sup, Playah?" She asked, or said...I wasn't sure which.
"I...I'm supposed to take a test?" I held out the form I'd been given.
"I'm Tykeesha," she said. "I be testin' you." She took the form and stuffed it into her ample cleavage, where it disappeared. "Ah-ite. Let's roll." She waddled to the passenger side and I got in the driver's seat.
"How do you adjust this?" I asked, fishing for the lever to bring the seat forward. It was so far back and down, I was practically in the back seat and could just see over the dashboard.
"How do you..." I turned the music down, too late for one of my fillings which I swallowed politely. "The seat, I--"
"You don't wanna look like a bitch, do you?" she asked. "Drivin' all up on the windshield like a gram-mamma?"
"No, I guess not."
She made a note on her clipboard and I glanced over. Doesn't wanna look like a bitch, she had written. "Ah-ite," she said, "start it up and pull up in the skreet."
I started the car and turned left onto the skreet.
"Now," she said, "what's the first thing you look for?"
"Prostitutes," I answered honestly.
"That's a good answer," she said, marking the clipboard, "but I mean before you start lookin' for ho's. You look for the five-o."
"Ah, the police," I said, making sure to maintain a safe speed. "Yes, I wouldn't want to get a ticket."
"Nah, nah," she said, "you don't wanna get caught rollin' dirty."
"Rolling dirty? You mean with the illegal firearms and explosives I often carry in my mom's vehicle?"
"Yeah, playah, dat shit." She scribbled on the clipboard some more.
"No worries," I said, "the police don't even know I've been driving around drunk without a license virtually every day since my D.U.I."
"Word, mofo," she said solemnly. "Word."
"Word to your mother," I grinned. This was going to be easy. "Word to your mother."
We carried on down the road a bit and she pointed ahead. "Construction zone," she said, "what do you do here?"
"Get my crunk on," I said, pulling a Zima out of my trousers and opening it with my teeth. I drained the bottle in two or three swallows.
"'Das what I'm talkin' 'bout, playah," she said.
We drove on, approaching a school zone. "Ah shit," I said, speaking her language. "Fifteen miles an hour up in here. I gotta be high to drive that slow!" I took a tube of toothpaste out of my trousers, squirted some into a pyrex pipe, and set my lighter to it.
"Goddamn!" Tykeesha exclaimed. "You smokin' toothpaste?"
"Hell...yeah..."I said, as the Crest hit me, hard. The road up ahead turned sharply, and merged into a yellow-brick rainbow in the clouds so pretty color fast now...

Fort Braggart, East Carolina. The Department of Motor Vehicles. 1700 hrs.
I woke up handcuffed on a cold concrete floor, Tykeesha standing over me.
"Damn, bitch..." I murmured..."'dat was some shiznit..."
"Can it, asshole," Tykeesha said. "You didn't really think they hire uneducated people with ghetto mentalities to work for the D.M.V., did you?"
I noticed she was wearing a tasteful pants suit now. "Well, I..."
"I fail more drivers than anyone in the department," she said, "though I rarely get to charge them with D.U.I. involving toothpaste."
I looked up helplessly, wondering whose puke I was laying in. "So I don't get to drive?"
"You'll be lucky if you don't go to jail," she said, her huge thighs blocking out the overhead lights.
"I, uh..." I slicked my hair back with some spare puke. "I don't suppose, after I'm arraigned and all..."
"You and me?" she asked, scowling. She picked me up then, effortlessly, and cradled me to her bosum. "Let's roll, playah," she whispered.