300 Seconds This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   It was one of those unbearably hot days in June when the humidity hangs in the airlike a thick fog. Even the incessant buzzing of the bees became languid. I was onmy way to baby-sit and the air-conditioning (about the only thing that works inmy car) was on full blast, along with Eminem on the stereo.

As I drove, myattention turned to the rearview mirror and I watched a police car pull outbehind me. I slowed to a safe 27 miles per hour and obeyed all the traffic rules.It was only nine days after I got my license, and I didn't want to take anychances.

I watched, my heart pounding, as he followed me for severalstreets. Then, it happened. Lights started flashing and sirens wentoff.

"Ma'am, pull into the 7-Eleven parking lot," I heard fromthe cop car.

My heart was racing and my hands were shaking as I waited forthe officer to approach the car. I retraced every move I had made, trying tothink of something that would make him pull me over. Did I stop at the stop sign?Yes! Did I go over the speed limit? No! Am I wearing my seatbelt? Yes! So, whatdid I do wrong?

"License and registration, please."

Ifumbled around in my glove compartment until I found the papers. He carefullyexamined every detail of my license. He probably noticed that I had just gottenit, since he questioned me as if I were on trial.

"You wearglasses?" he asked.

"Yes, but I have contacts in now," Ireplied.

He then leaned in to inspect my eyes in search of the smallplastic discs. Did he think I was lying?

"You have a restrictedlicense," he stated, "What are your restrictions?"

At thispoint I wasn't sure if he was asking to see if I knew or because he didn't. Iexplained the provisions.

"Are you aware that your tail light isout?" he asked.

I breathed a sigh of relief."No."

"Well, I'm not going to give you a ticket, but thisis a warning. You need to get that fixed."

Those five minutes werethe longest I have ever experienced. I was late for baby-sitting, and then Ilocked my keys in my car, but that's another story. At least I lived through myfirst experience with the cops, and I got away unscathed (although a littletraumatized).




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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