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The Arrest

(Part 1 from 2)

*** As told by Clark Kent

“Sir, you were driving 31 miles an hour in a 20 mile an hour zone,” came the gruff announcement from Officer Krupke.

“I wasn’t,” said I.

“You were,” said he.

“I mean I didn’t realize I was. I’m not denying it. Are you going to arrest me and take me to jail?” I could not help but smile at this beautiful man standing next to my car door.

“Only if you resist.”

“Well, I’ll have to think about that.” If I got myself arrested, I wonder if he would do a cavity search. Probably not. But there’s no law against asking. I’d love to see the expression on his face if I did ask. On second thought, maybe not.

“May I see your driver’s license and registration, please,” he was almost smiling.

“Ok, sock it to me, officer.” I handed him the documents he requested.

I noticed he was writing the ticket with his left hand. “You’re left-handed.”

“That is correct, sir.” I also noticed he was not wearing a wedding ring. “Are you married, officer?”

“That is none of your business, sir.” He was having a tough time not smiling.

“Sorry.” I looked away, thought about it, then looked back at Officer Krupke, “It’s just that I’m gay, and I’m looking for a husband.” He stopped smiling.

“I could arrest you for soliciting.” He still was not smiling.

“I wasn’t soliciting. I was just stating a fact. I’m lonely and you’re a very attractive man.” I looked him in the eye, “I’m sure no one has ever told you that before.” No response.

He finished writing the citation, tore it from the pad and handed it to me. “Thank you for your cooperation. Your options in dealing with this citation are written on the back. Have a good day.”

“Yeah, you’re welcome. So long.” I said it as sadly as I could. I wondered if he was any good at mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I could use a couple of those right now. I rolled up the window and drove away, watching him in the rearview mirror. He didn’t even glance in my direction. Well, so what if I made a fool of myself. I was glad I asked.

Max, my four-year-old pup, was curled up next to me while we watched some mind-numbing stupid rerun on the boob tube when the phone rang. Max’s ears perked up at the sound. It was 8:20. I wondered who would be calling me at this time of night.

“Hi, this is Clark.” There was no response. “Hello?”

“No, I’m not married,” came a soft reply.

“You’re what? Oh my God, it’s you.” I recognized the voice. “Officer . . . I don’t know your name.”

“Rodriguez. Kyle Rodriguez.”

“That’s odd, you didn’t look latin. I would have guessed Irish or Scottish.”

“Scottish. I’m adopted.”

“Oh.” Suddenly I was tongue-tied and did not know what to say next. Please say something, Kyle.

“I was wondering. . .” he began.

“Coffee?” I found a word.

“Yes, coffee,” he replied.

“You name it and I’ll be there.” I began to breathe again.

“There’s a small restaurant on Broadway at Fourth. Do you know it?”

“No, but I’ll find it. Does it have a name?”

“Michael’s Coffee Shop.”

“When?” I hated myself for being so eager.

“How about this evening?”

“I’ll be there in half an hour. And I promise I won’t speed.”

I heard a muffled laugh. “Half an hour. See you then.”

“Ok, thanks, bye.” I dashed into the bedroom to change and was out the door in less than 10 minutes. This was too good to be true. My only hope was that it wasn’t going to be too good to be true.

Michael’s Coffee Shop was one of those modern places built in the 50’s with glass windows everywhere, probably a Tasty Freeze way back when. It wasn’t crowded and I didn’t see Kyle.

I sauntered in and took a seat facing the entrance with a street view to my right. I’d see him approaching from any direction, “Hi Clark.” except the rear. His voice came from behind me. “I’m glad you could make it.” He slid into the seat across from me and smiled his beautiful smile.

“Where did you come from?” I asked as I looked behind me.

“The restroom.” He kept smiling.

“There’s an entrance to the men’s room?” I knew there wasn’t. I just wanted to play.

He laughed, “No, I got here early and needed to use the head.” He clasped his hands together and put them down on the table in front of him.

He had braces on his teeth. I hadn’t noticed them when he wrote the speeding ticket. I had the insane thought of how would you kiss someone with braces. What if you both wore braces and got stuck together. How embarrassing would that be.

Dressed in civilian clothes, I was pleased to see what he looked like without the uniform and that cap he was wearing earlier. He had beautiful crew-cut chestnut hair, a high forehead over almost bushy eyebrows, accenting hazel-green eyes which sparkled in the restaurant lighting. He was clean shaven, but there was late day stubble beginning to show which was very becoming, and a prominent dimpled chin beneath sensitive lips. “We’re you surprised when I called?” now he was really smiling.

“I was floored. I didn’t think you even noticed my ranting about looking for a husband. How did you find my number?”

“I have ways,” he paused and kept smiling, “You’re in the phone book. Is Clark Kent your real name?”

“Yes, I’m afraid it is. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t.”

The waitress arrived and filled two cups with coffee. We smiled at her, she returned our smile and stood there for a few seconds – all of us smiling at one another. She reluctantly turned and walked away, but I knew she was watching us.

“I suppose I should apologize for being so forward this afternoon.”

“No need. If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”

“No, I guess you wouldn’t.” Here I was, sitting in front of this handsome man, with braces on his teeth, and I still had trouble making conversation. So I said something incredibly stupid. “I never do anything on my first date.” I held my breath, hoping he would not get up and walk out.

He looked deadpan at me for a few seconds and then began laughing. “Neither do I,” came his cheerful reply.

He wasn’t a bodybuilder, but I could tell from the way his shirt strained at the button holes of his shirt he exercised regularly. I didn’t and decided this was not going to work. I was just an average Joe. Clark Kent had no intentions of getting undressed in front of this well-developed man, at least not with the lights on.

“We’re you serious about looking for a husband?” His intense facial expression told me he wasn’t kidding.

“I. . . I. . .” stuttered out of my mouth.

“Were you kidding?” his cheerful expression faded.

“No, I wasn’t kidding, I’m just so surprised to be sitting here with you. I’m at a loss for words.” I was pretty sure I was blushing. My face was burning.

“Good, because I’m looking also.” He relaxed and smiled.

“Gosh, I feel like I should be handing you my resume or something. I’m not sure what we should do next. Quite frankly, I’ve never done this before.”

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“Well, you certainly aren’t shy.” He was examining me very closely.

“Is that good or bad?”

“That’s good.” Suddenly his expression changed. “Look at me, and keep looking. Don’t make any movements. The cashier is being robbed.”

I could see something was going on in my peripheral vision.

Kyle slowly pulled his phone from his pocket and pressed a button. He turned and looked out the window while watching the two men at the register in the reflection. He said something into the phone. The only word I understood was backup. He continued watching the reflection in the window. I don’t think I could have moved even if I wanted to.

He turned slowly in my direction. “They have guns. I’m going to let them leave. When I get up, you get under the table and stay there.”

My voice was gone. I nodded obediently. I didn’t want these two guys to see me looking at them as they left, so I stared into my coffee cup. I heard the door open. Kyle slipped to the floor and moved toward the entrance like a panther. It was amazing to watch him. One minute he was just this guy sitting in front of me, smiling, and the next minute he was this police officer doing his job. I slipped under the table as instructed.

Within seconds, I heard tires screeching. Kyle exited the restaurant. Someone shouted POLICE. I froze when I heard the gunfire. I don’t know how many shots were fired, it happened so fast. Then there was silence. I peeked out from under the table and saw someone slumped against the front door. Oh my God, it was Kyle.

Without thinking, I dashed to the front door and pulled it open. Kyle fell backward into the coffee shop. I could see he was shot in the chest, probably through the lung. I looked up at the terrified waitress standing by the register. “TIN FOIL, I NEED TIN FOIL NOW.” She turned and ran into the kitchen as I knelt next to Kyle.

“Kyle, can you hear me?” His eyes flickered open. I’m not sure he recognized me. He looked like he was going into shock. I raised my voice, “Kyle, can you hear me?” His head nodded slightly. “You’ve been shot in the chest. Now listen to me.”

He whispered, “I don’t think I’ll make it.” He closed his eyes.

I yelled even louder, “You better make it god dammit, or I’ll kick the living crap out of you.” I think he recognized me – he smiled and nodded his head.

The waitress ran up to me with a roll of tin foil. “Tear off a piece and fold it into a twelve-inch square.”

My hands were covered with Kyle’s blood as I pressed the foil on his chest. “Kyle, when I tell you, breathe in and hold it. Breathe out when I tell you. Do you understand?” He nodded.

I placed the foil patch over the wound. “OK breathe in and hold it.” I took the patch off, “OK, breathe out.”

I repeated the procedure, again and again, watching the color of his skin, his pulse was wavering. It took forever before the paramedics arrived. Finally, I heard them running toward me. I literally collapsed on the ground when they took over. They had all the equipment I was lacking. Now Kyle had a chance.

Two police officers helped me up. “Are you sure you’re not injured?” one of them asked.

“No, this is Kyle’s blood. I need to get to the restroom.”

The officers followed me, “Are you going to be okay?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. Thanks for your help. Did you get those guys?”

“Oh yeah, we got ‘em alright. Are you a friend of Officer Rodriguez?”

“Not really. We just met this evening. Do you know where they took him?”

“Saint Francis Memorial.”

“That’s on Hyde isn’t it?”

“Yes, did you want us to take you there?”

“No, there’s nothing else I can do. Hopefully, he’s headed for surgery. That wound was pretty bad. I hope he makes it.

“Where did you learn that tin foil thing you were doing?”

“I was a combat medic – Afghanistan. We didn’t have tin foil but a similar material.”

“Jesus, does Kyle know that?”

“No, he doesn’t really know anything about me.” I wondered if he ever would. “Are you guys going to the hospital?”

“Yes, right now.”

“Do you think you could call me and let me know how he is? I’d appreciate it.”

“You bet.” One of the officers wrote my phone number on his pad. “You take care. We’ll talk to you later.”

“Thanks.” The two officers left me standing alone in the men’s room.

That was a hell of a first date. I wondered if I would ever see Officer Rodriguez again.

The waitress who assisted me began to cry when I went to pay for the coffee. “I was so scared,” she whispered through her tears.

“I was too,” I assured her with a smile. “Now all we can do is pray that the officer will survive.” I thanked her for her assistance, paid for the coffee, and drove home. Max met me at the door. He knew something had happened and would not leave my side. The smell of Kyle’s blood got his attention. He kept looking at me, probably wondering if it was mine.

It was shortly after noon, five days later, when the phone rang. “Hi, this is Clark.”

“This is Officer Foster. I met you . . .”

“Yes, I remember. How is Kyle doing?”

“He survived surgery. They just released him from intensive care.”

“Well, that’s a good sign.”

“When he came to, he asked for Clark Kent. I thought he was kidding at first until I realized it was you he was asking for. I think he’d like to see you, and thank you. Can you drop by the hospital?”

“Yes, I can. I’ll be right over. Thanks.”

I checked in at the reception desk and was not surprised I had to show my ID. There were police officers everywhere who looked at me suspiciously as I made my way to Kyle’s room. I just smiled and kept going.

I stood in the doorway of his room not knowing if I should enter or not. There were two women and a man sitting around his bed. The older women noticed me, got up and ran over to me. “Are you Clark Kent?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Oh, my dear boy,” She held my face with her hands and kissed both of my cheeks, “You saved my boy’s life. How can we ever thank you?”

I wasn’t quite sure what to say. The younger woman and the man joined us. “This is my husband, Jose, and my daughter, Brenda.”

Kyle’s dad shook my hand so hard I thought my arm would come off. His sister flung her arms around me and kissed my cheek.

“How is Kyle?” I could hardly see him from where I was standing.

“He’s been asking for you. Why don’t you sit next to him. We’re going to the cafeteria. We’ll be back shortly.” They smiled and filed out of the room.

I moved slowly to the bedside, not knowing what to expect. Kyle heard me sit down and turned his head, “Hi.” He smiled drowsily.

“Hi, yourself.” I was so glad to see him. His cheeks were rosy so I knew he would survive.

“Some first date, eh?” He reached out.

I took his hand and held it. “Yeah, I thought the same thing. When I saw you sprawled out on the floor of the restaurant, with a hole in your chest, I wondered if there would be a second date.”

“You saved my life.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did. I felt myself slipping away. If you hadn’t yelled at me and threatened to kick the crap out of me, I would have gone.”

I grimaced, “You would remember that.”

“I’ll never forget it. If it hadn’t been for you, I would have been gone by the time the paramedics got there. I owe you big time.”

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