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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)

TITLE: Sixty-five Plus One Equals Trouble
By James Brown


The old Vega puttered along the interstate, doing a respectable sixty-five miles an hour. Hoping to cut a few minutes off travel time, I bumped it up to sixty-six. After all, cars were blowing by me doing seventy or seventy-five. Yes, sixty-six is safe.

Comfortable with my decision, I continued my quest for home. Many miles later, a glimpse in the rearview mirror revealed a speck in the distance. In no time, it manifested itself as a red Ford Mustang convertible, which blew by me doing at least ninety.

“Where are the cops when you need them,” I muttered to my wife.

To my amazement, a state trooper pulled out of hiding and accelerated in our direction.

“You’ve had it now buddy, he’s gotcha.”

I waited for the cruiser to race past – instead lights flashed in my mirror. He tagged me!

Heart racing and palms sweating, I entered panic mode – until I realized the truth. He’s pulling me over to bestow a commendation on me for obeying the speed limit. Relieved, I eagerly awaited his appearance, drumming a tune with my fingertips on the steering wheel.

“License and registration.”

What’s up with that? You don’t start a cordial conversation with a terse statement like that. Heart racing again, I said, “Hello officer, what’s the problem?”

“You were speeding – license and registration.”

“Speeding? What are you talking about? That Mustang flew by me doing at least ninety and you’re giving me a ticket?”

“Yes sir, I clocked you doing sixty-six in a sixty-five zone. Now, for the last time – license and registration.”

I relinquished the required documents, all the while grumbling worse than the Israelites in the wilderness. He sauntered back to his car and meticulously wrote the ticket. Several lifetimes later he materialized beside my car and handed it over.

“You can mail the fine to the address on the back …or you can go to court and fight it if you like.”

“You better believe I’m going to court…getting a ticket for one mile over the speed limit …I can’t believe it.”

“You admit you were doing sixty-six?”

“Yeah, but everyone else is going at least seventy and the guy in the Mustang-“

“Save it for the Judge.”

“You bet I will. You just wait until I’m done with you.”

He started to walk away, but turned back with a smile on his face. “By the way sir, have a nice day.”

With that he left me with ticket, seething with anger.

* * * * *

My wife urged me to forget it and pay the fine, but I determined to follow through for the principle of the thing. I stood confident before the judge – until that arrogant officer dealt my confidence a blow with his testimony. I forgot I admitted doing sixty-six.

Finally, my turn came. “Your honor, I should never have gotten this ticket. It was the end of a busy holiday weekend and everyone was speeding-“

“Including you?”

“Well, yes sir – but I was only doing sixty-six-“

“In a sixty-five zone?”

“Yes, but-“

The judge held up his hand. “I know exactly what you’re going to say… I’ve heard it all before. The mean old officer was picking on you. He should have stopped a hundred other cars travelling faster than you. You should have received a commendation instead of a ticket … am I close?”

“Yes, but-“
“No buts about it.” He leaned forward. “Son, listen carefully. The law concerns itself with one thing – guilt or innocence. You admit that you were speeding, so under the law you’re guilty. Now you may offer all the excuses you want, but you’re still guilty. The driver of the Mustang would freely admit his guilt while doing his best to reduce or eliminate the punishment. You, on the other hand want me to bestow my blessing on your disobedience. You think it’s alright to bend the law a little bit when others are snapping it in two.”

“Not really sir.”

“You condemn the driver of the Mustang - yet according to the law, I find you as guilty as he is. The difference lies in the punishment. He’d face a fine ten times yours, plus jail time. You on the other hand get a small fine… plus court costs. You should have followed the officer’s advice and mailed your fine in.”

He rapped his gavel. “Court’s adjourned.”

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This article has been read 506 times
Member Comments
Member Date
marcella franseen07/28/11
A great story with an important background message: it doesn't matter how close we get to the mark, a miss is a miss. Whether you are a serial killer or someone who enjoys gossip-all sin separates us from God. When we face the ultimate Judge, there will be no excuses. Very well written!
Ennis Smith 07/28/11
Great story with a great message. A sin is a sin, is a sin.
C D Swanson 07/29/11
Nice job with a powerful message. Irrespective of what the "sin" is - you still shall be "judged" I enjoyed it. God Bless~
Virgil Youngblood 07/29/11
A fitting title, a story that is on topic and a good message. Well done.
Jeanette Oestermyer07/31/11
Good story - it doesn't matter how small the sin, it's still a sin.
diana kay08/04/11
well done!! first place so move on up :-)
Lillian Rhoades 08/04/11
Not sure if you could go to the head of the class with that equation, but it got you a win.:-) Congratulations!!
Japhet Mphande08/05/11
James, I like your story or experience. It has a nice lesson for all of us. Others pay for offences while others seem not to be seen. Unfair! No justice, no man can give 100% of that only God.

Carol Penhorwood 08/05/11
I truly hope you get wide coverage for this one. Everyone of us needs to be reminded of this truth. We all miss the mark.

Congratulations on this well deserved win!