By Ralph Hood
While I was off for my freshman year at Clemson, Daddy for some reason bought one of the ugliest cars ever built. It was about a 1958 Pontiac, and it was exactly the color of a bottle of Pepto Bismol. What wasn’t pink was chrome. It had more chrome hanging off it than a three-hole Buick. (You old timers will know about three-hole Buicks. You youngsters will just have to wonder.) Even for the excesses of the times, this was one more ugly car. I called it the Pink Bomb.
Ugly it was, but it had more brute power than anything we had ever owned, and it would go. I was supposedly a mature college man by this time, but I still couldn’t resist the thrill of floor-boarding that car upon occasion.
I was returning from St. Simons late one night. (As I remember it, after a date with a beautiful young woman who was hopelessly in love with me. Old memory is wonderful, that way.) As I approached the toll bridge, I decided to floorboard the Pink Bomb. As I crossed the middle of the bridge, I saw the speedometer hit about 85. I also saw the police car going the opposite direction, toward St. Simons.
With all the brilliance and logic of a typical redneck college freshman, my mind raced. I knew the policeman couldn’t turn around on the bridge. He’d have to go all the way across first. I could, I decided, get off the causeway and into the back streets of Brunswick before he could catch me.
It was a pretty good plan. I really romped on the pedal then, and the Pink Bomb surged forward with gusto. We came off that bridge doing at least a 100, loping, roaring and still accelerating. No way were they going to catch me.
It would have worked, too, if it hadn’t been for the second police car hiding behind the bushes on the Brunswick end of that bridge. I hadn’t counted on that. He didn’t turn on his lights until he was right behind me. I don’t know what scared me worse, the red blinking lights or the siren. I was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that policeman had driven off that bridge, turned around, raced back over the bridge and caught me. The Pink Bomb recoiled in shame.
The police officers took the whole thing very seriously. They were talking to me of resisting arrest, fleeing from justice and malice aforethought with evil intent when that first police car — the one I had seen on the bridge — finally arrived on the scene. At least I knew then that my planning hadn’t been wrong; it was just based on the wrong information. I actually saw the Pink Bomb rise a little on the front end and square its fenders as if to say, “Well, no wonder. It took two of them to catch me.”
When that police car skidded to a stop, two more police officers boiled out, ranting wildly about how I had almost run over them in the middle of the bridge. There were then five people present, and four of them wanted me put under the jail.
Eventually, as the details were fleshed out regarding who was where when everything hit the fan, the officers began to see the humor in it. My hangdog, head down, sheepish demeanor probably had a lot to do with it. Finally, they decided that perhaps my punishment could stop a little short of death by hanging. Still, the resultant fine was bad enough.
At least Mother and Daddy never found out. (I don’t think.)
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