Ben lit a cigarette.  Behind them the patrol car sat with lights had been almost five minutes by Ben’s reckoning. What the fuck was taking so long?  Just gimme the goddamn ticket, for Christ sake.


Though it was damned lucky the gun had dropped out of Jen's backpack when he dumped it looking for cigarettes she often hide from her Maw.  But what the hell was the old broad thinking, giving her a gun?  What the hell? Protection? Christ, she think I'm gonna mess with a sixteen year old? 


Ben glared at Jenny, "Damn well keep the gun outa sight, you hear?". Just then a semi roared past kicking up spirals of dust, the first since they'd been pulled over. Not much traffic this time of year. Already too cold for tourists. The mesa sun was fading to bronze.


“Ben, can't you do something? I really have to go to the bathroom". Jenny was huddled against the window.  


“Jesus, Jen,  all's we need now is your whining”.  She slid down in her seat. On the other hand, girl pissing beside the car, maybe it might get the bastard moving. “OK, get out. Then open the back door and squat down in front so's he can't see much".


“Not here, please, I can't. Not with you there and everything”. She cringed against the door as his scowl flared into anger. But Ben managed to check his hand as he glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the trooper had finally stepped out of the cruiser. 


“Hey, what'ya know, could be worse! Got us a Blood, maybe right off the reserve. Might even know your maw.”  Ben palmed a bill with his wallet, "No way he’ll turn down a twenty...they’re all on the take. Now sit your little ass up and smile pretty and watch me grease him off".


Ben lowered the window. The trooper stopped several feet behind the vehicle. “Sir, would you please turn off the ignition and step out of the car.” 


“Hey, chief, a few over the limit and you’re gonna frisk me?  Shit, here’s my license, and maybe a little extra for your trouble.” Ben offered his open wallet through the window. 


The voice was firmer the second time, “Drop the wallet, sir, keep your left hand on the window and turn off the ignition. Then get out of the car”. Through the mirror Ben saw the officer's hand drop to his holster


Ben fought to keep his temper. Goddamn county full of these lazy bastards and we get bloody Tonto. Probably pissed ‘cause he’s got a bitch as useless as mine. Touch her up a bit and still a fucking deadhead in bed. And her bloody kid’s giving me more lip by the day.


Nice little ass though. “Okay, okay, chief, keep your feathers dry. There, I turned it off. Now lemme grab my coat.” 


“Ben!” Startled he turned to her, still huddled against the door.  “What the fu…”. 


Unlikely he heard the shot. Certainly not her sobs when the door was opened, “Oh my just went off when I tried to grab it from him. ...oh my God...what did I do...”   


* * *

"Momma, I'm in Charlie's cruiser. He's been really nice...said for me to call you...said some lady's coming to sit with me. Two men in green coveralls just got in our car..."

"But Ben...I don't know..."

* * *