Trevor pulled over and thrust both hands out the window.
“What are you doing?”
“To show him I don’t have a gun.”
We were taking Donny to Shoot Club to play Forza when we got pulled over. Donny’s mom, Trevor’s older sister, thought it would be a good idea for him to try some non-violent games with us. She’s particularly concerned that he’ll be driving in a few years and she doesn’t want him to play games that encourage reckless driving habits or casual disregard for speed. Trevor convinced her that Forza Motorsports 2 would be a good game for Donny. Trevor told her it encouraged responsible driving, artistic expression, and financial management skills. He was kind of stretching it, but I have to give him points for creativity. It occurred to me as the cop carefully advanced on the driver’s side window that Trevor would to have a tough time explaining this to his sister.
“They’re going to cuff both of you and slam your heads down on the hood of the car,” Donny said. “That’s how they do it.”
“Shut up Donny.”
“They can’t touch me since I’m a minor.”
“Sir, do you know why I pulled you over,” the cop said. Surprisingly, he wasn’t wearing silvered sunglasses. I figured those were standard issue.
“Because of the Amber Alert? But he’s my nephew. Tell him Donny. Plus, I’m not Hispanic at all.”
“I’m his nephew. They’re taking me to play Forza 2.”
“May I see yours drivers license and registration?” The cop took them back to his car.
“Are we going to get arrested?” Donny asked, excited.
“Fucking Amber Alerts. I wonder who’s going to bail us out,” Trevor said. “I can’t call your mom.”
“I wonder who’s going to let everyone in at Shoot Club?” I said. “It starts in twenty minutes.”
“I wonder what kind of graphics card they have in those laptops?” Trevor said. We turned around and saw the cop doing something on the laptop mounted in his car.
When the cop came back, he explained that the car was a suspected gross polluter.
“Yeah, I need to get the, uh, I think the muffler intake needs to be, you know, upgraded,” Trevor said.
“This is your nephew?”
“Yes sir, officer, my nephew. I’m his uncle. His mom, that’s my sister. Step sister. But he’s still my nephew, technically speaking. His brother was wounded in Iraq. Isn’t that true, Donny? Tell the officer about your brother.”
“He was wounded. He got his fingers burned off and his arms messed up. They took patches of skin from his back to fix him.”
“That’s a goodamn shame. My oldest son is in Ramadi. I’m going to write you a warning this time. Get this car fixed. This thing would make Al Gore cry. You hear me?”
“That’s good. ‘Make Al Gore cry’. Very good. I like that one. Yeah, I’ve been meaning to get it fixed.”
“Here you go, son.” The cop reached in and handed Donny a little plastic police badge for kids. “Stay in school, you hear?”
“Okay,” Donny agreed.
For the rest of the drive, we were totally psyched. We had a Brush With The Law. We thought we were going to be arrested as suspected Amber Alert kidnappers. Instead, we got a warning and a toy badge to show for it.
“You know why we got pulled over?” Trevor asked everyone when we get to Shoot Club.
“You know why?”
“Because…wait, hold on…”
“We got pulled over because…”
I don’t really want to detail what Trevor did at this point, but you can use your imagination. Just imagine the sort of things that thirteen year old boys think are funny. Bodily function things. Things that sometimes involve doubling over and using a lighter. Trevor did one of those things, quite loudly and with obvious glee.
“…because I’m a gross polluter.”
“Oh, man. That’s uncool.”
“What?” asked the new guy. “Did he just fart?”
“I would make Al Gore cry,” Trevor cackled, booting up Forza 2.
To be continued…
Tom Chick has been writing about videogames for fifteen years. His work appears in Games for Windows Magazine, Yahoo, Gamespy, Sci-Fi, and Variety. He lives in Los Angeles. Shoot Club appears in this space every Thursday.