Eden M. Kennedy

mission accomplished, pal

Eden M. Kennedy is the co-author (with Alice Bradley) of the book Let's Panic About Babies! (St. Martin's Press, 2011).

A former college-radio DJ, Mrs. Kennedy has driven cross-country six times in a 1973 Volkswagen Bug and enjoys standing on her head.

Currently she works a straight job and is just about finished writing her first novel.

I'm always ready for Jackson to go to sleep before he is, but if after we get through three or four books he still isn't down we'll snuggle up under his covers and he'll whisper, "Tell me a story about you."

Of course I have a million stories about being a kid, and the ones he likes best involve conflict with another kid and how we worked it out, or a time I was scared of something but got through it, or detailed stories about accidents where someone broke something. Consquently, one of his favorites is The Story About The Time Mommy Got Pulled Over By The Police At Gunpoint.

One afternoon the summer I was sixteen I was driving up Broadway with my friend Randy. We were driving in my mom's old convertible, and Randy, who was a year ahead of me and went to Heritage High School in Littleton, had a cap gun. It looked like a real revolver; it was heavy and it didn't have the orange plastic tip that cap guns have now to make it obvious they're toys. We were driving up Broadway because we were going to go shopping in Cherry Creek at some chic New Wave store run by a couple of gay men Randy knew. At some point that summer Randy and I had made out at a party.

"Made out" means kissing.

Yes, I have kissed other people besides your father!

But then a couple of years later I ran into Randy dancing at a club and he was all, "Hi! I want you to meet my lover, Ken!"

In this case, lover means boyfriend.

Okay, but at this point, in the story with the cap gun, Randy wasn't really copping to his sexualtiy and we weren't really boyfriend and girlfriend; we just went shopping a lot.

So, we were driving up Broadway and chatting and Randy was sort of idly aiming his cap gun at different targets and pretending to shoot: gas pumps, bus benches, trees, used car lots. If someone looked at him funny he'd just wave and smile and yell, "IT'S FAKE!" Somewhere just south of Littleton Boulevard, though, I noticed flashing lights in my rear view mirror and I was all, "Oh, no! Did I run a light? Was I speeding? Is one of my tail lights out?" The cop used his P.A. to tell us to pull over, so I turned off of Broadway and parked under some trees across from the Jack in the Box, in the gravel next to the old Assemblies of God campground.

Randy was this very funny and confident kid so he was getting all unbuckled and ready to get out of the car and explain everything very pleasantly to the police when the cop came on over the P.A. again and screamed, "STAY IN YOUR VEHICLE! THROW THE GUN OUT OF THE VEHICLE AND PUT YOUR HANDS UP WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!"

So, yeah, we were in trouble. We were afraid to talk to each other now, and the cop made us sit there for a long time and we didn't know why until we heard two more cop cars come screeching up behind us with their sirens blaring. He had called for backup.

"TAKE OUT YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE AND REGISTRATION AND THROW THEM OUT OF THE VEHICLE!"

I had an oxblood Etienne Aigner wallet. I leaned over to open the glove box in a really slow, deliberate way, which is what you tend to do when someone has a gun pointed at your head. I threw my bits of paper on the ground outside of my door. I didn't dare look, but I heard someone walk over and pick them up.

"OKAY, NOW GET OUT OF THE CAR! ONE AT A TIME! PASSENGER FIRST!"

Randy got out. They made him lie spread-eagle, face down on the ground. One of the cops took his wallet and ID. Then I had to do the same thing. When I got out of the car I saw six cops, two guarding Randy, four with guns pointed at me. I figured out that we'd been waiting for a woman cop to show up. I got down like Randy and she came and stood over me and cocked her gun.

My sunglasses were grinding into the gravel and I wanted to take them off but I figured it wasn't worth getting shot for. Without moving my head I glanced over and saw about two dozen faces pressed against the window at the Jack in the Box. I could smell those nasty french fries they made that always tasted like they shared the fish fat.

They made us lie there for awhile while cars passed and people stared and we got dents in our skin from lying on rocks. I heard one of them talking on the radio. I guess they were running my mom's plates to see if she had any outstanding warrants.

"Warrants" means if they had a list of things you'd done wrong. If you have a lot of warrants they'll arrest you. That would have been funny, if they wanted to arrest Grandma but they got me instead!

Anyway, after what seemed like years one of the cops finally walked over to the cap gun and gave it a little push with his toe. Then he picked it up.

"Fake," he said.

Duh, I thought.

The cop stood over Randy. "You think this is a joke? It's not funny. You think this is funny?"

"No, sir," said Randy.

"You bet it's not. You could have been killed, both of you."

"Yes, sir," said Randy.

After another ten minutes of dicking around in the dirt they finally let us get up and dust ourselves off. They decided not to take us in, they just spent another five minutes threatening to call our parents and agreeing with each other about how what we did wasn't funny. When they decided we were scared enough they let us get back into my mom's car and go. I carefully pulled a U and then came to a complete stop and then used my signal and turned right and got back on Broadway, heading north at the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. I think Randy lit a couple of cigarettes for us and I smoked mine down as if it contained 100 miligrams of valium. When we got to the New Wave shop Randy told our story to the chic men at the store and they gave us each a plastic glass of cheap white wine with ice cubes in it. I think that's when I finally started shaking.

I bought a black sleeveless Lycra shirt with yellow and white diagonal stripes across the chest. My boobs weren't very big at the time, and one of the men stretched the shirt flat across my chest and said, "It's a boy's shirt but it's cute on you. It makes you look butch."

"Butch" means tough.

Puts him to sleep every time.