My last encounter with the cops had been a bit like ‘nearly’ losing control of a car, or ‘nearly’ burning your own house down – and by that I mean that as much fun as it was, being stopped by the cops is still something that I feel should be avoided.
And that was the attitude I took the next time I crossed the bridge back over to Paraguay, This came to a head when just meters from being clear of the single file concrete enforced lanes of the Paraguayan customs side, I saw the brown uniform and the pointing and waving of a man dressed as my frustrated Police friend from a couple of days before. I started on the brakes, but then remembering my new resolution, devoutly twisted the throttle and hunkered down – hardly able to hear their shouting over my exhaust as I passed them, Man that was easy, why doesn’t everyone do this? ‘Sorry guys, love to chat but today I just don’t have time’.
I was on a mission, A guy named Pablo – who is a friend of Rodolfo, had offered to meet me in the municipality to help me get my licence and after how difficult I’d been finding it to get by myself there was no way I was going to be late, especially not for someone who was going to ask to see a licence.
With a couple of minutes to spare, I went to stop by the market place and pick up a cigarette lighter socket to USB adapter so I could make something up to charge the chargeable things using my bike’s 12V supply, but as I finished the end of one too many circles around the block looking for parking, who should come and stand in my way other than another one of what I have now termed ‘The brown army’.
“Documentos” He charged, not even looking at me yet and still completely unaware of the fact that he was unwittingly about to take on the current reigning champion of “me no speaky espanyoles” That won’t be necessary sir, I commentated to myself and began with the once winning combination of head tilting and “huh?”
I’m not sure if my frustrated Police friend’s defeat from a few days before had been so massive and humiliating that it’d been bought up in this morning’s staff meeting, or if this guy had just seen this act before, but what I was now sure about was that he wasn’t really interested in the fact that I didn’t seem to speak any language of use, he was only interested in seeing my documents – especially the ones I didn’t have yet.
On first being stopped I’d given him my international drivers’ licence, the one that’s only good for a car. The biggest problem with an international drivers licence is that it isn’t just in English, and one equally big problem with this policeman was that he could read.
“no es por moto” he declared, making it clear enough with his hands that I couldn’t continue pretending not to understand, but like a predator wears out it’s prey, I let us go around in circles of misunderstanding for as long as it seemed possible, then I produced my second card of the game so far – my Western Australian drivers’ licence, also only good for a car. I pointed at this marvelous blue and white card with all its shiny bits and pictures of flowers, then made motorbike noises and held my hands out on imaginary handlebars, while nodding and repeating “moto! moto!” he checked the paperwork again and shook his head while asserting “No es” This was going to be harder, and I had 20 minutes until I had to be somewhere.
Shortly after, I was given the ‘come away from the bike and wait up here’ and was then left alone for a moment while the officers conferred. It was now 15 minutes before I need to be at the Municipal and I began to play with the idea that I might actually have to concede defeat and bribe my way out of this one, either that or really turn on the retard factor. One last try, I had to think like a retard – what do they like? and if I was a better retard, what would I really want right now? The answer stood just across the street under some M shaped golden arches. I did what I thought all good mouth-breathers would have done in a situation like this, I went and got a soft serve.
It was a tasty ice cream, but it wasn’t a very functional one. I looked back and these younger, smarter police-people just waved me back on over, totally unfazed that I’d disappeared without a word for a minute or two to go and get my frozen diabetes inducing snack, they had what I was trying to use as licences and knew I wasn’t going anywhere. This time it was them who had time on their side and not me, and it was going to mean the so far undefeated winner of this game was in serious danger of losing the title.
The match ended with me making more motorbike sounds and the guy letting out a laugh but shaking his head, then with me back on my bike following another officer who had what precious little documents I did have apparently to go the the cop shop, but not before being lost in traffic from this new police officer, who when on his bike displayed no fear of death whatsoever – and in the 10 seconds we were out of contact, I was pulled over and had my documents demanded of me once more. Unfortunately for this would be punter I was a catch who was already caught, and this new no-fear-of-death police officer kindly let him know for me. We ended up in some shady back alley, and swearing black and blue it was all I had, backhanded him a grand total of about $14USD in exchange for my still incomplete paperwork and my freedom. I fled the scene while he took a victory piss in a nearby bush.
I made it to the Municipality with 5 minutes before the arranged time with Pablo, and then begun my nearly 1 and a half hour wait in the carpark before leaving as licenceless as I had come, only to ride around the block and down the street and find you guessed it, another brown uniform with stupid-ass little hat, goofy fluro crosses across his shirt standing in my way and directing me to the sidewalk, unbelievable.
The routine began as normal, “Documentos” again, and “Huh?” once more, just as rehearsed too many times over the last few rides. Then from out of the shadows appeared a terrifying thing – the smug face of a cop who knew for a fact that I may as well have no paperwork at all on me, it was the guy who had been the first one to successfully stop me this morning and he grinned from ear to ear like a someone who was about to get something. I had been sure this was going to end the bad way again until I had one of those almost annoying thoughts, the ones that are only annoying because you didn’t think of them before, and then not so annoying because it could be a last stab at a round two victory or a draw, depending on the rules that came in the box when you got it.
Below is the fruit of such a thought;
I pulled out my camera and started taking happy snaps of anything and everything, Hoping desperately that some guilty conscience might decide to play nice and forget such a thing as bribery for freedom, and soon it turned out that he’d only had his friend stop me because he wanted to play show and tell. ‘Hey, look what I got earlier this morning’ he probably said, and however cruel it was to be reminded of my loss so soon, or humiliating to be displayed as someone’s morning’s catch, I was relieved to be nothing more.
To my amusement I was even kindly given the constellation prize of morning cop telling stupid hat cop “he doesn’t understand a thing” as some kind of ‘hey, your acting skills weren’t bad’ notion. At least he still believed my guise, – not that my apparent language difficulty was that far from the truth, it’s much like receiving a telemarketing call and making the noise of a fake crackly line when you already have an almost unusable crackly line.
After a couple of minutes of chit-chat, and them ascertaining for themselves that I truly am a madman, they lost interest and I took off back to Paraguay and by some miracle avoided the police all the way home.
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