Henry walked to the window of the blue Toyota Yaris and moved for the driver to roll down the window. The driver sighed and began to turn the lever.
“You were speeding up pretty fast, mate. Do you have somewhere important to go?” Henry says.
“Ah, well, yes, I have a place to go. Actually, I’m on my way to meet a group that I travel with.” Porty responds, expecting the ticket to hit him in the face. There’s no way going 4 miles per hour can get me a big ticket, right?
“I timed you at 6 o’clock. This is not the place you want to speed up, kid. I’m going to have to give you a ticket.”
“Officer, if you look at my history, you’ll see that I rarely get tickets. I’m a safe driver! Can you give me a break this time?” Porty was pleading now.
“You know what guy? Follow me to that gas station up ahead and I’m sure we can work something out.” Henry returns to the police car and, with its lights on, follows Porty to the local gas station. Porty can’t help but think how similar this sounds to what happens in Mexico in a corrupt police force. Don’t they take leftovers to get out of fines or jail? “Well, if a bribe is cheaper than the actual ticket, I’ll gladly pay it!” Porty thinks.
Porty stops and follows Officer Henry into the store. Porty walks up to Henry, “I was thinking, officer, I don’t know how much this ticket would cost, but I’d be happy to give you some cash if he doesn’t give it to me.”
“You know boy, I had the same thought.” Henry backs off.
“How much were you thinking, officer?” Porty reaches into her wallet and starts pulling out two $20 bills.
“How about $120?” This was a statement, not a question.
“$120! Wow, I was thinking more like $40. How much would this ticket cost?”
“The ticket would cost you $140 and it would be on your record for 5 years. You don’t want that now, do you, Porty?” Henry asks with a grin.
Porty’s face turns bright red. The only thing that goes through her mind is the last time she got a ticket for running a stop sign. That ticket cost him $80 and she almost brought him to tears. One of the hardest things a man like Porty has to do is part with his hard-earned, well-budgeted money.
Porty looked darkly into Officer Henry’s eyes, “Are you sure you can’t lower the price a bit? I’d really appreciate it.” He says the last sentence mischievously, bordering on a threat.
“Pretty sure of myself, kid.” Henry doesn’t blink as he follows the furious Porty to the ATM. “And guess which travel group I joined today? You guessed it. We better go together. What do you say, friend? Hurry up with that money or we’ll be late.”
Porty turns around and shoves the cash into Henry’s hand. “I’ve heard of you, Henry! What the hell would you like to do with a tour group? We’re not going anywhere special. We just visit random people and document our experience!”
“I heard the group was going to Mickey Mantle’s old house. He was my favorite baseball player growing up and what better opportunity to get into the house than with a group of goofy travelers? What kind of group is this from?” Anyway? Your parents must I had known you would do something idiotic like this when they named you Porty!” Henry let out a laugh.
Without another word, Porty got into his car; he took everything he had to keep from stepping on the gas. Porty’s insides boiled with anger. All she wanted to do was rub her knuckles across Henry’s face, but if she couldn’t do it, she would find some way to get back at him.
“Alright everyone! Gather around.” the leader of the group called, “Due to the age of our next visitor, we can only have one person up to the door at a time. Officer Henry has informed me that he would like to go first. We will continue to send people until the Mantles settle.” You’ve already been extremely gracious in letting us get this close to your father’s first baseball home run.”
Straightening his jacket, Henry took a deep breath and walked up the steps to the Mantle’s front door. Hesitating only a moment before hitting the brass knocker, the door swung open and a gray head poked out. The old lady who was looking through the crack, smashed her face and said, “Who is she?”
Before Henry could wipe the boyish smile from his face long enough to speak, a gentleman appeared in the hallway dressed in a slim-collared shirt, a briefcase in his left hand.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Mantle. May I have a word?” The man looked oddly familiar to Henry, but he couldn’t place him.
“Of course young man. Is something wrong?” Lady. Mantle asked, concern outlining the lines on his face.
“Actually, yes ma’am. Do you know who this man is?” asks the strange man pointing to Henry. “He is a lawman. Officer Henry is on the police force here and I am here to inform you that he was recently caught dealing in illegal junk and is in possession of stolen property valuable to the families of famous athletes. So yes, It concerns you, Ms. Mantle. Directly. You must remove this man from your property this instant. I have spoken with the leader of this group and he is sending for someone more…reliable.”
The whimpering Henry looked stunned, “What, what, what are you talking about, man? I’ve never seen you in my life and you stand there accusing me of this? Wait… you’re the guy who paid me, so I Wouldn’t I give you a ticket?”
“Is that official?” Lady. Mantle nearly spat.
“I mean, it’s actually standard practice… I saved him money. I don’t do that with everyone! And what’s with stolen items? I never-“
“I’ve heard enough, Henry! Get off my porch!” Lady. Mantle opened the door and pushed Henry out. Now it was Henry’s turn to look puzzled.
“Thank you good sir for warning me. I get riffraff like him from time to time and I can’t stand them! He was better than most though, I must say. Would you like to come in?” Lady. Mantle stepped aside so Porty could enter.
“Mrs. Mantle, that’s very kind of you. I’m just doing what I hope my children will do for me someday when I’m older. I’ll just tease you for a moment. I’ve always wanted to see how the real Mickey Mantle lived. What an eternal hero. It really is a pleasure to meet you, ma’am.”
As Porty basked in Henry’s sleep at the Mantle house, Henry exchanged fierce words with the leader of the group until he finally sped away, lights flashing on top of his police car.
End of Part 1