Bad Lieutenant

The truck in front of me stopped as did I. He pulled out, I stopped again making sure we were on the right road and there were cows all over the road. I took a left, twenty yards later a police man signaled me to pull over. He asked for my license which I handed over. He than in an annoyed manner and in great detail how to stop for a stop  sign. “Your wheels must come to a full stop, can not roll at all….” on and on he went. He ended this with “Christopher what am I supposed to do about this.” This was odd and raised a red flag, I think I know where he is going with this. ” Are you sure? I thought I came to a stop.” Again the long explanation of how to stop at a stop sign. He than cranked up the intimidation and said angrily “why did you not stop you must have seen me, why did you not stop! what should I do about this Christopher.” He was sketchy eyes darting around the car, I was playing with fire.

I politely apologized and said “I did not see you and I thought I had come to a complete stop with all the cows in the road and the truck that stopped in front of me.” He curtly responded “you did not stop, what am to do.” I was getting increasingly annoyed, but realized this was  a battle I was not going to win. “Christopher what am I supposed to do about this.” I did not respond and looked away. I really did not want to give in to this douche bag. “You did not stop! What am I supposed to do about this Christopher” calling his bluff I looked him in the eye. “You gotta do what you gotta do…right?”

He cocked his head and walked back to his patrol car. He came back with a clipboard and begin filling it out with my info asked a few more questions about where we were going etc. I told him we were staying in Kruger National Park this evening. He finished filling out the information and flipped to the ticket book. Tapping his pen on the blank ticket. “This ticket is going to cost you a lot of money.” He paused waiting for a response, none came. “And you will have to go to the court in Hoedspruit to pay it.” Checkmate!

I don’t know if it was BS but if we had to go back to Hoedspruit (over 50 km away ) and pay the ticket at some backwoods court, we would never be back in time to get into Kruger Park which closes its gate at six and our accommodation within and he knew it. Helen responded “please don’t make us go back to Hoedspruit”. He responded ” Ok, well you can pay half of it now.” Bravo, well-played Bad Lieutenant. Helen asked how much? “400 rand.” 40 dollars. Helen reluctantly pulled out the money saying “if we pay you this that will be the end of it- Yes?.” He confirmed quickly, “yes.” She started to hand over the cash but stopped, “you give us back the license, then I’ll give you the money.” He gave me the license, Helen gave him the money. As we drove away, I stated the obvious, “we just paid a bribe.” Helen “yup.”

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Busted

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Categories: South Africa - October 2013 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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