Driving carefully through obstruction not clearly marked, with folks wandering over the roadway and gazing in different directions, as if there was an accident or construction at some undisclosed location.
An old brevet cop walks right into my path, and a soft contact is made with my left front fender. He continues on down the road, oblivious.
Here's a spot off the main traffic lane. I park, exit my vehicle, run after the rent-a-cop.
"Hey, excuse me, but - are you hurt?"
He stops, considers as if it hadn't occurred to him.
"Maybe a scratch ..." He pulls up a trouser to show an abrasion.
I look back up to my car to see - it's being towed! I rush back up there.
"Hey, you can't - I was talking to a cop!"
There is a slender raffish sort with a deprecating perpetual grin. He is apparently in charge. My vehicle is towed away.
I see well the gambit now. Extortion like in one of those failed states ... Nigeria, Mexico, the US.
I ride with the smirking cop to a large building, barren and unkempt inside, with lots of milling and no clear mission. I wait. The tow cop is quite content to do nothing. He sits and then ambles. Then he leans against a counter.
The kids are coming today. This no time to be arrested. (I understand there will be a ransom for my auto and a fine for illegal parking and I am under restraint until both are paid.) I'd better call home.
My iPhone is transforming as I hold it, marveling. It unfolds a keyboard, then continues into a classic SLR camera, then retracts these extensions and presents others. I cannot make a simple phone call.
I've had enough of this. I slip away from the shoddy cop and head down stairs. I am accosted by another agent. He is bland and young and telling me I must wait.
I push him into a closet. Close the door. He opens it, tells me I am not free to go. I slam the closet door and am gone by the time he opens it again.
Home now. Ah, my favorite cereal. It's home, but an inchoate setting, with plenty of dark space towards the corners and voices from other rooms. Someone comes in and goes out.
I recognize the one from the closet standing near the edge of my breakfast room. And then, stepping into the dim light from a little further off, the shoddy tow cop.
It looks like I won't finish my cereal.
Tim Bowden is twiddling his thumbs on his iPhone 4S!