The other day I drove into the next town to go to the print shop. As I left our little village, I noted a police cruiser driving in the other direction. Then, a mile or two down the road, I was startled to see the same cruiser in my rear view mirror.
I looked at my speedometer: Not bad. 57 in a 55 zone. Should be no problem. I slowed to 55 as a formality.
The cruiser followed me for another half mile, then turned on its lights and pulled me over.
A beefy, freckly young officer approached my window. I kept my hands on the steering wheel and tried to look harmless. (I watch a lot of crimefighting shows on TV.)
"Ma'am, do you have your driver's license on you?" he asked.
"Sure, just a second." I rummaged in my purse's credit card pocket until I found it, then handed it to him. He read it slowly, thoroughly.
Then he handed it back to me and assumed a cheerful demeanor.
"You're not in any trouble, Miz ______," he said. I experienced two emotions: First, relief; second, astonishment that he'd pronounced my last name correctly. It's not the sort of last name people have around here, and most locals mangle it or fade into embarrassed silence when they try to decipher it.
He continued: "The reason I turned around is that we have a warrant out on a woman who bears a striking resemblance to you. I just had to check to make sure you weren't her. Have a nice day." He waved and smiled, then returned to his car.
I edged my battered Camry back out onto the road and continued on my way. As I drove, my mind raced: a person who looks like me! And ooh, is she ever in trouble! I wonder what she did? (I told you, I watch a lot of crimefighting shows on TV.)
At the print shop, I told the story to the front desk lady and to the Better Hometown Manager, who happened to be waiting for a fax to go through. Neither of them knew anyone else in the county who looked like me. Very mysterious indeed.
Now I keep my eyes peeled for the Bad Jamie. Is she a Britney-style flouter of traffic laws? Does she deal meth? Did she hire someone to go after her ex-husband with an aluminum baseball bat? We may never know.