Colby blinked at the speedometer on the car and continued to cruise along at five miles below the speed limit. It wasn’t as if there was anyone following him. Not at 3AM just blocks away from Charlie’s house. He looked both ways at an empty intersection and glided right through.
There was the sudden loud chirp of a police siren and a flash of blue and red. Colby saw a black and white in his rearview mirror. He looked around to see who the cop was pulling over and realized there was no other soul awake on the street. He pulled over and rolled down his window. He had no idea what he might have done.
A cop leaned into Colby’s view and flashed his flashlight into the car. The cop with thin and somewhere in his 40s.
“License, registration and insurance.”
Colby cringed at the cops voice. “Sure.” He fished out is ID. “Um… Could you whisper, please?”
“Excuse me?” The cop snapped at the same time his radio crackled.
From the back seat of Colby’s car there was a small cry. Colby pressed his forehead to the steering wheel and tried not to cry himself. The cop flashed his light into the back and the crying went up a notch.
The cop finally opened Colby’s ID. He looked at it then flashed his light back into Colby’s face. He knew he probably looked very little like his ID photo considering he felt three days dead.
“Do you know why I pulled you over Agent Granger?”
“You performed a rolling stop at that last intersection instead of a full one. You were also driving five miles below the speed limit.”
The cops radio crackled again and Esther went from crying to a full throated wail. The cop cringed and his look softened.
“Do you mind if I…” Colby gestured randomly towards the back seat.
Colby got out and fished Esther from the back. He did a quick dipper check then just put her against his shoulder and tried to rub her back.
“First?” the cop asked.
“Four months, three days.”
The cop nodded. “Yeah, by that point their past the post birth exhaustion and are on their own schedule.” Colby just looked at the cop too tired to even think clearly. “I’ve got four.”
“Four?” Colby came from a family of four but couldn’t imagine rising four. He had no idea how his mother managed. “Did any of them decided to not eat or sleep for two months?”
“Yeah, my oldest girl. Here,” the cop held out his hands. “I know a trick.”
Usually Colby would ask for a full background check before handing over Esther to some stranger but desperate times and all that.
The cop took her carefully and held her to his shoulder with one hand, then with the other he started rubbing at one of her little feet pressing his thumb right against the arch. Almost instantly the screams dropped down to just crying.
Colby’s jaw dropped open.
The cop whispered to her and engaged in the patented little parent bounce and keep rubbing at her foot. Within a minute she was asleep.
“Come home with me,” Colby blurted out.
The cop chuckled. “There isn’t a woman on Earth who doesn’t like a foot rub.”
Colby tried not to cry. The cop bounced her for another minute before handing her back.
“It’s 3AM. The bars are out but the drunks are just managing to drive themselves home.”
Colby nodded. “Thank you. So very much.”
“Drive carefully, Agent Granger.”
The cop strolled back to his car while Colby got Esther back into her car seat with a precision that could have gotten him a job on the bomb squad.
Esther was still asleep when he pulled into the driveway and performed the operation in reverse. He slid the key into the lock as quietly as possible. Slipped up stairs avoiding the one step that squeaked. Then lowered her into her cradle, giving her foot an extra rub as he did.
“Hey,” Charlie whispered from the dark.
“Hey.” Colby undressed as quickly and silently as possible.
“You got her to fall asleep.”
Colby crawled into bed and wrapped himself around Charlie. “I think I’ve got a new trick but tomorrow night is your turn.”
“Avoid rolling stops.”
“Nothing, I’ll tell you later.”
“Okay.” Charlie closed his eyes and drifted back into sleep.
Colby closed his eyes and followed.