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A Tale Of A Tail

Unbeknownst to them, I’ve followed the men of the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force all over the place. After loads of trial and error, I’ve gotten rather good at tailing them. Together we’ve covered just about every inch of Charlottesville; we’ve traveled around Albemarle county; and we’ve crossed into numerous other counties. With rare exceptions, I’ve gone largely undetected. Until lately, that is.

I know these guys think they’re slick, and maybe they think I’m not, but my stealth mode is so, like, yesterday’s news. They’re seeing me because I’m not trying to hide. I’ve got ulterior motives for doing this but I see no point in going into them just yet. Instead I’m going to share one of a ton of adventures I’ve had with the JADE officers. Whereas events like this one plausibly encourage them to underestimate me, they also serve as a reminder that I shouldn’t overestimate me.

I’m on my way to get a cup of coffee. I recognize Rasmussen’s Impala as it passes by me going in the opposite direction I am. Aha! Change of plans. I decide to follow him. I slow down to barely moving and give him time to get to the end of the street before I swing a U-turn in the middle of the road.

An unusually high amount of cross traffic has held him, and a long line of other automobiles, up at the intersection. I join the crowd, stopping behind a newer model silver Monte Carlo, and wait to go left as Rasmussen did. I watch him turn right at the next junction and do the same. With minimal cars between us, we work our way out of the downtown region.

Approaching the 250 bypass we have two lanes to choose from. Rasmussen hugs the double yellow line in the center of the road, giving me the impression he intends to make a left. He pulls into the right lane. The way the road is designed, his occupation of that lane doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t go left from it. Ugh. This light is taking For-Ev-Er.

I continue to assess his placement: If he was going anywhere that would require him to make a right from our location, there are much better and faster ways he could have gone. If I, with my lousy sense of direction, know that, surely he, someone familiar with the area, does also. My feeling that he’s going the way I first thought doesn’t change. But, in case I’m mistaken, I come to rest in the same lane as him. The Chevrolet I noticed earlier is, as before, separating us. When the light goes green, we go left.

For a while we travel straight at a steady pace. On the one hand, I don’t especially care if Rasmussen spies me; on the other hand, I’m not inclined to tip him off prematurely. I figure as long as the Monte Carlo is handy I’ll put it to good use as a sort of barrier.

Now I have Monte Carlo on the brain. I like Monte Carlos. Dasani drives one of them. Like the one in front of me his is silver too but, unlike it, his has ultra-dark tinted windows. Right now his is parked down at the JADE building in his preferred spot for it.

Somehow or another we wind up on route 29 heading north. With a choice of several lanes to pick from I ease out of the one Rasmussen is in to an adjacent one.

Most of the day has been crummy-yucky-rainy. I’ve had to keep adjusting my lights in accordance with the weather. Presently it’s dry but overcast; I flip my lights to an appropriate setting. I can’t believe that Monte Carlo is still here. What’s the deal -- they're not, like, together are they?

In an uncommon stroke of luck, Rasmussen and I simultaneously get caught at or make it through several, seemingly evenly spaced, traffic signals. We’re leaving the built-up area and consequently the number of lanes drops. I squeeze my vehicle into a row approximately six cars back from Rasmussen’s. Okay, why is that Monte Carlo still here?

For a spell the traffic signals are at greater intervals. It doesn’t last long. We’re soon back to busier surroundings and the road widens again. As if connected by an invisible hitch Rasmussen and the Monte Carlo smoothly flow in unity from this lane to that one. The display clinches it for me. Oh. My. God. They are together! I burst out laughing.

It occurs to me that whoever’s in the Monte Carlo probably thinks it’s him I’ve been following. Yet more hilarious it undoubtedly has to appear that I’m operating well below the skill level of a retard.

I watch Rasmussen move to the farthest left lane. The Monte Carlo tries to do the same but traffic hinders him. The driver puts his turn signal on and tries again. He and a Toyota are almost side by side and the person evidently isn’t going to be getting out of the way any time soon. The light which Rasmussen has successfully made it through isn’t in our favor. The blinker on the Monte Carlo goes out, ostensibly in harmony with the driver’s realization he’s going to be forced to stop.

Up ahead I see Rasmussen’s car get caught in a turn lane at a red light of his own. All right, who the hell is that in the Monte Carlo? Idling behind it, I peer at the side mirror of the Chevrolet looking for a face. Nothing. I’m at the wrong angle to see his reflection in his rearview mirror. I push my feet to the floor to raise myself up. My butt is off the seat, the top of my head is smooshed up against the ceiling, and I’m shifting around hoping to catch sight of him. All that’s visible is the brim of a dark baseball cap. I sigh and drop my body back down into place.

The light changes and the Monte Carlo shoots off, obviously to get in front of the Toyota that wouldn’t let him in just a minute ago. This time he succeeds. Since I expect he’s going to be joining Rasmussen at the upcoming signal, I don’t put quite as much effort into switching over as he did.

There are two left turn lanes. Rasmussen and the Monte Carlo are in the right one. I get in the left one which already has two vehicles in it. At this instant all I want to do is find out who’s driving the Monte Carlo. I’m guessing it’s Dasani but I’d like to know for sure. From where I am I can’t see anything more than half of the back of the guy’s head and the edge of his jaw line. I wish he’d turn his face but I’m well aware he won’t do any such thing. I know he knows precisely where I am. I note a Bluetooth or something attached to his left ear. I can hear him talking and assume he’s communicating with Rasmussen.

I redirect my eyes to the leading car. Rasmussen has a passenger. I think it’s Herb. Yes, the same Herb who just the other day had my car pointed out to him. Lovely. This gets better and better. Not only do they know I'm following them, they know I am following them. Great. Great, great, great. I start laughing again; it’s so unbelievably ridiculous.

Ah, well, thanks to a previous situation with another set of JADE members, I not only know what their next trick will be, I predict it’ll be happening within thirty seconds of our turning. I’m committed to completing the turn but I have an idea for afterwards.

The light gives us a go and we all advance. In a beautiful display of near synchronicity, Rasmussen suddenly veers into a parking lot on the right via its first entrance, the Monte Carlo passes by him but swoops around into the same place using a second entrance, and I make a rapid U-turn to leave the whole array in the background. Hey I may be dumb, but I ain’t… as dumb as they are.

One final gaze over my shoulder reveals them situated driver’s-side to driver’s-side in the lot, presumably calculating how to proceed.

As for me, there’s a lot to be learned from a fourteen mile long egregious error. And while I’m not going to shut down the show, so to speak, I can pretty much guarantee I won’t be repeating this particular performance.