Highway Flasher

flasherIt was sometime early 1992, I was working in Little Rock, Arkansas near the river at a little electronic printing company, Electronic Imaging Services. I worked the late shift, by myself. I spent most of my time printing, laminating, and die cutting bar coded shelf tags for Walmart and Sara Lee Hosiery.

At the time, we only owned one car and live some miles away in the neighboring city of Bryant. It was about a 25 minute drive. In order to keep from stranding my wife at home by herself with our two children, she would often take me to work and pick me up sometime between midnight and 2 AM.

I had a particularly exhausting day so on the way home, as we hit the empty I-430 highway, I reclined the passenger seat all the way back and drifted off to sleep as my wife carted me home.

Sometime later I was awakened by my wife’s exclamations,”Justin! Justin! Wake up! Look at this asshole!”

I raised my car seat and looked at her with a puzzled expression. Her arm thrust out before me pointing out the passenger window.

I turned to look.

To my shock and amazement I saw a black sedan driving beside us with the interior light on. In the drivers seat was a middle aged man, in a black business suit, with his hips thrust in the air as he visibly stroked his large dick.

“What the fuck?” I exclaimed.

About that time, the man glanced over and saw me, a seemingly male passenger that had not been there before, staring at him with an angry look on my face. His as dropped into the seat and his car took off like a bat out of hell.

My wife, Toni, sped after in pursuit.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Your going to get his fucking license plate number!” Toni yelled.

It was tough. We were in a tiny Subaru DL that might make it to 90 MPH while driving down hill with the wind at our back, and he was in a big black American sedan. However, I was able to make out the plate and write it down before we lost sight of him.

In those days, there were no mobile phones. We had to exit the interstate and find a payphone.

As luck would have it, there was a Little Rock police car sitting at a 24 hour gas station. We pulled up alongside, got out of the car and explained what happened to the officer. My wife was so pissed, and she made this very, very clear to the officer.

He seemed understanding and a bit pissed himself, but calmly told us, “Look. Whomever this turns out to be, it’s really your word against his. It’s doubtful anything can be done. You may just have to let this go.”

As he spoke, his radio answered with the name and address that belonged to the license plate. The officer wrote down the information on his clipboard in VERY large letters. He turned the clipboard toward us and said, “I cannot tell you who this person is or where he lives.” He winked.

We offered our thanks and quickly went back to the car where we both wrote down the man’s name and address as we remembered it from the clipboard. We compared. They were both the same.

In those days, we didn’t have Google Maps or the Internet either. We needed a detailed map.

As my work had a delivery crew, I remembered that back at the office, one wall was plastered with a detailed delivery map. We went back to the office and pinpointed the guy’s home.

About 20 minutes later, we pulled into his neighborhood. It was about 3 AM at this point.

As we approached a four way stop in this neighborhood, another car pulled up to an adjacent stop sign. It was the flasher!

As quick as that, he sped away and took off out of his neighborhood.

“Shit!” I exclaimed. “He recognized us.”

We went on to his home. It was a massive, beautiful home in a fancy neighborhood in Sherwood, Arkansas. In the front yard was a boat, not just any boat, but a cabin cruiser. It was safe to say that this guy was loaded.

We decided to go home.

When we got home, the wife cracked open the phone book. She found his information and phone number in the residential listings. She took it one step further. She looked in the white pages, the business listings…and there was his name…and job title…and work number. You see, he needed his own business listing because he was a federal highway commissioner.

She called his home. After several rings, a woman answered, “Hello?”

Toni waited for a moment and asked, “Do you know where your husband is?”

“Who is this?” the woman asked.

Toni hung up.

The next day, she called him at work. “Did you have fun last night showing off your dick?”

“Who is this?” he demanded.

“You know who this is,” Toni answered. “I just wanted you to know that we filed a police report. You should be receiving a summons for indecent exposure in the next few days.”

She hung up.

She continued this for about a week.

During one late night call, after Toni asked the wife if she knew where her husband was the woman said, “Wait! Please, wait. I don’t know where he is. To be honest, we go to bed together and I often wake in the middle of the night and he’s not here. It scares me. We have two kids and a wonderful life and I’m afraid he may be cheating on me. Where is my husband, please tell me if you know.”

The woman was sobbing so loudly that I could hear her over the phone…and I wasn’t the one on the phone.

I could see a change in Toni’s face. She felt sorry for this woman. She told her everything.

The next morning, we received a call. It was the flasher.

“What can I give you to make this go away?” He asked as I sat next to Toni on the couch.

“Tell him that boat would be nice.” I whispered.

Instead, Toni launched into a lecture of familial responsibility. She reminded him that he had two young children and a wife that was scared and obviously loved him. She reminded him that he had a high paying cushy federal job that he could lose in a heartbeat if she only made one phone call to his supervisors. She told him he needed help.

The man wept.

It was hard not to feel pity for him and his family, but it was also an odd contrast, a weird transference of power. Here we were, a young couple with two small children living off six dollars per hour and we held power over a man of power and wealth…and didn’t take advantage of it.

Some months later, Toni received a phone call from the man’s wife. The man had been in ongoing therapy. Things were better at home. She thanked Toni for saving their marriage.