Sam looked steadily into Harvey's eyes and tried to gauge the sobriety of his response as Sam asked, "Is that all right with you, Harve? Or do you want me to take you home?"
"Honey, I just told you --"
"I'm asking him," Sam told Sindy, though his eyes never left Harvey's."
"Oh hell, Sam-O, when do I ever get to have any fun? Sindy here's been telling some of the best stories. Don't worry, I'm in good hands."
Sam wasn't sure he liked that choice, but he said nothing, and responded only with a nod, "All right. See you tomorrow?"
Sam turned to walk away, and kicked an old tomato from one of his shoes, "Okay. Be safe."
And to Harvey's new bestie, "Catch you later, Sindy. Nice meeting you."
"Same here, sugar."
So Sam walked down the alley, plucked some aging food substance from his arm, and deposited said substance into the dumpster before making it to the sidewalk, where he hooked a left and walked the half block to his car. Twenty strides from it he fished his keys from his front pocket and hit the UNLOCK button on the fob. The three year-old Tacoma rewarded him by flashing its lights briefly to let him know it was now unlocked. He clambered in and started it, but before he pulled out he removed his cell phone from his pocket and placed it on the passenger seat in case Andrea called or texted -- as she always did -- to remind him to pick up something from the store on his way home.
Just as he sat up and faced forward, and was about to put his hands on the wheel, there was a startling rap on the glass next to Sam's head, which made him jump and recoil as if he'd been slapped. Suddenly the interior of the truck was bathed in harsh LED lights which made Sam wince and turn his head, "What the hell?!"
The nondescript, yet chiseled features of a cop's face resided behind the blinding flash of a Maglite. He motioned for Sam to roll down the window.
Sam swore at the cop internally but complied wordlessly. When the glass dropped to the midway point, Sam asked, "Can I help you, officer?"
No, I'm driving to your mother's house was what Sam wanted to say, but instead he said simply, "Yup."
"Because I just saw you exit the rear of an establishment known for selling copious amounts of alcohol, and I'd really hate for you to lie to me about being drunk, and then wrap your .20 BAC around your neighbor's tree on your way home."
"I haven't had any alcohol this evening."
"Oh good! Then I guess you can be on your way, as long as you pinky swear."
Sam thought the cop sounded a little bit like a dink but he stayed amiable enough, "I swear I haven't had any alcohol tonight, officer."
The cop turned to look at the club, where the muffled THUMP-THUMP of the music still throbbed inside, "Forgive me if I don't believe you, sir. How long were you inside?"
"Uhh, about forty-five minutes."
The cop sized him up sternly. Finally he asked, "No booze?"
Sam smiled, "The only thing I've had to drink is a virgin bloody mary."
"What the hell is a virgin bloody mary?"
"It's a six dollar V-8."
The cop smiled, then asked, "You alone?"
"I came with a friend, but... he's apparently leaving with someone else."
The cop smirked, "So you're the wing man tonight?"
"I was," Sam grinned and checked his watch, "but it looks like my responsibilities ceased at a reasonable hour this time."
The cop actually laughed out loud, "My roommate in college was That Guy, the guy who never realized how uncool he was, and it made him try all the harder to be cool, which only made him kind of pathetic."
Sam smiled and said, "You just described my friend to a tee."
The cop laughed again and tapped the Tacoma's mirror, "All right, go home. Good luck to him."
"Thank you, officer. Have a good one."
"You too," the cop said to open air as the truck pulled away. Inside the Toyota, the passenger seat was aglow with with the notification from Sam's cell of an incoming call. He glanced at the number on the screen before answering.